(Lipoplasty; Suction Lipectomy; Body Fat Removal; Lipocontouring)
by Jen Rymaruk
Liposuction is an elective surgical procedure. It reshapes the body through the removal of excess body fat.
Reasons for Procedure
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:
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
Your doctor will likely:
Leading up to your procedure:
There are 2 anesthesia options for liposuction. Your doctor will help you to decide which is best for you.
Description of Procedure
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 3 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:
How Long Will It Take?
The length of a procedure depends on:
How Much Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
At the Care Center
When 5 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 3 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.
Call Your Doctor
It is important for you to monitor your recovery after you leave the hospital. Alert your doctor to any problems right away. If any of the following occur, call your doctor:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
American Society of Plastic Surgeons
US Food & Drug Administration
Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons
Hughes C. Reduction of lipoplasty risks and mortality: an ASAPS survey. Aesth Plast Surg. 2001;21(2):120-127.
Liposuction. American Society of Plastic Surgeons website. Available at: https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/liposuction. Accessed September 5, 2019.
Liposuction. Smart Beauty Guide—The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery website. Available at:
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Accessed September 5, 2019.
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. 2009;28(4):226-235.
Shiffman M, Di Giuseppe A. Liposuction: Principles and Practice. New York, NY: Springer; 2006
Last reviewed September 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Donald W. Buck II, MD
Last Updated: 9/25/2020
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