When Does the Doctor Give Me a Written Surgical Plan That Includes Each Incision Site He Will Make During Liposuction?

Will the doctor provide me with a written surgical plan that clearly includes each incision site he will make during liposuction BEFORE I sign the informed consent form (and pay for surgery) or AFTER? It seems like the exact surgical plan would need to be presented in writing to me BEFORE I commit to paying and moving forward, since that would imply informed consent and help make sure that the plan is carried out as I have agreed. Thanks.

Doctor Answers 8

Written Surgical Plan

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I  think you need to spend more time with your surgeon and ask him that question. I would think any surgeon would have a thorough discussion with the patient and have all plans made and authorized prior to any surgery.

Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Liposuction pre op plan

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Thank you for asking about liposuction planning.

  1. The surgeon can estimate the number and place of liposuction incisions,
  2. At surgery more or different incisions may be needed, 
  3. The informed consent is that you understand you will have one or more small incisions near each liposuction site, depending on how many are needed to get your best result. Best wishes. Hope this helps.

Liposuction Planning

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Typically, during  a plastic surgery liposuction consultation the physician will perform an examination and will discuss areas of concern that can be improved with liposuction.  At this time the patient can also discuss options for incisions.  If the patient proceeds with surgery, the patient is typically marked awake giving the patient another opportunity to discuss placement of incisions.

Craig Mezrow, MS, MD, FACS
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon

When Does the Doctor Give Me a Written Surgical Plan That Includes Each Incision Site He Will Make During Liposuction?

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     Although I make 3 incisions for liposuction of the abdomen, flanks, upper and lower back (for example), I am not sure that every plastic surgeon will place the incisions in the exact same place for every surgery.  That is not typically part of the surgical consent, and you are risking limiting your results by the doctor performing your surgery.  The skill involved in liposuction is hard to measure, but this is far more important than where a few 3 or 4 mm incisions are made.   Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Dictating your own surgery vs informed consent

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There is a fine line between dictating your own surgery and obtaining adequate informed consent.

What if your doctor is doing your procedure and sees he would have wanted to place an extra incision in order to access a pocket of fat but... Now he cannot since you have pinned him down to exactly where the incisions must go?

On the other hand, some patients wake up with unsightly scars everywhere because the doctor chose poor healing sites to make the incisions.

Most busy surgeons will decline patients who are overly restrictive preoperatively.  They know that patients who have an Internet based knowledge of surgery should not be dictating how the surgery should be done or restricting a doctor with thousands of cases of experience.

Patients who dictate how the surgery is done are often displeased at their results and don't understand how they did not achieve an optimal result.

Often they will receive a second tier procedure because, unknowingly, that is what they have restricted the doctor into doing.

Ultimately you will have to trust the surgeon who is operating on you.  If that level of trust is not reached, it is better not to do surgery.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

Don't back your surgeon into a corner

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Your surgeon will tell you the approximate number and location of incisions.  But once he/she gets started, they may need to move them a bit and even add more in order to get the best shape.  The last thing you would want would be to tie your surgeons hands and prevent them from doing what they need to do in surgery.  Most times I do exactly what I expect, but sometimes I move them over a bit or add another in order to sculpt the best contour.  A good plastic surgeon cares about the scars being inconspicuous and chooses each access site carefully and thoughtfully.

Steven Teitelbaum, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Liposuction of the calves and ankles can require different incisions.

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I use this as an example. The surgeon should never commit in advance to the exact number or location of the incisions.  That often changes during surgery.  The surgeon makes as many incisions (they are tiny and they fade) as is necessary to give you the best possible contour.  If you are not happy afterwards, it will be because you don't like the contour, not because of the scars.

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

When Does the Doctor Give Me a Written Surgical Plan That Includes Each Incision Site He Will Make During Liposuction?

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Normally everything regarding the surgery is reviewed at the pre-operative appointment. Including informed consents, pictures, and explanation of the specifics of your surgery. I know basically where the incision sites will be with each patient. But I do not think that any surgeon will have an exact incision site for every surgery. This is not part of a routine surgical consent.  

James E. Murphy, MD, FACS
Reno Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 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.