Arizona Loophole Allows Naturopathic Doctors to Perform Liposuction

In a surprising turn of events, news out of the state of Arizona shows that a legal loophole has made it possible for naturopathic doctors to perform liposuction, Brazilian Butt Lifts and other aesthetic surgeries deemed “minor,” despite the risks associated with these procedures being performed by untrained hands.

Tucson, AZ plastic surgeon Raman Mahabir, MD says this loophole can end in very dangerous scenarios and patients should be aware of who they’re seeing for a cosmetic surgical treatment. “The official ruling came down because in the state of Arizona anyone can do minor procedures. It doesn’t have to be a doctor, it can be anybody, even an aesthetician, for that matter,” he explains. “However, there’s no definition of minor. So a group of naturopaths have decided that liposuction and BBLs are minor procedures and it’s very scary.”

“Allowing liposuction with or without fat grafting—which is done in a Brazilian Buttock Lift—to be performed by individuals that haven’t completed training in an accredited surgical training program is irresponsible and potentially extremely dangerous,” adds Miami plastic surgeon Sean Simon, MD. “It appears that in Arizona, the citizens must be very careful in selecting an actual surgeon to see for a consultation and ultimately for their plastic surgical needs, such as a liposuction procedure.” 

The Brazilian Butt Lift procedure has the highest mortality rate of any other cosmetic surgery treatment due to its risk of fat embolism, or when fat accidentally enters the bloodstream. New recommendations created by a joint task force made up of ASERF, the Aesthetic Society and the American Society of Plastic Surgery, advised surgeons on how to perform fat transfer to the butt in a safer manner. These guidelines outlined the proper placement of fat in the superficial subcutaneous space. According to the surgeons who perform these procedures on a daily basis, choosing a board certified plastic surgeon with the proper training is crucial.

“This is just paramount to why patients need to do their homework,” adds Dr. Mahabir. “You have to make sure you know who you’re seeing and that they’re really trained in that procedure, because that’s the scariest part about all this, that someone can promote themselves as one thing and really be another.”

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