Choosing the right surgeon is the most important decision you can make for safe and effective lipedema surgery. Unfortunately, there is considerable misinformation on social media about surgeons, and we want you to understand better how to make your choice. In this blog post, we explain how to check out the credentials of a prospective surgeon. You’ll learn how to confirm that your surgeon has a valid medical license, proper surgical training, current hospital privileges, and active board certification.
What is the Status of Your Surgeon’s Medical License?
You should verify the medical license of any potential physician with their state medical board. States grant licenses to practice medicine and are responsible for regulating the activity of licensees. Most states provide basic information about the medical license of surgeons, including current status, education, and disciplinary actions. Some states provide more information, including hospital privileges and board certification. When you search a physician’s name, you may find disciplinary actions or letters regarding unprofessional behavior such as poor record-keeping, improper prescribing, or low-quality care. Significant malpractice actions, criminal convictions, and resignations from hospital medical staff may also be listed. You may be surprised by what you find. All of the surgeons that we recommend have clean records without any surprises. However, a few of the popular lipedema surgeons have some interesting profiles. The state medical board websites are found easily via a Google search. For your convenience, we have included a few links below.
Does Your Surgeon have Proper Training?
Experience is crucial for surgical outcomes. Because of this, many lipedema surgeons advertise that they have done hundreds or even thousands of lipedema surgeries. However, experience doesn’t always equate to safe or effective surgery. If a surgeon doesn’t have proper training in reconstructive plastic surgery, then they could be doing the same poor-quality surgery over and over. Many surgeons trained as obstetricians, dermatologists, vascular surgeons, emergency room or internal medicine physicians may have treated lipedema for years, but do not have plastic surgery training. They have not been properly trained to perform skin excisions or address a large abdomen with a tummy tuck. Large volume liposuction is not a minor procedure, and it should only be performed by surgeons who are properly trained. You should ask your surgeon about their training, and you should also review their medical license to find information about their education and training.
Does Your Surgeon have Hospital Privileges?
Hospitals only grant privileges to perform lipedema surgery to physicians who operate within the scope of their practice. A hospital, which is a safer place to get large volume liposuction, excisions, and overnight monitoring, would not allow a non-plastic surgeon perform lipedema surgery in the hospital. As a result, some surgeons without hospital privileges operate in unlicensed offices and surgery centers and tell patients that doing so is more convenient. Some surgeons may not be licensed to provide general anesthesia in non-hospital settings, so they will tell patients that conscious sedation (twilight) or even local anesthesia is better without explaining that any anesthesia without the oversight of an anesthesiologist can be risky, especially for patients with other medical issues. Usually, your surgeon will inform you about their hospital privileges, but be sure to confirm with the hospital by calling or checking its website.
Is Your Surgeon Board-Certified in Plastic Surgery?
You should also always check your surgeon’s board certification. We only recommend board-certified plastic surgeons. If a surgeon is not board-certified in plastic surgery, they should be at least board-eligible (in the process of becoming certified). Often non-plastic surgeons will be vague about their specialty or even ask a plastic surgeon to work with them to do skin excisions while performing liposuction. Having a non-plastic surgeon perform large volume liposuction is potentially less safe and raises issues if you want insurance coverage. Insurance companies may deny you because you did not choose a network plastic surgeon instead. A link to the American Society of Plastic Surgery, where you can check board certification, is below. The American Board of Medical Specialties has a website called Certification Matters that allows you to check board certification for 40 specialties.
A Few Web Links:
American Board of Plastic Surgery
A few State Medical Board License Verification Links:
We are committed to educating lipedema patients about safe lipedema surgery and fair insurance coverage. If you have any questions, please reach out to us. We’ll be happy to help you