Liposuction: Risks, Types, Recovery


Liposuction, also referred to lipoplasty, is a cosmetic surgery to slim and reshape areas of the body by removing excess fat and improving body contours and proportion. But it is not a treatment for obesity or cannot substitute for proper diet and exercise.

Liposuction can be performed in body areas like thighs, hips, abdomen and waist, upper arms, chest area, cheeks, chin and neck, as well as calves and ankles. It can be carried out alone or along with other plastic surgery procedures, such as a facelift, breast reduction or a tummy tuck.


A good candidate for liposuction include:

  • Adults within 30% of their ideal weight who have firm, elastic skin and good muscle tone
  • Physically healthy and have no other medical illnesses that impair the healing
  • Nonsmokers
  • Bothered by excess fat deposits located anywhere on the body
  • Have positive and realistic expectations toward the surgery
  • Committed to living a healthy life with proper nutrion and fitness


For people who are a little overweight and have tried diet and exercise but they don’t work, liposuction is a good choice. Other advantages of this procedure are:

  • It is safe, quick and affordable
  • There is minimal down time
  • The fat is permanently removed and will not come back

You should be in overall good health and avoid smoking to take the surgery.


Although liposuction has many benefits, you should not neglect its possible risks. These risks include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Reactions to anesthesia
  • Shock
  • Fluid accumulation (pockets of fluid forming under the skin)
  • Fat embolism (when tiny pieces of fat break away and block blood flow)
  • Burns from instruments
  • Uneven fat removal
  • Reactions to lidocaine
  • Change in skin sensation or numbness
  • Damage to nerves, blood vessels, muscles, lungs, and abdominal organs

Fortunately, some of these risks can be minimized by avoiding extremely long procedures or excessive removal of fat.


You should understand the different types of liposuction to help with your decision. Although the basics of liposuction remain the same, there are a couple of different techniques that can be used during liposuction. These include:

  • Tumescent liposuction.

During this common technique, the surgeon will inject a solution 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 helps the surgeon remove the fat more easily. It also helps reduce blood loss and provides pain relief during and after surgery.

  • Ultrasound-assisted liposuction.

During ultrasound-assisted liposuction, ultrasonic energy is used to rupture the cell walls to liquefy the fat. Then, the surgeon will remove the fat from the body.

  • Laser-assisted liposuction, or SmartLipo.

This technique uses a laser to produce a burst of energy to liquefy the fat.


Several factors can affect the cost of liposuction, including the number of body areas to be treated, the type of procedure chosen, experience of the surgeon and the location of the office you choose to do the surgery. Generally speaking, the cost of liposuction can range from $2500 to over $5000. The cost mainly consists of the surgeon’s fee and the anesthesia fee.


In preparing for liposuction surgery, your surgeon will ask you to:

You should also arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you for at least the first night following surgery.

Surgical steps

Usually, there are 4 steps in a liposuction surgery. They are:

  • Marking the areas of your body where the surgeon will remove unwanted fat
  • General or local anesthesia
  • Wetting solutions to minimize blood loss and increase the safety of liposuction
  • Fat removal

The time of this surgery varies, depending on the size of the area being treated. It can span from 30 minutes to five hours. Results can be noticeable after a week with laser- or ultrasound-assisted liposuction, while traditional liposuction can take two to four weeks.


The length and comfort level of your recovery from liposuction will depend on several factors, involving the number of treatment areas and their size, your general health, and whether your liposuction was performed on its own or in combination with other procedures. Be sure to follow all of your surgeon’s instructions to ensure a smooth liposuction recovery.

If your experience swelling after the surgery, do not worry since it is common. The swelling may take several months to fully dissipate. As it does, your new contours and enhanced self-image should continue to develop.

Keyword: liposuction.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.