Be Smart About Liposuction


As I drive around Tampa, Clearwater, Palm Harbor, Carrollwood, and the Greater Tampa Bay area, I am amazed with the number of billboards advertising “Smart Lipo”.  I have not seen a single billboard advertising Smart Lipo, Vaser Lipo, AquaLipo, or for that matter, any other kind of Liposuction by a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.  Amazing! 

FYI, just because a doctor has an “MD”, labcoat, liposuction machine, and billboard does not make them qualified, much less an expert in Liposuction.  The doctors I have seen advertising a form of liposuction range in specialties from Family Practice, OB/GYN, Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Dermatology, and Optometry.  None of these doctors receive education and training in their residencies for cosmetic surgeries, and liposuction is surgery.  Only plastic surgeons receive training in cosmetic surgeries (including liposuction) in their specialized residency.

Dr. Aguiar is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and has received extensive training in all aspects of cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery.  Would you want Dr. Aguiar to manage your high blood pressure or diabetes?  Would you go to a plastic surgeon to manage your pregnancy and deliver your baby?  What if you were in a severe car crash and had a ruptured aorta with only minutes to live?  I know all of these things may seem obvious, but that’s my point.  While physicians may be very good at their specialty, they are not plastic surgeons.

People often ask me, “if they are not qualified to do liposuction and cosmetic surgeries, then why are they doing them?”  The answer is simple….money.  Most of the specialites I have mentioned have seen extreme reductions in insurance reimbursements.  More and more physicians are having a harder time making a living and keeping their practices open.  With insurance reimbursement continuing to decline and expenses climbing, physicians are looking for other ways to stay financially afloat. 

Actually, I can’t say I blame them.  The representatives of the different technologies such as SmartLipo, Vaser, etc, approach the physicians with a spreadsheet showing them with just a few patients a month, they can supplement their declining income.  The representatives promise to train the physician and help them advertise with “canned” advertisements and before and after photos.  When the physician decides to purchase the machine, a nurse or nurse practitioner goes to the office and trains the physician on a willing “test” patient. 

While some of these non-plastic surgeon physicians may provide adequate service, they are not experts and their patients may have potentially devastating results.  I see it every day in our practice.  People who thought, “it’s just lipo”, are coming in with complications that sometimes cannot be corrected. 

Complications can include:

  • Lumpiness and irregularities
  • Infection with tissue and fat death
  • Seroma (collection of fluid)
  • Hematoma (collection of blood)
  • Systemic infection
  • Fluid loss causing cardiac arrest
  • Fat Emboli
  • Lidocaine toxicity from local anesthesia
  • And many more

When I see patients with complications coming to see Dr. Aguiar, I will ask them, “Why did you go to Dr. ______?  He or she is a family practice physician (or another specialty).  Most of the time, patients are shocked.  Patients simply don’t know to ask, or just assume the physician was an expert.  Many times patients will say, “my friend/sister had it done by the doctor and she is fine.” 

All surgical procedures come with associated risks.  A Board Certified Plastic Surgeon will educated you on the best procedure for you.  The expertise and experience of a physician is directly related to patient outcomes.  Be sure to do your homework before a cosmetic procedure.

Dr. Aguiar and I are always here to help you in anyway possible, so please call us with questions.  813-749-2093

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