• 2016-4-960

    What is a dermatologic surgeon?

    Part of a progressive medical subspecialty, ASDS member dermatologists perform medically necessary and cosmetic procedures to improve the health, function and beauty of skin through every stage of life.

  • 2016-3-960

    From forehead furrows to frown lines…

    Performing more than 5 million cosmetic procedures each year, ASDS member dermatologists offer many treatments that are less intense, safer and have quicker recovery times than ever before.

  • 2016-2-960

    3 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every year

    Any suspicious new growths or changes should be examined by a dermatologist immediately. ASDS member dermatologists are trained to select the best treatment choice based on the individual patient.

  • 2016-1-960

    From excess fat to wrinkles…

    Offering a range of office-based cosmetic procedures, ASDS member dermatologists can select the appropriate treatment choice to meet your individual goals.

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In This Section

Liposuction for Excess Fat


Treatment Options


Learn more about treatment options for excess fat    


In liposuction, a surgeon uses a hollow tube known as a cannula to remove pockets of excess fat from various parts of the body. The cannula is inserted through small incisions made in the skin.

  • Occasionally fat is loosened with water or liquefied by laser to facilitate removal.
  • The procedure is invasive and is performed under local tumescent anesthesia.
  • Some patients may be given a sedative.
  • Blood pressure, heart rate and blood oxygen levels are monitored.
After fat is removed, the incisions are usually left open and covered with bandages.

Why choose liposuction for excess fat

Liposuction is a surgery that permanently removes fat. It is not a good alternative to dieting. Ideal liposuction candidates are older than 18, in good general health and already undergoing a healthy diet and exercise regimen. Liposuction primarily is performed on the:
  • liposuction to flanks and waistlines along with fat transfer to buttocks_BandA
    Before (top) and one month after (bottom) liposuction to flanks and waistline, along with fat transfer to buttocks.

    Photo courtesy of Melanie Palm, MD -Solana Beach, California
    Before (top) and one year after (bottom) liposuction on the arms.

    Photo courtesy of Melanie Palm, MD - Solana Beach, California. 
     Lipo Chest and Back_BandA 
     Before (left) and one year after (right) liposuction to the chest and back.

    Photo courtesy of Melanie Palm, MD - Solana Beach, California
    • Abdomen
    • Hips
    • Outer thighs
    • Inner thighs
    • Back
    • Flanks
    • Buttocks
    • Neck
    • Upper arms

    Possible risks

    Like any surgery, liposuction carries certain risks beyond temporary and minor side effects. Though rare, serious complications can occur. these include:

    Possible risks

    Liposuction for Excess FatPossible risks

    • Allergic reaction
    • Infection
    • Skin damage
    • Tissue damage
    • Skin necrosis
    • Puncture of an internal organ
    • Contour irregularities
    • Blood clots
    • Toxic reaction
    • Fluid imbalance

    Estimated cost

    The average cost for liposuction is between $2,700 and $5,175, though costs can vary widely depending on number of areas treated, patient condition and procedure. Since most medical insurance companies consider liposuction a cosmetic procedure, it usually is not covered.
    Lipouction LEFT arm_BandA
    Before (top) and one year after (bottom) liposuction to the left arm.

    Photo courtesy of Melanie Palm, MD - Solana Beach, California. 
    liposuction with 10641320 nm laser assisted lipolysis_BandA
    Before (left) and three months after (right) neck liposuction with laser assisted lipolysis.

    Photo courtesy of Daniel P. Friedmann, MD - Austin, Texas

    How to prepare for the procedure

    Before the procedure, an ASDS dermatologist will review the patient's medical history. This is the time for the doctor and patient to discuss expectations, potential risks and outcomes of the procedure. In addition:
    • No blood-thinning drugs should be taken for at least one week prior to surgery.
    • Smoking must be avoided for at least two months prior to surgery.

    What to expect after the procedure

    Following the procedure, the treated area is bandaged and a compression garment placed over it. The compression garment is worn for one to two weeks. Post-surgical issues can include:
    • Pain, which may last as long as two weeks and is usually managed by a prescription or over-the-counter medicine.
    • Bruising lasting up to two weeks.
    • Swelling lasting up to two weeks.
    • Numbness lasting several weeks.
    • Possible drainage in the treatment area, depending on the surgical technique.
    Most patients can go home the same day as the surgery, though they will need to have someone else to drive them home. Post-operative mobility may be limited. Patients can resume normal activity for several days to several weeks following surgery, depending on the procedure. Final results will be apparent one to six months.

    Find a doctor for your liposuction procedure

    Visit "Find a dermatologic surgeon" and choose "Liposuction" from the dropdown menu. In 2013, ASDS dermatologists performed 24,000 liposuction procedures, up from 20,600 in 2012. Because ASDS dermatologists are trained in a variety of the best and latest techniques, they are the most qualified to evaluate and select the best treatment choice based on the individual patient's condition.


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