Comestic Surgeon Vs Plastic Surgeons for Lipo on Stomach Area?

There is an ER doctor who also is a comestic surgeon that does liposuction awake. I am considering letting him do Liposuction on my stomach, flanks, and love handles. I was wondering, should I trust a comestic surgeon who invented the technique of the percedure that I want? Are comestic surgeons and plastic surgeons now in competion with one another? I am also concerned with how the doctor would know if he removed all of the lidocaine out of the patient. 

Doctor Answers 16

ER doctor vs. plastic surgeon to do liposuction

I think this would be an interesting experiment...go to an ER doctor to have your liposuction, go to an eye doctor to set your broken bone, go to a dermatologist to operate on your kidney, and go to a psychiatrist to remove your gallbladder.  Why not? If everything goes well and you survive, you may have demonstrated that the entire system of medical specialty training, the accreditation of specialty residency programs, the setting of stringent standards for board certification by REAL medical boards accredited by the American Board of Medical Specialties, the whole system has just been a complete waste of time.  Then I can try my hand at some brain surgery...always been curious about that. 

I would also be curious about what special liposuction procedure an ER doctor invented. There is so much false advertising in the liposuction field today, so many untrained doctors trying to perfom liposuction after taking a weekend course, so may unproven "technologies" and "franchise" techniques that do not deliver what they promise, that the prospective patient must be VERY cautious.

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 87 reviews

Surgeon for Liposuction on stomach area

Dear Mocha

Yes, plastic surgeons are in competition with every other speciality that provides cosmetic surgery. Ultimately competition is a good thing because comparison makes doctors work harder to provide better, safer, and occasionally cheaper services. In the state of California (and pretty much ever other state in the Union) a physician simply needs to complete an additional year of training after medical school and they can hang out a shingle proclaiming that they practice anything. However, a very smart doctor in discussing this situation once said only a fool would attempt to practice neurosurgery or ophthalmology without doing a residency training in the specialty.

Board Certified General Plastic Surgeons do complete a residency training program in general plastic surgery. These programs often contain remarkably little cosmetic surgery particularly for certain procedures. Certainly if you are considering breast surgery or body wall reconstruction, then a properly trained general plastic surgeon focused in these areas is the way to go. However, the case is much less clear for liposuction. Part of the reason for this is it appears that virtually any other type of doctor practicing liposuction is overall safer than having liposuction with a general plastic surgeon. The increased mortality rate appears primary related to the general anesthesia used by general plastic surgeons. Dermatologic liposuction surgeons for example prefer to do liposuction under dilute local anesthesia. Surgery takes a little longer but recover is much faster with far few complications and deaths.

The category of cosmetic surgery can be a grab bag. I am a cosmetic surgeon but I am also a board certified ophthalmologist and fellowship trained in eyelid plastic surgery at UCLA and also fellowship trained in a separate two year fellowship in cosmetic surgery. I have hospital privileges for all the procedures I offer at the UCLA Medical Center and malpractice insurance for everything I do. One might call themself a cosmetic surgeon with far different credentials such as board certification in emergency medicine, anesthesia, or no board certification. Caveat emptor.

You might have found a great cosmetic surgeon or not. Generally, I would be skeptical of claims that the doctor invented the particular method of liposuction you are seeking. Doctors often claim minor wrinkles on performing a procedure as a new method. This often has more to due with public relations than actuality. One way to examine this issue is to google the claimed procedure and see if others use the method and credit your doctor or if all the sources of information about the procedure come from your doctors own website.

Beyond this, apply good judgement to choosing a doctor. If you have a relationship with a surgeon and they perform the procedure you are considering this is often a good place to start because the care they bring to the service you have already had with them is probably a good indicator of the care they will bring to the liposuction. Check with the website for the California Medical Board and determine if there have been an adverse investigation regarding your doctor. Assertain if your doctor has hospital privileges for the procedure you are considering and the hospital is local. Does your doctor maintain malpractice insurance for your procedue? Does your potential doctor live in your area?

Ultimately it comes down to your personal chemistry with your surgeon, just keep your eyes open.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Cosmetic or Plastic Surgeon?

Thank you for the question.

There is no doubt in my mind that you will have a better chance of successful outcome with a well-trained experienced  plastic surgeon than  someone who has tried to “shortcut” the necessary training//experience.



Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 reviews

Cosmetic surgeon for Liposuction

Unfortunately, governing authorities have chosen to look the other way when it comes to the outpatient arena, so anything goes when it comes to elective Plastic Surgery.

As I would hope you would think it ridiculous for me to manage your heart condition or your gynecologic needs, it is equally ridiculous for you to expect a liposuction procedure from an ER doctor. I cannot state it any more simplistic than that.

Go to someone who is properly trained and maximize your chances of achieving an optimal outcome.

Sam M. Sukkar, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

See the doctor with the most experience

I am always amused to hear plastic surgeons, just out of training state that they are better trained to perform liposuction. Many dermatologists, like me, have individually performed thousands of liposuctions over the last two decades or more, as well as publishing countless research papers. Experience with liposuction, like any endeavor, is paramount. It is best to see the most experienced liposuction expert in town.

William P. Coleman III, MD
Metairie Dermatologic Surgeon
3.5 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Safety with Liposuction

No one ever removes all of the anesthetic when doing the liposuction. Dr. Jeffrey Klein, who invented tumescent liposuction has a great background in pharmacology and has studied the metabolism and distribution of residual serum levels of the lidocaine anesthetic over the first day post operatively.

Board certified dermatologists and plastic surgeons can do an excellent job if they have had excellent training. OTher specialties may not have had experience or training in this procedure during their residency but they may have learned it when in practice. Speak to other physicians in the local community to learn of the reputation of your surgeon.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Safer to go with more training and experience

A plastic surgeon can do your liposuction awake using tumescent anesthesia. This may be the best for you. It may be safer if doing multiple areas to do it asleep in order to minimize the amount of lidocaine.

Your plastic surgeon has many more alternatives and much more training and experience than an ER doctor.

For your body, go for the best!

Keith Denkler, MD
Marin Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Finding the right Liposuction doctor

It goes without saying that from your surgeon you want brilliance, understanding, resourcefulness, great training, the best hands and eyes in the business, and a calming manner. But you also need him or her to have professional qualifications. No matter whom you pick, your doctor should have the proper certification and experience necessary to perform liposuction. You should expect your doctor to be more than just aware of, but positively fluent in, such recent and dramatic advances. Above all, your doctor should be board-certified. Will your doctor be able to handle complications during surgery or the healing process, should any arise? A board-certified plastic surgeon has had years of training in the handling and sculpting of skin tissue and its healing, and may be the doctor best equipped to handle the unexpected.

Michelle Copeland, MD, DMD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Choice of Liposuction surgeon up to the patient

As a board certified Plastic Surgeon, I find that it is up to the patient to determine which specialist they care to use. I would try to not discourage the use of cosmetic surgeons to anyone. But in my mind the first prerequisite would be training, second experience, third hospital privileges to preform a like operation, fourth other patients, fifth your personal feeling about each surgeon you see.

I am 99% cosmetic surgery now but it took 20 years of doing both reconstructive and cosmetic operations to hone my skills to provide great cosmetic surgery. Experience is the sine qua non.

Best of Luck in your search.

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Cosmetic Surgeon vs. Plastic Surgeon for Liposuction

What surgical training has this ER doctor had? Why would you choose to have elective surgery with someone other than the best trained surgeon possible? Would you have your eye doctor deliver your baby?

I think it makes sense to visit more than one surgeon to get a sense of who you are comfortable with, just make sure that both are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Visit this website to learn more about why this is important.

You are talking about your body and health, go to a properly trained and certified surgeon.

Elizabeth Slass Lee, MD
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

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.