FAQ: Lipo Surgical Facility Safety

1. Where Is Liposuction Performed?

Liposuction can be performed in a doctor’s office, in an outpatient surgery center, or in a hospital.

2. What are the Important Characteristics of a Safe Surgical Facility?

A safe surgical facility for liposuction must be able to minimize the risks of surgical infections. Surgeries should be done in operating rooms that maintain high standards for cleanliness. All surgical instruments should be steam-sterilized. Cold sterilization of liposuction instruments is below the standard of care. A safe surgical facility should be well equipped and the staff should be well trained to diagnose and initiate treatment of surgical emergencies. A safe surgical facility should have well organized written policies and procedures designed to minimize the risks of complications.

3. Is it safe to have liposuction in a surgeon’s office?

If the surgeon’s office is properly equipped and well organized, then liposuction can be done safely in the office. Although office accreditation is not essential, liposuction surgeries are best performed in an office surgical facility that is an accredited or state licensed surgery center. Accreditation of a surgeon’s office documents that the facility has passed an inspection and has strict policies and procedures for patient safety. A state licensed surgery center has met the same high standard required of hospitals. Accreditation or state licensure demonstrates an extra effort to optimize patient safety.

4. Does Liposuction Safety Require Surgery in a Hospital?

No. The vast majority of liposuction surgeries are performed in an office or outpatient surgical facility. Liposuction in an accredited office is probably safer than liposuction done in a hospital. Liposuction in the hospital seems to be more dangerous. One possible explanation for this is that liposuction surgery in the hospital tends to be accomplished under general anesthesia which permits both excessive amounts of liposuction and the simultaneous performance of multiple unrelated surgical procedures at the same time as liposuction. Hospital surgery is associated with an increased risk of surgical wound infections.

5. Should I Only Choose a Surgeon Who Has an Accredited Office?

Office accreditation is not an absolute requirement for doing safe liposuction surgery. However office accreditation is desirable. Office accreditation is an indication that the surgeon and office staff have gone to the effort and expense of implementing comprehensive written policies and procedures in the hopes of improving patient safety. Office accreditation does not guarantee that there is no risk of a serious liposuction complication. And there are many office-based surgical practices that have an outstanding record for surgical safety, where the office has not sought to become accredited. Office accreditation is a relatively new trend, and many offices have yet to become accredited.