- Liposuction Center
- Antiaging Tips & Secrets to Look Younger Slideshow
- Cosmetic Surgery Slideshow Pictures
- Skin Quiz: Test Your Skin IQ
- Find a local Plastic Surgeon in your town
- Introduction to liposuction
- Who is a good candidate for liposuction?
- What do I need to know before undergoing liposuction?
- How is the liposuction procedure done?
- What are the types of liposuction
- How long does recovery after liposuction last?
- Are the results of liposuction permanent?
- What are the risks of liposuction?
- Is liposuction covered by insurance?
Introduction to Liposuction
"The battle of the bulge." That tiny, five-word phrase has been shoved in our faces for years, thanks to television, newspapers and magazines. Sometimes, no matter how hard you fight, the bulge has a tougher army. The fact is that certain people have fat cells that will not shrink, despite diet and exercise. You can thank heredity for that in some cases.
Liposuction is an option to remove small bulges that won't budge and to improve your body's shape. The areas most commonly treated include the hips, abdomen, thighs and buttocks and face. Liposuction does not remove cellulite, only fat.
Who Is a Good Candidate For Liposuction?
A good candidate for liposuction should have realistic expectations about the results of this procedure as well as these basic qualities:
- Average or slightly above-average weight
- Firm, elastic skin
- In good overall health
- Concentrated pockets of fat that do not respond well to diet and exercise
Patients with poor skin quality (cellulite) are not good candidates for liposuction because they may develop skin irregularities due to under- or over-correction of localized fat deposits. Age is generally not a major consideration when discussing liposuction; however, older patients often have less elasticity in their skin and thus may not achieve the same benefits of liposuction that a younger patient with tighter skin might achieve.
What Do I Need To Know Before Undergoing Liposuction?
The first step before undergoing liposuction will be to arrange a consultation with your surgeon. During the consultation, your surgeon will discuss which options are best for you, your skin type, the effectiveness and safety of the procedure, the potential financial cost and what your expectations should be. Do not hesitate to ask the surgeon any questions you may have. Now is not the time to be shy.
Once you have decided to undergo liposuction, your surgeon will give you any instructions you need to prepare for the surgery. This may include dietary or alcohol guidelines restrictions or the taking or avoiding of certain vitamins. Be sure to tell your surgeon of any allergies you have as well as any and all medications you are taking. This includes over-the-counter and prescription medications as well as herbal supplements.
How Is the Liposuction Procedure Done?
Depending on the type of liposuction you are undergoing, the procedure may be performed as an outpatient procedure at the doctor's office or surgery center, or if large amounts of fat are being removed, the procedure will be done in a hospital and may require an overnight stay.
Before the procedure begins, you will be given anesthesia. Again, depending on the degree of fat being removed and the type of liposuction being performed, anesthesia varies and may only be locally applied or it may require a general application in which case the surgery will be done while you are sleeping.
Once the anesthesia has taken effect, the liposuction procedure is performed using a suction device attached to a small, stainless steel instrument called a cannula. Through small incisions, the cannula is inserted into fatty areas between skin and muscle where it removes excess fat either using a suction pump or a large syringe. This results in a smoother, improved body contour. The length of the procedure will vary with the amount of fat needing removed.
Types of Liposuction
Though the basics of liposuction described above remain the same, there are a couple of different techniques that can be used during liposuction. These include:
- Tumescent liposuction. During this technique, the surgeon will inject a solution is injected into your fatty areas before the fat is removed. It is made up of a saline solution, a mild painkiller and epinephrine, a drug that contracts your blood vessels. The solution not only helps the surgeon removed the fat more easily but it helps reduce blood loss and provides pain relief during and after surgery.
- Ultrasound-assisted liposuction. During ultrasound-assisted liposuction, ultrasonic energy is used to liquefy the fat, after which it is removed from the body.
How Long Does Recovery After Liposuction Last?
Under most circumstances, when liposuction is an outpatient procedure, recovery is usually quick. Most people can return to work within a few days and to normal activities within about two weeks. You should expect bruising, swelling and soreness for a least a few weeks. However, every person's outcome will vary based on factors such as volume of fat cells removed and area of removal. Your doctor will discuss what results you can expect to achieve and how to best maintain your new body shape.
Are the Results of Liposuction Permanent?
The fat cells are removed permanently, so if you gain weight after the procedure, it usually will not concentrate in the area that was treated. However, it is important to note that liposuction will not prevent you from regaining weight. To keep your new shape and new weight after liposuction, you must follow a proper diet and exercise plan.
What Are the Risks of Liposuction?
All surgical procedures involve some risk. However, liposuction has a good safety record and the risks associated with the procedure are minimized when performed by a specially trained, board-certified plastic surgeon.
Although rare, risks include infection and skin discoloration. As with all surgery, common sense is important. The risk of medical problems can be minimized by avoiding extremely long procedures or excessive removal of fat.
Is Liposuction Covered By Insurance?
Like all cosmetic procedures, liposuction is not covered by health insurance plans. Ask to talk with a representative who can explain the costs of the procedure and payment options.
Reviewed by the doctors at The Cleveland Clinic Department of Plastic Surgery
Edited by Charlotte E. Grayson , MD, Sept. 2003.
Portions of this page © The Cleveland Clinic 2000-2003
Quick GuideCosmetic Surgery: Before and After Photos of Cosmetic Surgeries
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Top Liposuction Related Articles
Skin & Makeup QuizAre you doing right by your skin? Take the Skin and Makeup Quiz to learn how to make the most of your beauty regimen.
Body Dysmorphic DisorderBody dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is an illness where a person is overly preoccupied with some minor or imaginary flaw. People with BDD tend to have cosmetic surgery. BDD can be treated with SSRIs and cognitive behavioral therapy.
CelluliteCellulite is caused by fat deposits that distort connective tissues under the skin, resulting in a dimpled appearance of the skin. Gender, skin thickness, heredity, and the amount and distribution of body fat all influence the presence and visibility of cellulite.
Cellulite SlideshowDon't confuse cellulite with loose skin or stretch marks, get the facts about cellulite. Learn to identify cellulite and discover the most effective methods for cellulite treatment.
Cosmetic Surgery PicsThinking about getting plastic surgery? Check out before and after pictures of popular cosmetic surgery procedures, including: liposuction, tummy tuck, breast implants, rhinoplasty (nose job), neck lift, and more.
Face LiftA face lift is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of excess facial skin to promote a more youthful appearance. Potential complications of the procedure include
- asymmetry, and
- loss of muscle function or sensation.
Laser ResurfacingLaser resurfacing involves directing concentrated pulsating beams of light at irregular skin. This procedure may be used to reduce wrinkles, blemished, or acne scars. There are two types of lasers commonly used in laser resurfacing: carbon dioxide and erbium. Treated areas heal in 10-21 days. Possible complications include milia, hyperpigmentation, and swelling.
Lip AugmentationLip augmentation can reduce fine lines and wrinkles around the lips as well as enlarge your lips. The best candidates for lip enhancement do not have current cold sores, diabetes, lupus, scarring of the lips, blood clotting problems, and are not smokers.
LymphedemaLymphedema is a condition in which one or more extremities become swollen as the result of an impaired flow of the lymphatic system. There are two types of lymphedema; primary, secondary. Filariasis is the most common cause of lymphedema worldwide; however, in the U.S. breast cancer surgery is the most common cause. Symptoms include:
- swelling of one or more limbs,
- cracked skin, and
- secondary bacterial or fungal infections of the skin.
Neck Lift Cosmetic SurgeryLearn about neck lift surgery - what the surgery is, how it is performed and complications including swelling, bruising, tightness, tingling, numbness, infection, fever, and unusual discharge from the incision site.
Obesity (Weight Loss)Obesity is the state of being well above one's normal weight. A person has traditionally been considered to be obese if they are more than 20% over their ideal weight. That ideal weight must take into account the person's height, age, sex, and build.
Permanent Makeup (Micropigmentation)Micropigmentation, or permanent makeup, is a procedure in which iron oxide pigment is injected into the dermis. This procedure can improve the appearance of thin eyebrows and lips and may be beneficial for those with makeup allergies. Swelling is common after the procedure. The patient may be instructed to apply ice and/or ointment to the treated area.
Surgery QuestionsSurgery is the branch of medicine that employs operations in the treatment of disease or injury. Prior to surgery you might consider asking your surgeon questions about the operation (procedure).