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Choosing a Good Surgeon and Surgery Facility

Once you are sure you want to have liposuction, the next necessary and most crucial step is to choose a good surgeon and surgery facility.

Because liposculpture is a plastic surgery, the surgeon’s skills – such as subjectivity, artistry, aesthetic sensibility, decision-making, and neatness of execution – are of primary importance. The success of a plastic surgery at minimum risk is greatly dependent on the surgeon’s skill sets, experience, and ethics. Apart from the finesse of the result, a veteran surgeon can handle even related emergencies with more proficiency. A facility fitted with the latest equipment and a competent support staff is another vital requirement. Make sure your decision is a well-researched, informed, logical, conscious, and uninfluenced one. Listed below are several guidelines to help you in surgeon and surgery facility selection for liposuction procedures.

Surgeon Selection for Liposuction

A qualified, board-certified, experienced, and reputed surgeon is highly likely to prioritize your health over anything else, even money and convenience. Therefore, surgeon selection should not be compromised for cheap liposuction. Here are the pointers for choosing a liposuction surgeon:

  • Board Certified Liposuction Surgeon: Selecting a doctor who is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS)[1], is the first step in ensuring quality care and outcomes. Each ASPS member surgeon[2]:
    • Is evaluated for safety and ethical standards prior to attaining functional membership
    • Is a reputable medical school graduate with six years of surgical training and experience supplemented with a minimum three years of residential plastic surgery practice
    • Has passed comprehensive oral and written exams
    • Is known for good medical ethics and integrity
    • Operates only in government or board-approved facilities
    • Pursues Continuing Medical Education (CME)[3] under which 2-3 day certification courses are offered. In each course, a group of experts gets hands on experience in the operating room.
    • Is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada[4]

     

    • Training in Liposuction Surgery: A well trained, best liposuction surgeon will most likely:
      • Prioritize your health and safety. Best possible results with minimal liposuction risks should be the focus of a professional.
      • Be well updated on liposuction complications and on unsatisfactory outcomes. Knows the latest liposuction techniques & equipment, liposuction drugs & interactions, and the pre, during, & post liposuction precautions.
      • Avoid exposing you to multiple body areas treatment in the same session.
      • Safely limit the amount of liposuction fat & fluid extraction on a day to less than 4 liters.
      • Schedule the subsequent surgeries (if needed) at least one month apart.
      • Advise against pursuing any unrelated surgeries, such as liposuction and facelift, the same day.
      • Try the best to prevent any liposuction related health complications.
      • Be able to handle any surgical emergencies, especially cardiac, the best way possible.
      • Have Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) Certificationr with the American Heart Association (AHA)[5], renewed every couple of years.
      • Specific Area Specialization: Most plastic surgeons, while being qualified to operate all the eligible body parts, are more adept at certain region(s). Try to find a doctor who specializes in the body area you wish to have reformed. Do confirm the surgeon’s experience and success rate in that specialty.
      • Track Record of Liposuction Results: Bruising and swelling are the inescapable side effects of this surgery. Request the before and after liposuction pictures of  your surgeon’s previous patients. An inexperienced and unskilled doctor may produce lumpy and uneven results. Therefore, the doctor’s and the surgical facility’s overall case handling in the past should be checked out. You can even ask for some referrals from the doctor’s clinic to get a first hand insight on their experience with the surgeon.

       

      • Reputation and History of the Surgeon: The doctor should have a high reputation in liposuction competence and complications handling. The surgeon should also be affiliated to an accredited hospital so that the emergency facilities are readily available, if needed. Try to figure out the history of the doctor vis-à-vis:
        • Years of experience in liposuction
        • Number of liposuction surgeries performed so far
        • Number of surgeries performed per week
        • Type of liposuction performed mostly and at what frequency
        • Which anesthesia is mostly employed – local or general? Number of cases in each category
        • How many cases needed IV sedation or narcotic analgesics?
        • What complications occurred during different surgeries and how did the surgeon handle them?
        • Has the surgeon lost surgical privileges at a hospital or surgery center? If yes, why?
        • Did the state medical board ever take any disciplinary action against the surgeon? If yes, why?
        • Any death or serious problem reported within a month of liposuction the doctor performed
        • Does the doctor have medical liability insurance for liposuction?
        • What percentage of the surgeon’s patients require surgical touch-up after a liposuction procedure?
        • Have there been unexpected hospitalization cases after the liposuction?
        • Anesthesia Management: A responsible and competent surgeon will prefer to have an expert anesthetist on board. In addition, the surgeon should ideally  have a certificate for training in local anesthesia administration.

         

        • Comfort Level: Your liposuction surgeon should willingly discuss the entire procedure with you. He or she should be committed to the patient’s health safety and the follow-up care. Your comfort level with the surgeon must be very high. This is vital for the effectiveness and safety of the entire process, including the pre and post-operative care. Your surgeon should ideally:
          • Be polite, warm, and comforting in attitude to help build up your confidence. An arrogant, rash, and overconfident doctor should not be considered.
          • Answer all of your questions thoroughly and clearly. Your queries could be about liposuction and the associated risks, his or her professional qualifications, experience, cost and payments, touch-up surgery policy, your anxiety regarding the process, results expectations, liposuction recovery period & precautions, etc.[6]
          • Carefully assess your eligibility for liposuction.
          • Clearly discuss the risks of liposuction and the possible results.
          • Not pressure you to have additional or unneeded procedures.
          • Willingly furnish all the professional certificates, before-after liposuction picstures, and referrals to boost your trust. Do discuss in detail what to expect from the surgery. The doctor will give you a ‘real picture’ of the result.
          • Provide the complete details of your customized surgical plan.
          • Leave the final decision to you.
          • Have you sign an Informed Consent Form, which informs you on liposuction and its risks (including large volume, excessive liposuction, anesthesia complications, performing unrelated surgeries on the same day).
          • Promise in writing that the treatment will strictly adhere to the agreed upon scope and that any other body part will not be touched until you have permitted so in writing.
          • Provide a written statement detailing the venue of your surgery and names and qualifications of the surgical team members. In addition, the doctor should promise that no one else will be present in the operating theatre apart from the names provided in writing.

 

Liposuction Surgical Facility Selection[7]

  • Accrediting Bodies for Liposuction Surgical Facility
    • The American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF)[8]
    • The Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC)[9]
    • The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (TJC)[10]
    • Certified to participate in the Medicare program under title XVIII
    • Local government License in the state of facility operation

    Facility Options:Liposuction can be performed at any certified center. The certification ensures that the facility has passed the medical board inspection and has strict policies and procedures for patient safety. The liposuction surgical facility options include:

      • An accredited hospital your liposuction surgeon has full privileges and approach to. The privileges and access to a reputed facility indicates that the hospital has reviewed the doctor’s performance and endorses it.
      •  The surgeon’s certified, in-office surgical suite

       

      • Parameters for Surgery Facility Selection for Liposuction:A safe and reliable liposuction facility:
        • Should be Surgicenter Accredited or be approved by the Department of Health, especially for the cases requiring general anesthesia, Intravenous (IV), or intramuscular (IM) administration
        • Should have well-organized written policies and procedures designed to minimize the risks of liposuction, known and implemented by all the staff
        • Must have a proper surgical sterilization process in force for the liposuction techniques and equipment
        • Must have a strong record of the minimal risks of surgical infections
        • Should maintain the highest standards for safety & cleanliness of the operating room
        • Should be well equipped and the staff should be well trained and certified to diagnose and handle surgical emergencies, especially those related to cardiac arrest

         

        • Benefits of Accredited Facilities:
          • Minimal surgical complications or deaths reported due to approved high safety standards being practiced
          • Cost-effective
          • Specialist in post-operative care with the latest equipment and trained staff, with at least one or two members carrying Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certification
          • Emergency handling process, techniques, equipment, and staff are available round the clock, including shifting the patient to a specialized hospital or trauma center

 

References:

1 Find a Plastic Surgeon, The American Society of Plastic Surgeons – www1.plasticsurgery.org/find_a_surgeon/

2 Patient Safety – Guide to Safe Plastic Surgery – Choose a Surgeon You Can Trust, The American Society of Plastic Surgeons – www.plasticsurgery.org/Articles-and-Galleries/Patient-and-Consumer-Information/Patient-Safety.html

3 The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME®) – www.accme.org/

4 Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada – rcpsc.medical.org/

5 American Health Association, Inc – www.heart.org/HEARTORG/

6 Patient Safety – Guide to Safe Plastic Surgery – Questions to Ask My Plastic Surgeon, The American Society of Plastic Surgeons – www.plasticsurgery.org/articles-and-galleries/patient-and-consumer-information/patient-safety.html?sub=Questions%20to%20ask%20my%20plastic%20surgeon#content

7 Patient Safety – Guide to Safe Plastic Surgery – Accredited Facilities, The American Society of Plastic Surgeons – www.plasticsurgery.org/articles-and-galleries/patient-and-consumer-information/patient-safety.html?sub=Accredited%20facilities#content

8 The American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities, Inc – www.aaaasf.org/

9 The Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care – www.aaahc.org/

10 Accreditation of Health Care Organizations –

The Joint Commission (TJC), formerly the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) www.jointcommision.org