Liposuction is a plastic surgery procedure that removes extra fat from the body. It’s also called lipo, lipoplasty, or body contouring. It’s considered a popular cosmetic surgery option.
People get liposuction to improve the shape or contours of their body. They want to remove excess fat from areas such as the thighs, hips, buttocks, abdomen, arms, neck, or back. Usually, they’ve tried diet and exercise and can’t get rid of these fat deposits.
Liposuction isn’t a weight loss treatment. It has serious risks and possible complications, so it’s important to talk to your doctor before considering it.
What to expect with liposuction
Liposuction requires going under anesthesia for the procedure. This means you won’t feel any pain during the liposuction surgery. However, you’ll feel pain after the procedure. Recovery can also be painful.
Depending on what parts of the body require liposuction, you may have a shorter or longer hospital stay. Some procedures can be done in an outpatient center. It’s common to have pain, swelling, bruising, soreness, and numbness after liposuction.
To minimize pain before the procedure, you can:
- talk to your doctor about pain concerns
- discuss the type of anesthesia that will be used
- ask about any medications you can take before the procedure
To minimize pain after the procedure:
- take all prescribed medications, including pain pills
- wear the recommended compression garments
- keep the drains after surgery in place based on your doctor’s recommendations
- rest and try to relax
- drink fluids
- avoid salt, which can increase swelling (edema)
Deciding if liposuction is right for you
Some people are good candidates for liposuction, and others should avoid it. Talk to your doctor to determine if liposuction is the right option for you. Discuss your concerns with them.
You should avoid liposuction if you:
- have chronic health problems
- have a weak immune system
- are overweight
- have saggy skin
- have a history of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or seizures
- take medications that can increase the risk of bleeding, such as blood thinners
What are the risks of liposuction?
Liposuction is a serious surgery with multiple risks. It’s important to discuss all the risks of liposuction with your doctor before having the procedure.
Risks during surgery
The risks during surgery include:
- puncture wounds or injuries to other organs
- anesthesia complications
- burns from equipment, such as ultrasound probes
- nerve damage
Risks immediately after the procedure
The risks after the procedure include:
- blood clot in the lungs
- too much fluid in the lungs
- fat clots
- hematoma (bleeding under the skin)
- seroma (fluid leaking under the skin)
- edema (swelling)
- skin necrosis (the death of skin cells)
- reactions to anesthesia and other medications
- heart and kidney problems
What are the long-term side effects of liposuction?
The long-term side effects of liposuction can vary. Liposuction permanently removes fat cells from the targeted areas of the body. So, if you gain weight, the fat will still be stored in different parts of the body. The new fat can appear deeper under the skin, and it can be dangerous if it grows around the liver or heart.
Some people experience permanent nerve damage and changes to skin sensation. Others may develop depressions or indentations in the areas that were suctioned, or may have bumpy or wavy skin that doesn’t go away.
Liposuction is the second most popular cosmetic surgery treatment, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
It’s a major procedure that removes unwanted fat in certain areas of your body. Your doctor performs this surgery by sculpting and contouring the areas of your body to permanently remove fat cells.