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Does the Location of the Surgery or the Specialty of the Physician Affect Malpractice Claims in Liposuction?


Address correspondence and reprint requests to: William P. Coleman, III, MD, 4425 Conlin Street, Metairie, LA 70006.


Background. There is increasing national dialogue on who should perform liposuction and where it should be performed.

Objective. To determine the effect of the location of liposuction surgery and the specialty of the physician on the incidence of malpractice claims.

Methods. Physicians Insurance Association of America malpractice data from 1995-1997 was analyzed.

Results. Hospital-based liposuction had more than 3 times the rate of malpractice settlements than office-based liposuction. Dermatologists accounted for less than 1% of malpractice claim settlements in liposuction.

Conclusion. Dermatologic liposuction education has emphasized small volume cases performed under local anesthesia using the tumescent technique. The safety of this approach appears to be validated in terms of decreased malpractice settlements.