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 41

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.


New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 72 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 44 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
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 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 should only be performed by specially trained, Board Certified Plastic Surgeons!

Unfortunately, in this day and age, almost anyone can call them self a "cosmetic surgeon" or "cosmetic doctor", without any real training in surgery.  This is terrifying!

Plastic Surgeons perform all types of Plastic Surgery, including reconstructive and cosmetic surgery.  In actuality, there is no discipline of "Cosmetic Surgery".  Cosmetic procedures refer to operations that are not covered by insurance, and that are designed to improve the appearance of the body but are completely elective. 

Plastic Surgeons are specially trained Doctors with at least 5 years of postgraduate Residency training in Plastic Surgery.  Some Physicians also undertake an additional year(s) of Fellowship training to subspecialize in a particular area of Plastic Surgery.

Liposuction is a real surgical procedure, with real risks and the potential for life-threatening complications.  Like any surgical procedure, it should ONLY be performed by Board Certified Plastic Surgeons! 

These practitioners know the important underlying anatomy, have years of experience and training in this operation, and are truly the only Surgeons qualified to do this procedure!

As a potential patient, do your homework and don't simply seek the cheapest, closest or easiest option.  SAFETY should be first and foremost in your mind, as it is in your Plastic Surgeon's.

Karen M. Horton, M.D., M.Sc., F.R.C.S.C.

Karen M. Horton, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Who is qualified to do a liposuction

Any licensed doctor is legally able t o perform a liposuction. That does not mean that they are skilled or experienced. Doctors from many specialties will take a weekend course and claim they are qualified to do the procedure. Find a board certified plastic surgeon. Buyer beware.

Howard T. Bellin, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
2.5 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

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.

Lisa Lynn Sowder, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Liposuction qualifications

Any doctor can legally do liposuction, but you should seek an experienced board certified plastic surgeon for safety and the best result.  Although liposuction appears "simple", there are serious potential risks and a bit of artistry required. 

Randy J. Buckspan, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Who can perform Liposuction?

Without any doubt the best doctor to perform liposuction is a plastic surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.  Plastic surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery had had a minimum of five years, but usually six to eight years, of training after medical school during which they learn liposuction techniques on all areas of the body.  To find a surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, visit the ABPS website and locate a surgeon.   

Jaime Perez, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 66 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.