According to a new study published this month in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, nearly 40% of doctors offering liposuction in Southern California had no specific surgical training.

The study, conducted by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), examined 1,876 cosmetic practitioners from San Diego to Los Angeles. Only 495 of them were trained in plastic surgery. Primary care physicians made up the fourth-largest group of liposuction providers following plastic surgeons, dermatologists, and otolaryngologists.

There is no law to prevent doctors from offering these services, especially in a doctor’s office (doctors need to apply for privileges to perform services in hospitals). Many nonsurgeons take a course or participate in some form of limited training to perform liposuction or inject fillers. But such training is not required and is often inadequate, according to the ASPS.

In the study, the authors state. "We feel that the provision of such a potentially hazardous treatment by physicians with no training in surgery poses a genuine threat to the safety of patients." In addition, the authors state that aesthetic franchises have sprung up that have no association with one particular provider, making it more difficult for patients to know just who is responsible for their care.

The study concludes that more legislation is not what’s needed, calling government meddling "a guest who may never leave." They suggest more effort to educate the public on who is or isn’t qualified to perform various cosmetic procedures.

[Source: ASPS/The Los Angeles Times]