Finding the Right Doctor for Liposuction

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Female patient being readied procedure
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If you plan to have liposuction, you’ll want a highly qualified doctor to perform the procedure. How do you find the best doctor who is right for you? Here are important factors to keep in mind. 

Top Things to Look For

Find a doctor who:

  • Is board certified in their specialty and who practices liposuction
  • Has experience treating patients with your specific condition
  • Practices at a hospital known to have high-quality outcomes in surgical procedures in general 
  • Accepts your insurance
  • You are comfortable talking with and who fully answers your questions

Here are five steps to finding the best doctor to perform your liposuction.

1. Ask Around

Start by creating a list of potential doctors. Plastic surgeons perform the majority of liposuctions. Other providers who may perform liposuction include dermatologists and general surgeons. Ask your family, friends, and other healthcare providers for recommendations. If you’re starting without any referrals, or you’re looking for more options, search Healthgrades.com for doctors who perform liposuction. 

Healthgrades.com shows patient satisfaction ratings, which give you insight into how your own experience might be with the doctor. Patients rate the doctor and the doctor’s medical practice, and say if they would recommend the doctor to family and friends.

2. Research Credentials and Experience

Take time to research the doctors’ credentials and experience. Look for a doctor who is board certified in plastic surgery or other specialty and performs liposuction on a regular basis. The more experience a doctor has treating your condition or performing liposuction, the better prepared he or she is to anticipate and prevent complications. 

Also, confirm that the doctor is in good standing with state and federal agencies and that he or she has no history of malpractice claims or disciplinary actions. 

You’ll find all this information on Healthgrades.com.

3. Examine Hospital Performance

Surgical procedures often require a team of highly skilled and experienced healthcare professionals. For this reason, you should also consider the overall quality of care at the hospital or facility where the doctor practices. 

Find out where the doctors on your list can treat patients. Your liposuction may or may not take place in a hospital. If it does, research those hospitals on Healthgrades.com. Healthgrades evaluates hospitals on mortality and complication rates of patients while in the hospital for a range of common procedures. 

Ideally you should find a hospital in your area that performs better than expected (5-stars), particularly in general surgery. Then find a doctor who can admit and treat patients at this hospital. Avoid hospitals with lower than expected (1-star) results.

If a particular hospital falls short in quality, determine if the doctor also operates at a different facility. Otherwise, find a doctor who treats patients at a hospital likely to offer you the best possible outcome.

4. Interview the Surgeon

As you narrow down your list of doctors, call each doctor’s office and ask for a consult appointment to meet and interview the doctor. 

  • Ask yourself if you are comfortable talking with the doctor. 
  • Does he or she respect your opinions and answer your questions in a way you understand? 

Here are some questions to ask the doctor:

  • Do you typically treat patients like me?
  • How many liposuction procedures have you performed?
  • What results do you usually see? Do you have outcomes data to share?
  • How frequently do you encounter complications from the surgery? 
  • What do you do to avoid complications or correct them if they occur?

5. Determine Your Insurance Benefit and Out-of-Pocket Costs

Your insurance coverage is a practical matter. Your insurance company is not likely to pay for cosmetic liposuction. But they may cover the cost of liposuction to treat a medical condition, such as gynecomastia or lipoma. To receive the most insurance benefits and pay the least out-of-pocket for your surgery, you need to choose a doctor that participates in your plan. Read more about liposuction costs in 8 Things to Know About Liposuction.

Keep in mind, just because a doctor participates in your insurance plan doesn’t mean he or she is a high-quality doctor. You still need to consider the doctor’s experience and expertise.

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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Sep 9
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.