Is 50 Procedures Enough Experience for a Doctor to Perform Lipo?

Doctor Answers 14

50 Lipos may be enough experience if done with the new techniques and good results.

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If the 50 procedures were done  for the most part under  local (NOT GENERAL Anesthesia) with good results and happy patients then that may be sufficient experience but there are so many other factors to consider such as board certification in Dermatology or one of the other specialties who dab in liposuction such as plastic surgery, general surgery, ob/gyn etc...  Also you need good repoire with your doc since he is the one who will help you through all your recovery and questions etc...Find a doc who mainly spends most of his/her time doing liposuctions and focuses on liposuctions.  Sincerely,

David Hansen,MD

Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

How many cases of liposuction make a good liposuction surgeon?

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Even with doing more than 50 cases, a doctor may not become a good liposuction surgeon if they haven't studied the procedure well enough and understand the risks and interactions of medicines that are being taken by the patient for other conditions. Some physicians have more training in the procedure than others. Some surgeons may be less conservative, and others may just have better dexterity and an artfistic sense.  The experience from a certain number of cases is just part of the equation that makes a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon good at liposuction.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Is 50 procedure enough experience?

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There is no absolute number of procedures after which one can be certain that their doctor is proficient with a procedure.  Look for board certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.  Do you know any family or friends that have had a good experience with a plastic surgeon? 

Liposuction, experience

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Absolute number of surgeries done is less important that the quality of the surgery. A vast experience with a surgery means little if all the experience is bad. Proper training in an accredited training program rather than a weekend course is helpful... Certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery at least indicates that the practitioner has completed Plastic Surgery training. Not all board certified Plastic Surgeons are good just like all non Plastic Surgeons who do cosmetic work are bad but it is one thing to take into consideration.

Carl Price, MD
Springfield Plastic Surgeon

Liposuction experience

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YES, 50 IS ENOUGH CASES, but more important, in my opinion, is certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, and be sure you like the results you see in the surgeons' "before and after" pictures, even if there are only five or ten.

Liposuction experience

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Good question.  Liposuction is surgery, regardless of how it is marketed by non-surgeons.  The incisions may be really small but the underlying wound can be very, very large.  There can be a lot of fluid shifts and sometimes significant blood loss.  Also, there are internal organs and other critical stuctures under that fat layer and the doctor holding the liposuction cannula (regardless of the various bells and whistles the cannula may have) needs to be familiar with and be able to visualize those structures.  In other words, liposuction surgery should be done by surgeons.  I would rather have a surgeon fresh out of an accredited plastic surgery residency do lipo on me than a dermatologist who has not done a single day of an accredited surgery residency who has taken a weekend course do lipo on me even if he/she had done a lot of cases.  Also, any doctor or clinic who beats the drum of doing lipo with local anesthesia only likely does not have hospital priviledges to do some lipo cases under a general anesthetic or does only local in their office O.R. to avoid state regulations that often apply only to office O.R.s that do general anesthetic cases. In otherwords, they fly under the radar.   Sono Bello comes to mind.  Also, remember that local anethesia is a drug and overdose of local anesthetics can occur and can be fatal. Sono Bello also comes to mind.   Be careful. 

Other points on picking a liposuction surgeon.

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Tips on picking a Plastic Surgeon for liposuction or other cosmetic procedure. With the right surgeon, 50 cases is enough.

1) Is the surgeon a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery? Members usually do a lot of cosmetic surgery.

2) Did you sense a commitment to excellence in the office. Did the surgeon spend a lot of time with you? Someone who rushes through the consultation may rush through the surgery.

3) Were you treated as an individual? Did the surgeon present you with a surgical plan tailor made for you?

4) Plastic surgeons have to have a good eye and meticulous technique. Did the surgeon show you A LOT of before and after pictures, and did you love the results?

5) Talk to other doctors you know. Established plastic surgeons have a reputation in the community, good or bad.

6) Ask to speak to a patient who has had the procedure you want. You are looking for a surgeon who does a lot of what you want. Many patients are eager to share their experience. Privacy is preserved by having the patient call you.

7) If you are having breast augmentation, ask if the surgeon has a large inventory of different size and shape breast implants available in the operating room. A surgeon who does a lot of breast surgery will have an inventory. This way, the final implant choice does not have to be made in advance.

8) With office surgery, make sure the surgical facility is ACCREDITED. Very important safety assurance.

9) Make sure the anesthesia is given by a BOARD CERTIFIED ANESTHESIOLOGIST. Another very important safety factor.

10) Make sure the office has trained nurses available for hands-on post operative care. This can really speed recovery.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Procedure number and quality

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Certainly expereicne helps, but the specific number does not determine that just because you have done thousands that you are better than someone who has done 100' or even 50.

50 procedures performed badly--is that enough?

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Of course you know that with proper training and surgical residency and fellowship experience comes a certain degree of expertise that a skilled surgeon applies to even his or her very first procedure.

Likewise, a doctor who has little or no surgical training beyond time with another non-surgeon or weekend courses can build a facility, perform surgery in an office (legally, but maybe not ethically), and do hundreds of cases without ever knowing what he or she doesn't really know about the whole specialty of plastic and reconstructive surgery.

Look for an American Board of Plastic Surgery-certified plastic surgeon with demonstrated experience in liposuction. Look for hospital credentials in liposuction; if the "cosmetic surgeon"does not have plastic surgical privileges at the hospital (even if they operate in their own office surgical facility, as I do), they are probably not a fully-trained plastic surgeon. There are doctors of other specialties with limited training in surgery who call themselves cosmetic surgeons and perform select procedures well, but there is no substitute for complete surgical training and ABPS certification, regardless of the number of cases performed!

And who says the doctor is telling the truth about the number of cases performed, especially if they're cagey about their training and certification?

50 Procedures

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For some Doctors 500 would not be enough. There is a lot that goes into becoming a good surgeon and your chances for having a good result go up when you have an experienced ,well trained Plastic Surgeon. There are many non Plastic Surgeons that are doing cosmetic procedures in the office , some may do I decent job but many do not. I have seen some of there afters that are more like my befores.

When you say 50 procedures are you meaning 50 per year or 50 since going into practice? Proficiency defined as 50 procedures per year is based on Cardiac Bypass surgery where the Doctors that did more than 50 per year had a higher survival rate than those with less than 50 per year. With all the different things that most Plastic Surgeons do it would be impossible to do more than 50 cases of all types of operations. Most will have several areas where they will have done more than 50 cases but that does not mean that they are not good at those cases that they do less frequently.  

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.