Liposuction is an elective surgical procedure. It reshapes the body through the removal of excess body fat.
Some common reasons for choosing to have liposuction include:
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
Liposuction results are not the same for everyone. Some factors that may affect results include:
Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:
Your doctor will likely:
Leading up to your procedure:
There are two anesthesia options for liposuction. Your doctor will help you to decide which is best for you.
A special fluid containing saline (salt water), additional anesthetic, adrenalin (to minimize bleeding), and bicarbonate (to minimize pain from injection) will be injected into the fatty areas. You may have an incision for the fluid injection. One of the following three extraction techniques will be used:
After the fluid is added, a small incision will be made near the area to be suctioned. In traditional liposuction, the doctor will use an instrument called a cannula to suction the fat. A cannula is a hollow tube, like a drinking straw. A vacuum pressure unit, which is attached by a hose to the cannula, will provide the suction for the procedure. Once fat has been removed, the incisions may be sutured closed or left open to drain.
The following are different types of liposuction available:
The length of a procedure depends on:
Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
When five liters of fat or more is removed, an overnight stay will be required.
During your stay, the care center staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection, such as:
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chance of infection, such as:
Results of the liposuction will not be seen right away. Depending on the amount of fat removed and the body’s ability to heal, visible results may take weeks or months to appear. Typically, swelling begins to decrease within a few weeks of surgery. However, it may take months to fully subside. Bruising may last three or more weeks. Numbness may persist for several weeks before it begins to fade. After the swelling and bruising disappear, the true result of the procedure is seen. If postoperative weight is maintained, the results of the liposuction can be permanent.
If desired results are not achieved, or if the skin remains loose, additional surgery may be needed.
After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
United States Food and Drug Administration
Cosmetic Plastic Surgery
Body fat removal. Mayo Clinic website. Available at:
http://www.mayoclinic.org/cosmeticsurgery-sct/bodyfat.html. Accessed September 13, 2005.
Hughes C. Reduction of lipoplasty risks and mortality: an ASAPS survey.
Aesth Plast Surg.
Lipoplasty or liposuction. American Society of Plastic Surgeons website. Available at:
http://www.plasticsurgery.org/public_education/procedures/Lipoplasty.cfm. Accessed September 15, 2005.
Liposuction: considerations about body sculpting. Mayo Clinic website. Available at:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/invoke.cfm?objectid=42111054-10B3-486D-9B01D212AEC550B8. Accessed September 15, 2005.
Liposuction (lipoplasty). The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery website. Available at:
http://www.surgery.org/public/procedures-lipoplasty.php. Accessed September 15, 2005.
Sasaki GH, Tevez A. Laser-assisted liposuction for facial and body contouring and tissue tightening: a 2-year experience with 75 consecutive patients.
Semin Cutan Med Surg.
Shiffman M, Di Giuseppe A.
Liposuction: Principles and Practice.
New York, NY: Springer; 2006
Ultrasonic liposuction. Mayo Clinic website. Available at:
Accessed September 15, 2005.
Last reviewed September 2013 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.