Question Checklist for Your Liposuction Consultation
Liposuction is an effective procedure for removing stubborn pockets of fat, but only when performed by a skilled and experienced surgeon on an appropriate candidate. If you are considering liposuction, you should take care in choosing your doctor and be sure to ask questions. A good plastic surgeon will schedule a consultation with you to help you decide if liposuction is the right choice and to help you understand what to expect from the procedure.
Here is a checklist of questions to ask in your liposuction consultation. They are adapted from a set of questions suggested for prospective liposuction patients by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the leading professional organization in the field.
Questions to Ask the Doctor in Your Liposuction Consultation
- Are you board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery? Board-certified plastic surgeons have demonstrated a knowledge of and have experience in a range of plastic surgery procedures, and have met a set of high standards.
- Was your medical training specifically in the field of plastic surgery? Liposuction can be done by any doctor with surgical training, but it is a cosmetic procedure that will affect your appearance, and you want someone who is trained in plastic surgery to perform yours.
- How much experience have you had in performing liposuction procedures? You want to choose a doctor who has had both training in and extensive experience with liposuction. More experience means greater skill, and a better ability to customize the procedure to your specific needs.
- At which hospitals do you have hospital privileges to perform this procedure? Liposuction does not need to be performed in a hospital, and is typically performed in the plastic surgeon’s clinic, but hospital affiliation is an indication of professional skill and experience. If the doctor has privileges at a highly respected hospital, that is an indication of high professional standing.
- Am I a good candidate for liposuction? Liposuction is not a weight-loss treatment. It is a way to remove stubborn pockets of fat in healthy people who are close to their desired weight. You do not have to be thin to be a good candidate for liposuction, but your weight should be stable. Find out if the doctor agrees that you are a good candidate for the procedure.
- What results should I expect? Ask the doctor to describe how liposuction will and will not change your appearance. Make sure your goals for the procedure are realistic.
- What surgical techniques do you recommend for my liposuction procedure? Different methods are used in performing liposuction, depending on the part of the body to be treated and the density of the fat to be removed. Find out which techniques the doctor recommends for you and why.
- How much time will it take to recover from the procedure? Find out whether you should expect to take time off from work or take a break from your normal activities. Ask how you will be expected to care for yourself after the procedure and whether you will need help during your recovery.
- Can you show me before and after photos of other patients you have treated with similar procedures? Seeing the doctor’s work on other patients can give you a realistic sense of both the doctor’s skill and what you can expect for your own procedure.
- What are the risks and complications of the procedure? You want to go into the procedure with a full understanding of both the benefits and the risks. Ask how the doctor handles complications, whether you can contact the office at any time, and whether corrections to the procedure are ever needed.
Dr. Stephen Bresnick is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Los Angeles. He earned his M.D. at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and completed his internship, surgical residency, and a three-year plastic surgery residency at Stanford University. He has practiced and taught plastic surgery for more than 20 years and has won many awards.