Guide to Getting Liposuction

Liposuction, also known as lipoplasty, is one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures in the United States. Every year, hundreds of thousands of American men and women undergo liposuction procedures to eliminate unwanted and persistent pockets of fat in the:

  • Abdomen
  • Hips
  • Thighs
  • Buttocks
  • Arms

In fact, liposuction technology has advanced so rapidly in recent years that select types of technology can now be used to refine and remove small areas of fat around the face, waist, knees, and ankles. When considering liposuction to enhance your image, the following evaluation applies:

Localized Areas of Fat:

Liposuction is designed to permanently safely remove small localized pockets of fat that do not respond to diet or exercise. Liposuction may be performed in conjunction with other procedures to achieve the optimal result. For example, an abdominoplasty may be performed to treat excess skin and weakened muscles. This procedure may be followed by liposuction to refine the appearance of the abdomen. Abdominal etching helps to create a "six pack"? abdominal appearance.

Anesthesia, Location and Time:

Liposuction may be performed under local or general anesthesia. Laser Assisted Lipo, commonly known as Smart Lipo, requires numbing of the treatment area with an anesthetic. The procedure is usually performed in an out patient surgical center. It may be performed in a hospital where the surgeon has privileges for the procedure, especially when more than one procedure is performed at the same time. The procedure requires forty five minutes to two hours, depending upon the number of treatment areas.

Liposuction Techniques:

There are a variety of techniques using different technology that may be used for liposuction. Traditional tried and true liposuction technique are denoted as a surgical procedure in which fat is suctioned from the body using a long, thin device called a cannula, including :

Ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty

Also known as UAL, this procedure is on the cutting edge of liposuction technology. The fat cells are liquefied for easier removal with ultrasound waves emitted from a special cannula.


A minimally invasive procedure that uses a smaller cannula to remove fat from and contour hard-to-target areas.

Tumescent technique

Large amounts of anesthetic fluid are injected into the fatty areas for this technique. The fluid causes the fatty tissue to swell (tumesce), making it easier to remove through a cannula. This procedure usually involves less bruising and blood loss.

Super-wet technique

Similar to the tumescent technique, only the amount of liquid injected is much less.

Laser Assisted Liposuction

Commonly referred to by the most popular manufacturer name SMART Lipo, is a relatively new technique that uses a laser to rupture the fat cells, liquify and remove them through a very small cannula.

Liposuction Recovery:

Plastic surgeons provide a complete list of pre and post operative instructions in order to reduce the risk of complications and allow for an overnight recovery. Liposuction patients can usually return to work and participate in most normal activities the day after surgery. Yet, there may be restrictions on select activities or the use of recovery aids for a longer period of time. Most patients are pleased with the outcome of the procedure.

Liposuction Risks:

As with all medical procedures, there are risks associated with liposuction. Risks associated with liposuction are reduced when pre and post operative instructions are followed by the patient. Most patients are fully satisfied with the results of the procedure.


Hematomas (blood clots) may result from liposuction. Treatment for a hematoma depends upon your particular situation.


Infection can occur after surgery and can usually be managed through anti-biotic treatment.


Some temporary numbness may result through the liposuction procedure.

Pulmonary Emboli:

Pulmonary emboli occurs when some of the fat escapes and lodges in the lungs. It may be signified as difficulty breathing within three days of surgery.


Tiny scars result with liposuction. There are a numerous types of scar aids available to reduce the appearance of scars.

Excess Skin:

Once liposuction is performed, there may be excess skin which may need to be trimmed away if excessive or desired for an optimal outcome.

Injury to Skin:

Laser Assisted Liposuction may produce injuries to the skin that can be treated and resolve over time.

Liposuction Costs:

Liposuction costs vary among plastic surgeons. Factors relating to cost include: the geographic location of the surgeon, the type of facility used to perform the procedure, the technique, and the surgeon's experience with the procedure.