Liposuction, also called lipoplasty or suction-assisted lipectomy, contours the body by removing fat cells through a vacuum device. Liposuction can be performed on many parts of the body. Some of the most popular areas are the neck, upper arms, abdomen, buttocks, hips and thighs.

The surgeon makes a small incision and inserts a suction tube called a cannula into the fat layer. The fat cells are sucked out using a vacuum pump or syringe. During the procedure, the patient is carefully monitored and intravenous fluids are given to replace the fluid that is lost with the fat. Liposuction may be combined with other procedures and can often be performed through the same incision.

Not a Weight Loss Method

Liposuction is not designed for weight loss. The ideal candidate has already achieved his or her desired weight and is committed to continue healthy eating and exercise for a lifetime. However, many patients find that liposuction can help them to:

  • Get rid of localized fatty deposits or bulges that do not go away with exercise
  • Fit better into their clothing
  • Achieve a more shapely contour

Patients who have healthy, elastic skin will get the best results. If you have excessive amounts of loose skin, additional procedures may be required to adjust the skin.

There are also many things that liposuction can't correct, such as wrinkles, bulges that are not caused by fat cells, or a bumpy or dimpled "cellulite" appearance in the skin. The best way to find out whether liposuction is appropriate for your needs is to discuss the procedure with a board-certified plastic surgeon. To find a plastic surgeon, visit

Surgery and Recovery Times

  • The procedure takes 1 to 2 hours. Patients will typically go home the same day, however this depends on the amount of fat being removed and whether liposuction is combined with other procedures.
  • Patients generally may return to work and light activity within a few days.
  • Swelling and bruising usually go down in 2 to 4 weeks. Strenuous activity may be restricted during this time.

Risks and Side Effects

All surgery poses certain risks. Your surgeon will discuss the specific risks associated with your procedure and your current state of health. It is normal to experience some discomfort, swelling, bruising or numbness following this procedure, as well as excess fluid draining from the incision.

Although they are rare, more serious complications, including infection, injury to the skin or excessive loss or retention of fluid can also occur. To minimize the chances of complications, it is important to carefully follow your doctor's instructions both before and after the surgery.

Duration of Results

Patients who are committed to eating right and exercising usually get permanent results.

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