Liposuction is a decades-old technique that allows surgeons to remove fat from unwanted areas of the body and improve the contour of a targeted region. It avoids the need for long scars, usually has a short recovery, and provides long-lasting results. While it does not address extra skin, a certain degree of skin tightening can occur, depending on how each patient heals.

Types of procedures

  • Tumescent liposuction: In tumescent liposuction, a fluid is injected before the suction is applied, numbing the area and facilitating removal of the fat. The suction cannulas are connected to a machine that generates a sucking or vacuum effect.
  • Ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL): After tumescent solution injection, an ultrasonic device is used to liquify the fat. After that, the fat is sucked out. This helps with densely fibrous or scarred areas and my help tighten the skin.
  • Laser-assisted liposuction: This is similar to UAL, but our surgeons use a laser to break up fat rather than an ultrasound. Using a laser makes it possible to target smaller areas and may tighten the skin and produce more collagen.

Procedure details

  • You surgeon defines target areas on examination
  • The areas are marked out and the positions of tiny, key incisions are discussed prior to surgery
  • If a small area of the body is targeted, the procedure can be done under local anesthesia
  • If a larger area is to be addressed, local anesthesia with mild sedation can be used
  • If multiple, large areas are operated on, the procedure is done under general anesthesia
  • All cases are done on an outpatient basis. Patients go home about one hour after surgery
  • A compression garment is applied at the end of the procedure, and should be worn for at least two months to help reduce post-surgical swelling

Risks & Benefits

Liposuction may not be a good option for patients who are overweight, have medical problems, or have very thin skin. Large target areas may require the use of a large amount of fluid and local anesthesia. This can lead to fluid overload, which requires treatment in the hospital. Areas can swell or scar underneath the skin differently than surrounding areas. This can lead to contour irregularities that may require additional procedures or may be permanent. Points on the skin that can be numb temporarily or permanently after surgery. While very rare, liposuction on the belly or chest can injure structures deep to the skin, such as the intestines or lungs.

Liposuction is an extremely safe and common procedure. If used appropriately, it can significantly improve the appearance of the targeted area or areas. Most patients recover easily and rapidly.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does liposuction take?

Procedure duration ranges from 30 minutes to three hours, depending upon which areas of the body it addresses.

Will I accumulate fat elsewhere in the body after liposuction?
Liposuction removes fat cells from the targeted areas. Not all fat can be removed, because this will damage the overlying skin and create contour problems. If you gain a significant amount of weight after surgery, fat will accumulate where it naturally tends to accumulate on your body.