Who is Qualified to Do Liposuction?

Can any doctor do liposuction, or would I need to see a specialist of some kind? Thank you.

Doctor Answers 40

Who can do liposuction?

Body liposuction should be done by a plastic surgeon.  There is so much more to liposuction than meets the public eye.  The incisions are teeny, tiny but the wound is very, very large.  Nice results require a high degree of three dimensional thinking and a safe procedure requires a surgeon with good, prudent judgement.   Also, if a given doctor is not familiar with other body contouring procedures, that doctor may recommend liposuction for all contour issues even if a different procedure may better serve the patient.    Remember, if your only tool is a hammer, all the world is a nail. 

The real surgical nature of liposuction has been minimalized and I think that is a mistake.  It's real surgery with real risks and needs to be done by a real plastic surgeon.  In the U.S., real plastic surgeons are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.  Non-plastic surgeons who dabble in liposuction don't know what they don't know.  If they did know and had good, prudent judgment, they wouldn't do it.  

Lisa Lynn Sowder, M.D.

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Who can perform Liposuction?

Liposuction be performed by any licensed physician. However, not all licensed physicians are qualified to perform liposuction. Just being "board certified" does not grant one qualified to perform liposuction. Recently, a patient ask me if her Gynecologist can perform liposuction? In answering the question, I asked her if she would let a plastic surgeon deliver her baby?

Liposuction is a surgical procedure that requires training and techinical expetise. It should be performed by a surgeon with surgical residency training in liposuction. Plastic Surgeons are especially trained in the art and scinece of liposuction. A weekend course cannot replace years of formal surgical training. The best way to choose a Liposuction surgeon, is to choose a Plastic Surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Remember, board certified cosmetic surgeon is not the same as board certifed plastic surgeon.

Stanley Okoro, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

Go to a plastic surgeon

While many people do liposuction, many of those people should not be doing liposuction. Plastic surgeons are specifically trained to do liposuction as part of their surgical education. Many other specialities (just look through the ads in a newspaper on any given day) advertise that they do liposuction as well. However, it is unclear to me where they get their training. My best advice would be to go to a few consultations to plastic surgeons who have performed liposuction on people you know that have had nice results. If you do not know anyone who has had liposuction, ask the surgeon if any of their patients would be wiling to talk to you about their procedure. Questions to ask the doctor include: What type of liposuction they do? What type of anesthesia is used? How many liposuction procedures they perform in a given month? How often do they have to make revisions? How much do they plan to aspirate? If they are doing the liposuction in their office or a surgicenter, ask them at which hospital do they have admitting privileges?

You should find a surgeon who you feel comfortable with and who takes the time to answer all of your questions and addresses your concerns.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Liposuction is surgery so see a specialist

Bear in mind that liposuction is surgery: Incisions are made (even if tiny), instruments are inserted into the body, and tissue is removed, some times in large amounts. There is a lot of marketing hype these days minimizing the surgical aspect of the procedure, but it should be done in a surgical facility. A board certified plastic surgeon (American Board of Plastic Surgery) will only work in properly licensed facilities so choosing an ABPS surgeon is a good place to start..

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Board Certified + Experience + Before After Photos = Qualified Plastic Surgeon

Generally the most qualified people are Board Certified Plastic surgeons who actually learned
how to do this technique in residency and do a large amount of this in practice.

In the state of CA where I practiced, any surgeon can do any surgery, so you can have a gynecologist do a Liposuction as long as they are a MD in that state, but really you want to go to someone who has more experience with this procedure. Plastic Surgeon not only has more experience doing this procedure, they will also have more experience if any complications where to occur.

I've included a link to a case where an eye doctor performed a breast augmentation (with some negative results)

Usha Rajagopal, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

"Qualified " to preform Liposuction.

I would recommend that a patient go to only a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon or one who is in the certifying process. Any MD or DO can do liposuction based on there state Medical Practice Act. Generally the non-Plastic Surgeon cannot perform the liposuction in a Surgery center or hospital but only in there office. 

Walter D. Gracia, MD
Fort Worth Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Who does liposuction?

Liposuction should be performed by a Board certified plastic Surgeon.  In our practice we have designated doctor's that handle just body plastics. I would recommend having liposuction by a qualified body plastic surgeon in a safe setting such as a surgical center.

Liposuction-A Dermatologist invented the safe modification

An experienced Dermasurgeon is a good choice for liposuction. Liposuction was not really a safe procedure, before dermatologist J. Klein invented tumescent liposuction. Go to the doctor you feel comfortable with.


Robert Kasten, MD
Mainz Dermatologic Surgeon

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Unfortunately, many doctors call themselves liposuction specialist when they are not even a plastic surgeon. A doctor might be able to learn how to do simple liposuciton with short training, outside a qualified residency program, but they would not certianly have the debth of training and knowledge to handle problems and questions adequately.

You would'nt take your car to any mechanic! you might want to also be deligent about how is going to perform surgery on you. Liposuction is a real surgery with real potential risks and complictions. Therefore, I recommend a board certified plastic surgeon, at a minimum.

S. Sean Younai, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Liposuction Specialists

I would recommend getting a Liposuction procedure only by a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Check the American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS) or American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) for board certified plastic surgeons in your area. This ensures your physician has proper training, experience, and technical skills required for a safe and effective outcome. Unfortunately, there are many practitioners performing liposuction without proper credentials. Do your homework and research before agreeing to have surgery. Going to a weekend course for liposuction is not sufficient, and it gets very confusing when a "doctor" claims to be something he or she isn't.

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.