Is there anything that I can do to prove that my smartlipo procedure was not done correctly?

I had smartlipo procedure done on 11-2009 for upper, lower abdominal and flanks by an Internal Medicine Physician that changed her profession to perform cosmetic procedures. Three months later I went for a follow up and explained to her that I could see more fat on my upper abdomen and a big lump around my navel. She said that it was gravity and I was still swelling. Two weeks ago my co-worker decided to have the same procedure done and asked me about my doctor. After looking at some pictures on her website and other websites I realized that something was not right. I looked at the pictures that I sent to her prior to the procedure (since she is out of town) and compared them to now. My abdomen looks worst since is uneven and disfigured around the belly bottom. My cousin had the same procedure done a couple of months prior to mine by a plastic surgeon in Tampa. My cousin is the same height has me 4'11 and weighted 135 lb at the time of the procedure, I was 127 lb. I noticed that she had holes from the laser on upper and lower abdomen. I questioned my doctor about this since I only had the holes on the lower part. The doctor replied that since I have a short torso it was not necessary to perform the holes on the upper part. My weight is now 121 which indicate that I haven't gained any weight since the procedure. I actually lost some. I can pinch the fat on my abdomen, just on the upper part. I contacted the doctor but she is charging me $2,100 to repeat the procedure on the upper and lower abdomen, even though I told her that I don't have any fat on the lower part. This week I found an article at from another patient complaining exactly about the same thing from the same doctor.

Doctor Answers 1

SmartLipo performed by non-plastic surgeon--this is not a good plan!

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Would you have your electrical wiring fixed by a plumber? While both individuals may be expert tradespeople in their respective areas of training and experience, they really know very little about areas outside their chosen profession. And if they claim they do, then you really should be concerned, for they dont' even understand what they don't know!

So, when a physician trained in Internal Medicine "decides" to switch to cosmetic surgery, what and where are the years of surgical training and plastic surgical specialty training that we "real" plastic surgeons undergo?

I spent 5 years AFTER medical school completing training in General Surgery (and was board-certified in this specialty, though I have not renewed this certification after specialty training in Plastic Surgery). I then spent 2 more years of specialty training in Plastic Surgery and became board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Your internist spent 3-4 years of internal medicine training after medical school (is she even  board-certified in Internal Medicine? If not this is another red flag); what training does she claim in any sort of surgical area, much less the detail and precision needed for cosmetic surgery expertise?

This is much the same as ENT-trained facial plastic surgeons straying below the neck and performing liposuction, breast implants, tummy tucks, or other cosmetic procedures for which their training is minimal or nonexistant, but in all cases significantly LESS than a fully-trained ABPS-certified plastic surgeon.

Or a Dermatologist claiming expertise in cosmetic surgery just because they have learned mole removal or skin cancer excision. Sure, there may be some weekend courses, or even time spent with other Dermatologic "cosmetic surgeons," but this is not the same as the years of complete training in plastic surgery and the rigorous oral and written board certification tests. (Dermatologists don't even qualify to TAKE these tests, and ENT surgeons must complete a full plastic surgical fellowship (not just a facial plastic surgical fellowship) in order to be eligible to take the American Board of Plastic Surgery board-certification tests).

You obviously know this doctor is not an appropriate provider of cosmetic surgical procedures; why would you consider re-operation by someone who has clearly fallen short of an appropriate result, and is demonstrably inadequately trained to safely and effectively perform this operation.

Cut your losses, and see an American Board of Plastic Surgery-certified plastic surgeon with expertise in liposuction, not someone who simply advertises technology availability and lists board-certification in areas inapplicable to your abdomen, or even non-ABMS boards such as the "American Board of Cosmetic Surgery." You should be able to achieve reasonable results if you were an appropriate candidate for liposuction (any type) in the first place. Perhaps you really need a tummy tuck, but got what you asked for rather than what is best? Good luck and best wishes!

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