New York Issues Liposuction Guidelines for Office-Based Surgery

May 27, 2022


Last month, the New York State Department of Health (“DOH”) published Guidelines for Performing Liposuction with and without Fat Grafting in the Office-Based Surgery Setting (the “Guidelines”). The Guidelines are meant to improve safety and reduce adverse events and deaths related to liposuction in the office-based surgery (“OBS”) setting.  In a surprising move, the Guidelines provide that any physician performing liposuction procedures in an OBS setting must be a board-certified or board-eligible in plastic surgery, plastic surgery of the head and neck, plastic and reconstructive surgery or dermatology.  In addition, the physician must have privileges in their specialty for the same procedure at a licensed Article 28 acute care hospital and/or ambulatory surgery center.  The Guidelines also include patient selection criteria, pre-procedure testing, anticoagulation, clinical guidelines for the OBS setting and post-op/follow up guidelines.

Click here for the Guidelines.

The Guidelines essentially provide that any physicians not board certified or board eligible in plastics or dermatology should not perform most liposuction procedures.  Historically, the OBS laws in New York have not addressed scope of practice issues, and there are numerous OBS practices performing liposuction that do not include plastic surgeons or dermatologists, as is permitted under New York law.  The Guidelines are voluntary, and cannot be enforced as law or regulation, but their existence raises concern for non-plastics/dermatology physicians as it could be asserted in malpractice cases or licensure actions that they establish the standard of care in New York for the performance of liposuction in the OBS setting.  We expect that the Guidelines will be challenged by affected practitioners and OBS accrediting bodies.

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