Medically reviewed by Dr. John Rosdeutscher – Written by Sine Thieme
If you’ve been unhappy with pesky pockets of fat resistant to diet and exercise, have settled on liposuction as the ideal procedure to contour your body and slim down those unsightly bulges, and are ready to take the first step on your cosmetic surgery journey, this is the first question you’re faced with.
Are You Comfortable With the Liposuction Center?
Any reputable plastic surgery center should offer you a personal consultation before you commit to a service there. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to appear in person. In this pandemic year, you should have the option for a virtual consultation. This actually opens up more options for you to choose from, as you may be less constrained geographically.
If you do have your consultation in person, you should be assessing the center and everyone working there to get a feel for how comfortable you’d be as a patient. While liposuction is only minimally-invasive, it does take place in a clinical environment that might make you nervous. The more comforting the nurses and staff are, the more relaxed you’ll feel.
If you do not visit in person, see if you can do a virtual tour of the clinic.
Some of the questions to ask yourself during the consultation process include:
- Do you feel comfortable and at ease when you’re speaking on the phone with their staff?
- How are you greeted when walking up to the front desk?
- Is your appointment on time and does everything seem well organized?
- Is the doctor/nurse/medical consultant friendly?
- Are they willing to answer all of your questions and address your concerns?
If anything about the center makes you uneasy, such as unfriendly staff members or an inability to answer your questions adequately, it’s probably not going to be the best fit for you. When you’re going in for a procedure of any kind, you should be optimistic and excited about the results, rather than uncomfortable with the process from the get-go.
Is the Doctor an Experienced Liposuction Surgeon?
Each plastic surgery procedure requires a different set of skills, and most plastic surgeons will have one or several specialties rather than performing anything and everything. They may be the number one breast implant surgeon in the area and come highly recommended, but if they have only had a few liposuction patients, they won’t have seen the variety of body types it takes to be an expert liposuction surgeon.
Getting great liposuction results requires a keen eye for aesthetics as much as it requires a lot of practice. When choosing a plastic surgeon for your liposuction procedure, make sure that he or she has many years of experience performing them.
Also make sure your surgeon is familiar with a variety of different liposuction types and not a one-trick pony. Liposuction has vastly improved in the last decade with the emergence of new technologies. Surgeons who don’t adapt to the latest technology will be behind the curve. Some are less comfortable with constant change and may cling to older technologies that no longer achieve the best outcomes. Today, it is an absolute must for a plastic surgeon who performs liposuction to be familiar with – and have practiced – the latest radio frequency assisted lipolysis technologies.
Does a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Perform the Liposuction?
Board-certification is not a prerequisite to performing liposuction procedures, or most cosmetic surgery for that matter. Any general surgeon, or even a doctor without surgical training, can execute liposuctions.
However, board certification by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) is a rigorous process. To be certified, a doctor must complete at least six years of surgical training after medical school, three of which must be residency training in the field of plastic surgery. They must pass comprehensive oral and written exams, have graduated from an accredited medical school, and complete continuing medical education each year – including in the field of patient safety.
While all this does not guarantee that your doctor is also a gifted liposuction surgeon, it does give you a level of comfort that you are being treated by a professional who takes his or her work seriously and is up to speed with the most recent medical developments.
Can They Show You Examples of Their Work?
You wouldn’t ask a contractor to remodel your bathroom without seeing examples of their past projects. Likewise, your plastic surgeon should be able to provide you with before and after pictures of their own work and/or references and testimonials before you hire them for a service.
If the surgeon is good at what they do, they should be happy to show you liposuction before-and-after photos of their own patients. Make sure you pay attention and request to see work on actual patients. Equipment manufacturers have their own before and after collections, and while there is nothing wrong with a surgeon using such photos, it might give you pause if they can’t produce any of their own. They might be newer to the procedure and it does take time to see results and receive good pictures from willing patients, so not having many pictures shouldn’t disqualify a surgeon right out of hand – it’s simply another factor among many to help you choose.
Before and after pictures also help you discuss with your plastic surgeon how you envision your results, and what is and isn’t possible given your body type. Ask to see their in-office “brag book” versus only going by the pictures posted on the website – many patients do not consent to online posting, but do allow for in-house photos to be shown during consultations.
The same goes for testimonials and other references. While having many good Google reviews is a good sign, you want to dig a little deeper to make sure these are genuine reviews. It requires a bit of patience to develop a skill to read between the lines. If the reviews are actually not all glowing endorsements but include some criticism, this is typically better than a barrage of 5-star reviews. You can also tell from how they’re written if these sound like real experiences by real people, or if they sound like someone might have been paid to write them.
Does Your Liposuction Surgeon Prioritize Safety at the Facility?
With any type of procedure—invasive or otherwise—your safety should be the number one priority at any plastic surgery center. Ask your doctor what they do to minimize risks and ensure that your safety is put first.
If they are actively putting patient safety and comfort first, they should be able to give specific examples. Examples may have to do with the type of technology used, the methods of anesthesia, and their attention to cleanliness in the facility. Make sure you also ask for their COVID-19 safety measures.
We hope that we’ve given you a better understanding about choosing a plastic surgeon for liposuction. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any other questions.
American Society of Plastic Surgeons: ASPS Member Qualifications