Liposuction – myth, fact, and safety

March 24th, 2013 / Back to Blog »

Despite being one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in the United States, there are lots of myths and rumors about liposuction and who may be the best candidates.

  • Is liposuction good for getting rid of a few extra pounds before a social function or to “trim up” for swimsuit weather?
  • Is liposuction a good weight loss aid?  Should you consider getting it done to drop a few pounds and “kickstart” an exercise routine?
  • Is liposuction best done to sculpt problem areas that you can’t get rid of with diet and exercise?
  • If you are having liposuction, which is safest – doing it under general anesthesia (being “totally out”) or under a light sedation with local anesthetic?

A recent segment on FoxNews’ Sunday HouseCall addressed these questions.  While neither of the physicians discussing them were plastic surgeons (Dr. Marc Siegel is an internist, while Dr. David Samadi is a urologist), both were well read about the procedure and had clearly done their homework.

Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com Essentially, the take home message is that liposuction is a good tool to sculpt areas that you can’t seem to get rid of with diet and exercise.  It is not a weight-loss tool.  In fact, the people who have the best results after liposuction are those with isolated areas of fat that need to be sculpted (love handles, saddlebags, double chins) but are at or close to their ideal weight.

A second point the video makes is that general anesthesia is risky, and that the complications from liposuction done under general anesthesia are higher and more dangerous than those from the same procedure done under IV sedation and local (or tumescent) anesthesia.

As a final note, and the anchors bring this up as well – if you are thinking about having cosmetic surgery of any kind, make sure your surgeon is:

  1. A plastic surgeon (not a “cosmetic surgeon”, an ER doctor, a gynecologist, or someone who isn’t even a doctor)
  2. That he/she is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery – it is the ONLY board that certifies plastic surgeons.

Especially with procedures like liposuction, which can be done in an office-based procedure room, there are lots of untrained, unqualified physicians (and non-physicians) performing this surgery with minimal training and no clue how to manage complications should they happen.  Remember – this surgery is totally elective; you are having it because you want to, not because you have to.  Please, do your homework when selecting a surgeon and choose the best one in your area.