Board Certified Dermatologist and Dermatologic Surgeon Vs. Surgeon?

I'm considering getting smart lipo and found a doctor who I felt comfortable with. His title is Board Certified dermatologist and dermatological surgeon. I did a search on the American Board of Surgeons and his name did not come up.. His medical license did come up. Should i be worried because he's a dermatologist and not a surgeon?

Doctor Answers 4

Who does liposuction?

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Dr. Shafer obviously does not know the history of liposuction. I am board certified in Plastic Surgery, Cosmetic Surgery and Otolaryngology. In 1982, I was the first surgeon to teach liposuction in the USA at an educational meeting.

Modern liposuction was developed by a French gynecologist and an Italian otolaryngologist, not by plastic surgeons! The most important advance for safe liposuction was the development of the Tumescent technique. The Tumescent technique was invented by a dermatologist.

Any doctor, no matter what his speciality, who does not use the tumescent infiltration is using a 25 year old outdated method. Neither laser nor ultrasonic lipo can be performed without using Tumescent infiltration.

Richard L. Dolsky MD


Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon

Either is fine, but it depends on what recovery time you want.

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If a plastic surgeon does your liposuction, you will likely have about a week or two of recovery time and significant bruising as they don't use the same technique as dermatologists use - they use traditional liposuction usually.  If a dermatologist performs your surgery you will likely have tumescent liposuction, which results in a much quicker recovery (a day or two for the most part) and generally much less bruising.

Much is made of who is best to do liposuction, but the truth is that it is a great procedure that can be done by either surgeons or dermatologists and the final result depends not on the certification, but the skill of the surgeon or dermatologist.  Check out the work (and credentials) of the person you are considering and make sure you see before and after pictures of their patients. 

Good luck!

Joel Schlessinger, MD
Omaha Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Board certified

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Check out the person's training in liposuction. Most surgeons never had formal residency training in laser lipo becsause it is a new technique. The first tumesent liposuction was done by a dermatologist. Recent training and patient pictures are what to look for

David A. Bray, Sr., MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon

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Board Certification

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You should only have liposuction from a board certified plastic surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.  Other specialities and doctors claim to perform liposuction but plastic surgery is not their core training.  Only plastic surgeons, who have been board certified, have gone through extensive training in this area.  Additionally, I would suggest one step further and go to a board certified plastic surgeon that has completed an aesthetic fellowship concentrating just in aesthetic surgery.  This type of surgeon has completed an extra year of training in just liposuction and there cosmetic procedures.  


Good Luck.

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.