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Liposuction: The Basics

Liposuction: The Basics

What is Liposuction?

Liposuction is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that removes excess fat and contours the body. The most common areas to have liposuction performed are the abdomen, hips, thighs, butt, arms, or neck. Your plastic surgeon inserts a thin tube called a cannula through tiny incisions and sucks out the fat.

The procedure can take from one to four hours based on the area(s) being treated, and most patients see results after one procedure. Liposuction is commonly combined with other cosmetic procedures like a tummy tuck or breast lift, often as part of a mommy makeover. With most types of liposuction, the fat that’s removed can be used for fat grafting and placed back into other areas such as buttocks, hips, face, etc.

Who is a Good Candidate for Liposuction?

Healthy nonsmokers with a body mass index of 30 or below are typically good candidates for liposuction. But liposuction is not a great weight-loss solution or cellulite treatment. Good skin tone and elasticity are essential to a good outcome, since the skin needs to snap back into the body’s new contours once the fat is removed. Those who have had extreme weight loss, children or aging skin may not have great results with liposuction without a procedure to fix the sagging skin.


After the procedure there will be swelling, bruising, and inflammation as well as some numbness and nerve pain. The area might feel firm from the swelling. All of this should be healed within four to six weeks. Some people see lumpy areas after the swelling goes down. A compression garment will help with the swelling and overall healing but your surgeon will give follow up directions.

Typically, you can resume work in a few days depending on the medications prescribed and pain level. The complete healing process will take a few months.


Results may be immediate but it’s sometimes hard to tell beyond the swelling. The swelling should go down within six weeks and continue to go down over the next six months. If you think you’ll need another liposuction procedure to get the result you want, wait at least six months for the swelling to subside, then evaluate with your surgeon. Results and healing could take up to a year to see the full effects of. You can decide with your surgeon if your results are what you want or if there needs to be a revision or additional procedure.

If you maintain your post-liposuction weight, results should last for years. Gaining weight will increase the size of the remaining fat cells, making results less effective. Gaining significant amounts of weight can allow new fat cells to develop, though the area will still look better than if you never had liposuction.

You will need to get back into an exercise routine as soon as you heal to maintain your results. A liposuction patient should try to have a healthier lifestyle after the procedure to get the most out of the results.


If you have any questions about liposuction being for you, schedule a consultation with our board-certified plastic surgeon. He can give you a realistic idea of what results to expect and the cost associated with the procedure. You can see results of the procedure on our website or our Instagram!