Who Can Perform Liposuction Surgery?

June 24, 2014

Lipo Suction Professional Liability

To say that we provide Lipo Suction Professional Liability Insurance is to say that we (agents for various healthcare liability insurance carriers) understand the physician market and what they need to protect themselves against the likelihood of a lawsuit.

Lipo suction is a growing area: a lot of the facts in this ‘article’ or ‘blog’ are taken from the US FDA website:

Obviously, Liposuction is a risky procedure, a surgical procedure which requires very specific training and real risk of physical injury.

Liposuction involves inserting a needle through the skin and drawing out some of the underlying fat. According to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) it is the most popular form of cosmetic surgery in the United States. somewhat dated statistics show that

The 403,684 liposuction procedures performed on Americans in 2006 represent a 128% increase over the number performed in 1997.

Men receive lipo at a high rate as well, Liposuction was the most popular cosmetic procedure performed on men this past year.

and, back to 2006, there were 383,885 liposuction procedures performed on U.S. women ranked second only to breast augmentation.

According to the FDA Website, any physician is licensed to perform Lipo Suction, which doesn’t mean you can obtain insurance to perform the procedure.

The Doctors’ Insurance Agency works primarily with The Doctors’ Company to provide specialty specific, carefully underwritten and competitively priced solutions for many physicians performing additional procedures to supplement their practice.

When applying for medical malpractice insurance it is important to include the training that you’ve received and the number of cases performed so that the underwriter has a well-documented file in the event of a claim.

The American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery has written this important information on Who Can Perform Liposuction Surgery?

Plastic surgeons and dermatologists often perform liposuction, but any licensed physician may perform the procedure. While some physicians' professional societies recommend it, no standardized training is required for conducting liposuction. Of course, because it is a surgical procedure, it should be performed in a clean environment, but it may be performed in a doctor's office, surgical center or hospital. There should be access to emergency medical equipment or a nearby hospital emergency room.

If you are considering joining the millions of people worldwide who have had liposuction, FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, which regulates the medical products used in liposuction, suggests you consider the following before having the surgery: (and remember this important note:

Risky Procedure:

Remember, even the best-screened patients under the care of the best-trained and experienced physicians may experience complications as a result of liposuction. (as with any procedure).

Because fat is being removed from the body, proper precautions should be taken to ensure compliance with some standards in the industry governing how much fat can / or should be removed.

During liposuction, body fat is removed from under the skin with the use of vacuum suction—either with a hollow pen-like instrument called a "canula," or an ultrasonic probe that breaks fat up into small pieces and then removes it. Lipo Suction is not as often performed in the neck ..but it can be; and, of course, in the abdomen, arms, legs, buttocks, hips, etc.

FDA Regulated devices and Drugs related to Liposuction:

FDA regulates the sale of medical devices and drugs that physicians use to perform liposuction. This includes equipment such as canulas, pumps, collecting containers, and ultrasound probes, as well as anesthetics used during the procedure.

Risk Management Best Practices for Lipo Suction

FDA does not have authority to control, dictate or regulate a doctor's practice. Cannot tell a doctor how to run a safe practice,

but a physician CAN and should partner with a strong medical malpractice insurance company so that care is provided safely and successful outcomes are consistently achieved.

The Doctors’ Insurance Agency insures Plastic Surgery Offices, Dermatology Offices, Surgery Centers and MediSpa’s for medical malpractice, Directors and Officers, Errors and Omissions/Professional liability insurance. We always work with companies which provide strong patient safety partnership.

In fact, The Doctors’ Insurance Agency regularly posts and distributes information that can assist our physicians in running a successful practice for example: information that can help physicians to be aware of the areas of risk in this procedure:

Common risks related to Liposuction

The FDA website lists Infections can become serious issues. Keep the wounds clean.

Embolisms may occur when loosened fat enters the blood through blood vessels ruptured during liposuction. Pieces of fat can wind up in the lungs, or even the brain. Fat emboli may cause permanent disability or, in some cases, be fatal.

The Doctors’ Company offers resources on the topic of managing the risk of a lawsuit on its website: www.TheDoctors.com

An example of one of the claims studied by The Doctors’ Company is:

"A 57-year-old woman presented for abdominoplasty and liposuction of her thighs. She was obese and on hormone replacement. The procedure was performed under general anesthesia in the plastic surgeon’s office and took five hours. The insured did not routinely use either stockings or compression devices in the office, explaining that the liposuction on the legs would have made this technically difficult. The patient phoned the insured the day following surgery complaining of shortness of breath while walking. She was told to release some of the pressure on the abdominal binder. One day later, she was found dead in bed by her husband. An autopsy listed the cause of death as “massive saddle pulmonary embolism.”

Additional risks presented by the FDA Website:

  • Puncture wounds in the organs (visceral perforations) may require surgery for repair. They can also prove fatal.
  • Seroma is a pooling of serum, the straw-colored liquid from your blood, in areas where tissue has been removed.
  • Paresthesias (changes in sensation that may be caused by nerve compression) is an altered sensation at the site of the liposuction. This may either be in the form of an increased sensitivity (pain), or numbness in the area. In some cases, these changes in sensation may be permanent.
  • Swelling, in some cases, may persist for weeks or months after liposuction.
  • Skin necrosis occurs when the skin above the liposuction site changes color and falls off. Large areas of skin necrosis may become infected with bacteria or microorganisms.
  • Burns can occur during ultrasound-assisted liposuction if the ultrasound probe becomes hot.
  • Fluid imbalance may impact you after you go home. The condition can result in serious ailments such as heart problems, excess fluid collecting in the lungs, or kidney problems.
  • Toxicity from anesthesia due to the use of lidocaine, a skin-numbing drug, can cause lightheadedness, restlessness, drowsiness, a ringing in the ears, slurred speech, a metallic taste in the mouth, numbness of the lips and tongue, shivering, muscle twitching and convulsions. Lidocaine toxicity may cause the heart to stop.

Limits of Liability and State of practice to purchase Lipo Suction Liability Insurance:

Whether you are performing LipoSuction in Texas and wish to carry a lower limit of 200/600 K or Florida at 250/750

or California, Washington and / or Hawaii for 1,000,000/3,000,000 or higher, The Doctors’ Insurance Agency has relationships with national partners to bring us competitive, discounted, endorsed and respected insurance solutions to cover you in this growing area of aesthetic services.