Liposuction – Everything, Types, Safety, Side Effect & Benefits

Getting rid of excessive fat in your body has never been easier. Liposuction is great when you want to remove fat from your abdomen, thighs, arms, neck, hips, buttocks, or neck. It’s a cosmetic surgical procedure that uses suction techniques. Also, surgeons do Liposuction to reshape or contour these body areas.

You might hear another name for Liposuction, and that is Lipoplasty and body contouring. People consider Liposuction a surgical method to trim body fat and lose weight overall. You’ll probably lose more weight through a bariatric procedure (gastric bypass surgery) or dieting and exercising than you would with Liposuction.

Why Liposuction?

People choose Liposuction to remove fat from body areas that aren’t responding to exercise and diet, including:

  • Buttocks
  • Hips and thighs
  • Abdomen
  • Upper arms
  • Chin and neck
  • Chest and back
  • Calves and ankles

Also, you can use Liposuction to treat gynecomastia and for breast reduction. The fat cells increase in volume and size as you gain weight. Your surgeon will determine how much fat to remove depending on its volume and the overall appearance of the area.

Liposuction results are permanent as long as you maintain a stable weight after surgery. Your skin molds to the new contours of the treated body area after Liposuction. You’ll have smooth skin after surgery if you normally have good skin elasticity and tone. However, if your skin has poor elasticity and isn’t in good health, the treated skin may look loose after surgery.

You should know that Liposuction won’t:

  • Improve cellulite dimpling
  • Remove stretch marks
  • Improve Skin surface irregularities.

Who is an ideal candidate for Liposuction? Someone in good health and without chronic medical conditions like coronary artery disease, a weak immune system, diabetes, or restricted blood flow.

Why Liposuction?

How to Prepare for a Liposuction?

1. Food and medications

You can discuss with your surgeon your expectations from Liposuction. Afterward, your surgeon will ask for medical history and previous surgeries. Also, you should tell your surgeon about any medications you might be taking, including herbal supplements and vitamins.

Then, you’ll be asked to stop smoking and take certain medications for three weeks before your surgery like aspirin, NSAIDs, and blood thinners. Sometimes, depending on your surgery, medical condition, and goals, your surgeon will run some lab tests to determine if you’re a good candidate for Liposuction.

2. Other precautions

Your surgeon will perform surgery in an office setting only when you remove a small amount of fat. However, if you need a lot of fat to be removed or maybe you need other cosmetic procedures at the same time, then your surgeon will do it in a hospital with a demand for an overnight stay. Whether you’ll do surgery at the office or in the hospital, you should plan for someone to take you home and keep you company during the first night.

What You Can Expect

Before Liposuction

Don’t be alarmed when you find your surgeon marking lines and circles on the areas where you need fat removal. Also, your surgeon will take photos before and after the Liposuction, so you can compare the results.

Your surgeon will decide on a specific technique to perform your Liposuction after reviewing your medical and surgical history. An appropriate technique will be selected based on the area of your body to be treated, treatment goals, and whether you have had previous liposuction surgeries.

· Laser-Assisted Liposuction (LAL)

High-intensity laser light breaks down fat for removal. During LAL, the surgeon cuts a small incision in the skin where a laser fiber is inserted to emulsify fat deposits. Then, the surgeon uses a cannula (thin tube) to remove fat.

· Tumescent Liposuction

Surgeons usually use tumescent Liposuction where they inject into the area that’s being treated:

  • A sterile solution (a mixture of saltwater) that helps with fat removal
  • Lidocaine (an anesthetic) to relieve pain
  • A drug (epinephrine) that constricts the blood vessels.

The fluid mixture makes the treated area swell and stiffen. Then, your surgeon inserts a cannula under your skin through small cuts into your skin. A vacuum is connected to the cannula to draw fat and fluids out from your body. Finally, your surgeon replenishes your body fluid through an intravenous (IV) line.

· Power-Assisted Liposuction (PAL)

The PAL liposuction depends on a cannula that moves rapidly in a back-and-forth motion. The surgeon chooses this technique to remove tough fat quickly and easily with the help of the vibrations.

PAL allows the surgeon to remove fat with more precision since it causes less pain and swelling. So, if you need to remove large volumes of fat, then your surgeon will most likely choose this technique or if you’ve had a liposuction procedure before.

· Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction (UAL)

Sometimes, a surgeon uses UAL along with traditional Liposuction. Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction emits ultrasonic energy through a metal rod inserted under your skin. As a result, the walls of fat cells rupture, which breaks down the fat and makes it easier to remove. VASER-assisted Liposuction is a new generation of UAL that depends on using a device that reduces the risk of skin injuries and improves skin contouring.

During Liposuction

If you’re having a minor liposuction surgery, you may only require local or regional anesthesia where your surgeon limits the anesthesia to a specific area. However, if your Liposuction surgery is major, your surgeon will choose general anesthesia to induce a temporary state of unconsciousness. Also, it might be necessary to take a sedative to help you remain calm and relaxed through an IV injection.

Throughout your surgery, the medical team will monitor your blood oxygen level, blood pressure, and heart rate. You must inform your surgeon if you’re feeling any pain during the procedure if you are given local anesthesia so he/she can adjust the medication or motions.

Typically, it can take several hours to complete a liposuction surgery, depending on the extent of fat removal.

You’ll wake up in a recovery room if your surgeon decides to give you general anesthesia and spend the night in the hospital or clinic to allow your medical team to monitor your recovery. During your stay in the hospital and before you leave, we’ll make sure that you’re not in shock from fluid loss or dehydration.

After Liposuction

Normally, patients will experience some pain, bruising, and swelling after surgery. If necessary, your surgeon may prescribe antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection and over the counter medicines to help kill the pain.

Your surgeon may leave your incisions open after the procedure to place temporary drains that drain any excess fluid. For a few weeks, your surgeon will usually recommend wearing tight compression garments to reduce swelling.

It might take a few days and, sometimes, a few weeks to return to work and resume your normal activities, including exercise.

During recovery, the remaining fat settles into position, so you should expect some contour irregularities.

Liposuction Results

Typically, you’ll experience some swelling after Liposuction that subsides within a few weeks. During that time, the treated area will start to look less bulky. Then, the treated area will have a leaner appearance within the first few months.

Generally, liposuction results are lasting as long as you maintain your healthy weight. However, as we get older, our natural skin loses some firmness. After Liposuction, the fat distribution may alter when you gain weight. For instance, it doesn’t matter which areas you originally treated; you may accumulate fat around your abdomen.

Liposuction Risks

Liposuction, like any major cosmetic surgery, has risks, like a reaction to anesthesia, infection, and bleeding. Liposuction has some possible complications, including:


Although it’s rare, sometimes patients end up with skin infections, which is why your surgeon prescribes antibiotics. However, it could be life-threatening to have a severe skin infection.

Contour Irregularities

Uneven fat removal can leave your skin looking withered, bumpy, or wavy because of unusual healing and poor skin elasticity. Sadly, skin changes may be permanent. Also, the skin may get a permanent spotted appearance from damage done beneath the skin from the thin tube (cannula) during Liposuction.

Fluid Accumulation

After surgery, some patients get seromas (temporary pockets of fluid) that form under the skin. Your surgeon can drain the excess fluids using a needle.


The treated area will be temporarily or permanently numb. Also, some patients experience temporary nerve irritation.

Internal Puncture

It rarely happens. However, if the cannula penetrates too deeply, it may puncture an internal organ. As a result, you’ll need an emergency surgical repair.

Fat Embolism

Loosen pieces of fat may rarely break away, get trapped in a blood vessel, and travel to the brain or gather in the lungs. It’s called a fat embolism, and it is a medical emergency.

Kidney And Heart Problems

If the fluid levels shift as your surgical team injects and sections out fluids, it can cause potentially life-threatening heart, lung, and kidney problems.

Lidocaine Toxicity

During Liposuction, your surgical team injects lidocaine (an anesthetic) with fluids to help manage pain. Generally, it’s considered safe. However, lidocaine toxicity can occur in rare circumstances causing serious central nervous system and heart complications.

The larger the treated surfaces of your body are, the greater the chances of risks are. Also, if your surgeon is doing other cosmetic procedures with Liposuction, risks increase. Feel free to talk to your cosmetic surgeon about these risks and their possibility.

FAQ Liposuction

What is traditional Liposuction?

Liposculpture is another term used for Liposuction. It is a surgical procedure that removes the subcutaneous fat layer(fat just under the skin) by breaking it down. Usually, it’s done to areas of your body that are stubbornly and notoriously resistant to exercise and diet.

You should know that Liposuction is not a weight-loss procedure; it’s only a solution to remove a fat pocket that is nonresponsive to healthy ways.

What happens during the procedure? How is it performed?

Liposuction involves inserting a cannula (a thin tube) into the fat pocket through small incisions that the surgeon cuts into the skin. Then, the cannula is connected to a syringe or a suction device to remove fat by extraction.

Typically, Liposuction is an outpatient surgery if your surgeon decides you only need local anesthesia. However, patients under general anesthesia usually stay one night to monitor their bodies and go home the second day.

Where is Liposuction be performed?

Patients usually complain from common areas of the body where they need Liposuction, including:

  • Abdomen or Belly Pooch
  • Muffin Top
  • Love Handles
  • Female Breasts
  • Bra Strap Area
  • Double Chin
  • Bottom of Upper Arms
  • Back of Neck
  • Outer Thighs or Saddlebags
  • Male Breasts

Also, you can get Liposuction to the ankles, inner thigh, and upper back but they’re less common areas. Since each person responds differently to diet and exercise, the ideal area for each one is unique. Our qualified surgeons at Hospitalista will consult with you to determine where Liposuction makes sense on your body.

What makes an ideal candidate for the procedure?

Nonsmokers and healthy people at or close to their optimal weight are the best candidates for Liposuction.

Ideal candidates have stubborn subcutaneous fat and not visceral fat. The stubborn subcutaneous fat is when fat resides between skin and muscle. On the other hand, visceral fat is the layer of fat that resides around the abdominal organs underneath the muscle layer.

Moreover, your surgical team will evaluate your skin’s condition before recommending Liposuction. Eventually, good candidates usually have good skin elasticity and are ideal for Liposuction. However, patients with cellulite or loose skin are not ideal since these conditions can cause dimpled or uneven skin.

Is Liposuction a weight loss procedure? How much fat can be removed?

Most people believe that Liposuction is a weight-loss treatment when it isn’t. However, it is a procedure for fat reduction. After assessing your health and aesthetic goals, your surgeon will determine the amount of fat that can be removed in an area during a single surgery which varies from one patient to another.

How does a patient prepare for liposuction surgery?

Before your Liposuction, your surgeon will give some important instructions to help with the success of your surgery. Also, you’ll need to arrange with a supportive family member or friend to drive you to and from the surgical center and help you during recovery and with post-surgical care.

You’ll need to avoid certain medications like blood thinners and aspirin before the procedure. If necessary, your surgeon will do some blood work ahead of time to ensure that you are a good candidate for Liposuction and anesthesia. Finally, on the day of surgery, you’ll fast for about 12 hours (no food or drinks allowed) before the procedure.

What is the recovery like?

Liposuction patients, in most procedures, can resume work and all normal activities in a couple of days. Within 2-4 weeks or less, you can resume exercising depending on your recovery, the amount of fat removed, and post-surgical care that differs from one patient to another.

The best way to recover quicker is by following post-surgical instructions to have a painless experience as much as possible. You’ll feel some discomfort. However, if you rest, stay hydrated, and avoid smoking, you will recover faster and minimize any complications. Swelling, tenderness, and bruising in the area of the procedure are the most common post-surgical effects. After surgery, our surgical team at Hospitalista will offer some pain relievers medicines, and daily practices.

Also, your surgeon will recommend wearing compression garments in the treated areas. Finally, you should prevent strenuous activities for a few weeks after surgery to minimize strain on the target areas.

What kind of scarring should I expect after Liposuction?

The small scars you’ll get are from the cannula, which is a small instrument. The number of insertion points needed to treat the area determines how many scars you’ll have. Also, your skin quality and elasticity determine your scarring degree. The surgeon cares to minimize the appearance of scarring, so your surgeon will choose locations to hide it best.

What kind of results should I expect after A Liposuction?

During your consultation, you can discuss with your surgeon your goals, and he/she can help set realistic results. You’ll experience some swelling immediately after surgery, and your skin may be loose. As a result, you can see the final results of your Liposuction after several weeks to months. Liposuction removes fat cells permanently.

However, you must know that you can still gain new fat cells. So, to maintain results as long as possible, it’s best to follow a healthy lifestyle, diet, and exercise plan after surgery to prevent gaining new fat cells.

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