Lipoplasty: Guidelines

New York, NY (November 20, 2000) — The current data on lipoplasty (liposuction) safety establishes that serious complications are extremely rare when the procedure is performed by properly trained surgical specialists adhering to accepted standards of clinical practice. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), the leading organization of plastic surgeons who are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and specialize in cosmetic surgery, offers these guidelines:

Have realistic expectations. Lipoplasty is not a cure for obesity. The procedure is generally recommended for patients of normal weight who have localized fat deposits that are resistant to diet or exercise. Those considering lipoplasty should be within 30 percent of their ideal body weight and have adequate skin elasticity to ensure good cosmetic results.

Select a qualified surgeon. State laws permit any licensed physician to be called a "plastic" or "cosmetic" surgeon, even if the doctor has no surgical training. Select a surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. If the doctor operates in an ambulatory or office-based facility, ask for proof of the facility's accreditation. Also, ask for verification in writing of the doctor's privileges to perform lipoplasty in an accredited acute care hospital.

Provide an accurate medical history. Candidates for lipoplasty should be in generally good health. Be sure to discuss with your surgeon any past or present medical conditions, and any medications you are taking, including dietary or herbal supplements.

Discuss the procedure thoroughly. Terms such as superwet technique and tumescent technique refer to the ratios of injected fluid to aspirate (including fat) removed during lipoplasty. Fluid management is one of the fundamentals of a board-certified plastic surgeon's training. While some patients and their doctors may prefer local anesthesia, or epidural anesthesia (with or without conscious sedation), many patients want to sleep throughout the procedure. General anesthesia should be administered by a board-certified/board-eligible anesthesiologist or a certified registered nurse anesthetist.

Discuss risks and postoperative care. Lipoplasty is serious surgery and should only be undertaken with a full understanding of risks. Risk of complications increases with multiple procedures and longer duration of the surgical session. Lipoplasty is often performed as an outpatient procedure, but for larger-volume fat removal, your surgeon may recommend an overnight hospital stay.

About ASAPS
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world’s leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body.  ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; active members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures. International active members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.

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