The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery offers some guidelines for consumers considering liposuction:
- Have realistic expectations. Liposuction is for body contouring, recommended for people who want to remove small amounts of fatty deposits. As a general rule, this means the mildly overweight who are within 30 percent of their ideal body weight.
- Select a surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Ask for verification in writing of the doctor's privileges to perform lipoplasty in an accredited acute care hospital. (Doctors may have privileges to perform other types of surgeries, but not necessarily liposuction.) If the doctor does the surgery in an office, ask for proof of the facility's accreditation.
- Give an accurate medical history and be sure to report all medications you take, even dietary and herbal supplements.
- Discuss the procedure thoroughly with your doctor, and make sure you understand the differences between the various types of liposuction. Ask questions. If your doctor can't answer them, or dismisses them as unimportant, find another doctor.
- Understand which type of anesthesia is recommended and if that includes deep sedation, be sure that certified staff who have appropriate training will administer it.
- Discuss pre- and post-operative care, and make sure you understand any possible risks.
Alexandra Greeley is a writer in Reston, Va.