The Ultimate Guide To Liposuction (Types, Benefits, Risks & Much More)

What Is Liposuction?

Liposuction is a cosmetic procedure that uses a surgical technique to remove fat that you can’t get rid of through exercise and diet.

A dermatologic or plastic surgeon generally performs this procedure on your abdomen, thighs, hips, arms, neck, buttocks, and under the chin or face to enhance their shape. However, liposuction can also be performed along with other plastic surgeries such as tummy tucks, breast reductions, or facelifts.

Other names for liposuction:

  • Lipoplasty
  • Body contouring

Are You A Good Candidate For Liposuction?

You will need to have reasonable expectations. If you hope liposuction will help you get rid of cellulite, you are mistaken. Liposuction, being a surgical procedure, comes with certain risks. So, you need to be in robust health before you get it. You need to at least:

  • Not smoke
  • Be within 30 percent of your ideal weight
  • Have firm, elastic skin

Doctors usually don’t recommend liposuction if you have health issues with blood flow or have diabetes, heart disease, or an impaired immune system. 

What Should You Know Beforehand?

The initial step is to have a consultation with a surgeon. Tell about your objectives, the available alternatives, benefits, risks, and the costs associated with it. Make sure to ask all your queries. 

After discussion, consider all the facts and decide if you want to go ahead with liposuction. Your surgeon will provide you with good advice on how you should prepare for it. It may include diet and alcohol restrictions. 

If you have any allergies or are on some medication (including over-the-counter and herbal supplements) currently, inform your surgeon. They will probably advise you not to take certain medications such as certain painkillers or blood thinners several weeks before surgery.

What Should You Expect?

Your liposuction procedure will take place at a surgery center or at a doctor’s clinic. Check whether the place you have chosen to get it done is licensed and is well known for its safety, professional standards, and good results. 

  • You can get back home on the same day as the procedure. Make sure you have a family member or friend that can drop you home afterward. If you are having a lot of fat eradicated, you may require to get the surgery done in a hospital, where you may be advised to stay overnight.
  • Before starting the procedure, your surgeon will first mark the areas of your body that will be treated. They may also click pictures of those areas to use later for comparisons. 
  • After this, you will be given anesthesia, which implies you will not be in your senses during the procedure. The surgeon may also opt to give you local anesthesia, which will keep you awake during the procedure, but you will not feel any pain. 

What Are The Types Of Liposuction?

There are just a couple of liposuction techniques. One thing that remains the same for each of the types is the use of a thin tube called a cannula, which is connected to a vacuum. This tube helps suction the fat from your body.

Tumescent Liposuction (fluid injection)

  • It is one of the most common types of liposuction.
  • It involves using a significant amount of medicated solution into the areas before the fat is suctioned out. 
  • The fluid is a blend of local anesthetic (lidocaine), a drug that shrinks the blood vessels (epinephrine), and an intravenous (IV) salt solution.
  • Lidocaine helps anesthetize the area during and after surgery. It might be the only anesthesia required for the procedure.
  • Epinephrine in the solution helps minimize loss of blood, swelling and bruising. 
  • The IV solution makes eradicating fat from the body a whole lot simpler.
  • Tumescent liposuction takes longer than all other liposuction types.

Super-wet Technique

  • This is quite similar to the t=Tumescent liposuction.
  • The difference lies in the amount of solution used in the procedure. Super-wet technique uses comparatively less fluid, equivalent to the amount of fat to be suctioned.
  • It takes less time. However, it usually requires general anesthesia (medicine that allows you to be asleep and pain-free) or sedation (medicine that makes you drowsy).

Ultrasound-assisted Liposuction (UAL)

  • It uses ultrasonic vibrations to convert fat cells into liquid. Later on, the cells can be vacuumed out.
  • It can be done in two ways: internal (below the surface of the skin with a small, heated cannula) or external (above the surface of the skin with a special emitter).
  • This technique can help eradicate fat from dense, fibrous areas of the body, including the upper back or enlarged male breast tissue.
  • UAL is generally used with the Tumescent technique, in follow-up procedures, or for higher precision. 
  • UAL procedure usually takes longer than the super-wet liposuction technique.

Laser-assisted Liposuction (LAL) or SmartLipo

It makes use of laser energy to liquefy fat cells. After the fat cells get liquefied, they can be vacuumed out or are allowed to drain through tiny tubes. 

  • The cannula used in this procedure is smaller than the ones used in conventional procedures. That’s the reason why surgeons prefer using LAL to remove fat from confined areas, including the jowls, chin, and face. 
  • One major advantage the LAL technique has over other methods is that energy from the laser stimulates collagen production. It may help lower the skin sag after liposuction. Collagen is the fiber-like protein that helps retain skin structure.

Also Read: What Is Microneedling? Cost, Results, Benefits, and Much More

How Long Does It Take To Recover?

You may or may not require to stay in the hospital depending upon the type of liposuction you had. But you may expect to have swelling, bruising, or soreness at least for a couple of weeks after the procedure.

Your surgeon may recommend you to wear a compression garment for 1 – 2 months after the surgery to control swelling. The doctor may also prescribe certain antibiotics to reduce the risk of infections. Most people can get back to work within just a few days and return to normal activities within two weeks. But, it depends on the patient’s general health also. 

Ask your surgeon the following questions about your recovery:

  • Will I wear Bandages?
  • What medications will I need to take?
  • Will I have any stitches? If yes, when will they be removed?
  • Do I require to come back for a follow-up visit?
  • When can I start exercising again?

Are There Any Risks?

Liposuction is a cosmetic surgery that carries some risks. You can reduce the odds of risks by making sure that you are getting it done only from a specially-trained, board-certified cosmetic surgeon. Some of the possible risks are listed below:

  • Complications from anesthesia
  • Bleeding
  • Fluid accumulation (pockets of fluid forming under the skin)
  • Shock (usually from not getting enough fluid during surgery)
  • Fat embolism (when tiny pieces of fat break away and block blood flow)
  • Infections (strep, staph)
  • Uneven fat removal
  • Burns from instruments
  • Reactions to lidocaine
  • Damage to nerves, blood vessels, muscles, lungs, and abdominal organs
  • Reactions to lidocaine

Another risk is the formation of a blood clot in your deep veins. Blood clots can be very dangerous if they traverse other body parts such as the lungs. 

Are The Liposuction Results Permanent?

The fat cells are eradicated permanently during liposuction. However, you may gain the weight back with new fat cells, which generally go to different areas of your body. To maintain your new shape after surgery, pursue a diet that incorporates lots of lean protein, low-fat dairy, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables. Also, make sure you exercise regularly.

Will Your Health Insurance Cover Liposuction?

As liposuction is cosmetic surgery, most health insurance does not provide coverage for them. Talk to your surgeon and the insurance company regarding the costs and payment alternatives, as well as who will pay in case of complications from the surgery. 

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Janet Fudge

Janet Fudge writes on general health topics for She holds a post-graduate diploma in Public Health with a major in epidemiology. During the outbreak of COVID-19, Janet actively volunteered in vaccination drives throughout the state of Iowa. She lives in Iowa with her husband and two children.