Procedures Resource Center Plastic Surgeon Info Contact Us Forum Blog Videos Home


Liposuction Frequently Asked Questions



                                                 Licensed image for


  • What is Liposuction?

Liposuction is a procedure that re-contours the body by removing excess localized fat from specific areas such as:


Liposuction is also called suction assisted lipectomy, lipoplasty or lipostructure. It is used for removing fat depositions that do not respond to diet and exercise in persons with elastic skin who are at or near their ideal weight.





  • Is Liposuction a good way to lose weight?

Liposuction is not intended for weight loss. Patients who are very overweight or who have large areas of fat deposits are not good candidates. Your physician will let the patient know if they need to lose weight first and reduce the fatty area that are contributing to their body shape. If weight loss is problematic for the patient and they cannot do this by themselves, then your physician might recommend gastric bypass.  All people are born with a certain body shape that has been predetermined by hereditary and genetics. Liposuction is ideal for people that have certain body shapes that are resistant to weight loss.  

Make sure you read our section on who is a good candidate for liposuction.




  • How permanent is Liposuction?

Liposuction results are normally permanent - however, it is very important that a patient continue with good eating habits and exercise after the procedure. If a patient should gain weight after the procedure, the fat cells are re-distributed to other parts of the body.




  • Can the fat come back after Liposuction?

The only way that fat can come back is if the patient should gain weight. With liposuction, the treated area has a permanent decreased capacity for additional fat - because so many of the fat cells were removed. If a patient gains weight after the procedure, even the liposuction area is vulnerable to some weight gain.




  • Does Liposuction take care of Cellulite?

Cellulite is nothing more than fat - which is located just under the skin. This type of "fat" has the capability of making an indentation or a dimple effect in the tissue.  Liposuction will remove some of this "fat", however; it is impossible to eliminate entirely. Continuing with good eating habits and exercise is the best way to counteract cellulite.

Cellulite is caused from:

  • weight gain

  • age

  • hormones

  • connective tissue

  • skin elasticity

  • pregnancy

  • genetics

Cellulite and these irregularities in the skin can sometimes become more noticeable after liposuction.

More information about Liposuction and Cellulite




  • What liposuction techniques are available?

Most common used liposuction techniques:




  • What type of Liposuction is the best?

All the liposuctions techniques that are offered have advantages and disadvantages. It is very important to ask your plastic surgeon what method will be right for you. The use of specific liposuction equipment used alone or in combination with other liposuction devices are all individualized upon the patient's needs. 

Whether a certain type of liposuction is right for a patient depends on many factors:

  • Quality of the skin

  • Age of the skin

  • Excess of skin

  • Elasticity of skin

One of the major factors in liposuction is the ability of the patient's skin to shrink back to place after the fat has been removed - also known as elasticity. The human body is great at growing new skin to accommodate a new gain in weight, however; it is not every good at reabsorbing that skin when we lose the weight.

A patient who is younger in age will have skin that has much greater resistance and elastic recoil as well as having a much greater ability to conform to the new contour that is made with liposuction. A patient who is older in age will have skin or tissue that has lost a large degree of its elasticity. 




A cannula is a blunt tipped narrow tube that is used during liposuction. It is inserted into small incisions in the skin and then manipulated to disrupt the fat cells prior to their removal.



                                               Licensed image for

                                                    Image of Liposuction Cannulas




Tiny scars ranging in size from 0.25 - 0.5 inches in length at the site of the incision is normal. Your surgeon will normally pick areas of the body that can conceal the incisions, such as skin folds, etc.





After liposuction, swelling is to be expected. A compression garment will helps to reduce swelling and helps to re-contour the body's tissue. During the first week post operative from liposuction, some patients see that their size is the same or larger. This is due to all the tumescent solution that was pumped into the body to help remove the fat cells. This swelling will dissipate - and by the second week, you can start to see the results of the surgery. Improvement with liposuction continues until about six months post operative, when finally all the swelling is gone. 

Read our section on Compression Garments





  • Is skin tightening possible with Liposuction?

Liposuction removes fat with some of its weight, which can cause the skin to pull downwards.  Liposuction technically will tighten skin a little bit, but as a general rule, liposuction does not accomplish much skin tightening on its own. If a patient already has loose skin or lack of elasticity then liposuction might not be their best option. 

Some of the newer laser techniques with liposuction, such as SmartLipo - can help with some skin tightening. The newer SmartLipo MPX is a new generation device that has two lasers in one and supposedly is many times more powerful, faster and provides much better skin tightening.





  • What are the most common side effects with Liposuction?

Liposuction is associated with certain common side effects such as:

Swelling can last for a few weeks into possibly months. Bruising is normally healed by the one month period. The small scars begin to fade almost immediately after the procedure. The Tumescent technique minimizes side effects or complications because of the use of smaller micro-cannulas.





  • How long does liposuction take to perform?

The length of the procedure will depend upon the size and number of treatment areas, but traditional liposuction generally takes one to two hours to complete. SmartLipo takes the longest due to the small size of the cannula that the surgeon uses.





  • What is the recovery like with Liposuction

Recovery from liposuction depends on the individual's own pain threshold. The patient will still be full of tumescent solution after they go home. This solution keeps the patient comfortable for hours after the  procedure because of the lidocaine. The surgeon will prescribe a narcotic pain reliever along with an antibiotic and possibly anti-enemic (for nausea).

It is recommended that the patient should get up and walk around as soon as they can to make sure a blood clot will not form. Patients cannot drive or operate any machinery for the first few days following surgery. More than likely you will be sent home wearing a compression garment, it is really important that you wear this as instructed by your surgeon. Read our section on what to expect the day of surgery and also the first 24 hours following your procedure. 

If the patient has had large volume liposuction, then more than likely you will be sent home with drains

First Week:  a compression garment is worn full time to help limit swelling and speed resolving of the swelling - which always occurs as the tissue responds to liposuction. The patient will feel stiff during this time and vigorous activities should not be done. Normally driving is okay after the patient is done with their pain medication.

Around the first week of recovery - some patients are able to start light exercise.

Patients who have had large volume liposuction will feel more fatigued and this will continue for a few weeks.  Swelling will continue to decrease on a daily basis. Any sports or exercise that is strenuous should not be participated in during the first three weeks. Swelling will continue to decrease and the contour improvements will continue for three to six months.  Improvements will continue in the calves and ankles area - taking anywhere from six to nine months. 

Read Liposuction Recovery





Other Liposuction Links: