Liposuction 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 micro-liposuction for aging skin

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.

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

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:

  • Abdomen
  • Hips
  • Outer thighs
  • Inner thighs
  • Back
  • Flanks
  • Buttocks
  • Neck
  • Upper arms
excess fat

Possible risks

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

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

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.

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.

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

Before (left) and three months after (right) neck liposuction with laser assisted lipolysis.
Photo courtesy of Daniel P. Friedmann, MD - Austin, Texas