What is liposuction?

Liposuction is a procedure that
removes excess fat through a suctioning process. Although it’s not a substitute for
weight loss, it can change the body’s shape and contour.

Liposuction can be used to remove
excess fat that doesn’t respond to exercise and dieting, including fat around the
thighs, stomach, upper arms, buttocks, or the waistline.

What are some different liposuction techniques?

Some of the different liposuction techniques include the following:

  • Tumescent technique. The tumescent technique involves
    the injection of a large quantity of a medical solution into a fatty area. The
    medical solution is a combination of medicines that numb the area, as well as
    shrink the capillaries and prevent blood loss. Afterward, a tube connected to a
    vacuum is inserted into the fat to be treated. The fat is then suctioned out.

  • Ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty. In the
    ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty, a special tube that produces ultrasound energy is
    used. This ultrasound energy breaks down the walls of the fat cells turning them
    to liquid. The fat is then suctioned out.

  • Laser-assisted lipoplasty. Lasers help with
    liposuction by heating fat to make removal more efficient. It causes less bruising
    and faster healing. 

  • Power-assisted liposuction. A tool on the end of the
    suction device helps to cut through the fat, making it easier to remove.

Possible complications linked to
liposuction techniques

Possible complications of
liposuction may include:

  • Injury to the skin or deeper tissues

  • Irregular skin surface. Changes in the skin surface
    can occur after liposuction, giving it an uneven or baggy look. There can also be
    changes in the skin color; and areas that may become numb or persistently

  • Greater risks if large areas are treated. The risk for
    infection, the formation of blood clots or fat clots, excessive fluid loss, and
    damage to the skin, nerves, or vital organs is greater when large areas are

  • Lidocaine toxicity or fluid in the lungs. If the
    lidocaine content is too high, it may cause lidocaine toxicity. If too much fluid
    is injected, it may cause fluid buildup in the lungs.

Who are candidates for liposuction?

Generally, people of normal weight who have localized areas of protruding fat achieve
the best results, however, people who are slightly overweight can also benefit from
liposuction. The best candidates for liposuction include the following:

  • Normal-weight (or slightly-overweight) people

  • People with firm, elastic skin

  • People who have pockets of excess fat in certain areas

  • Physically healthy and psychologically stable people

  • People with realistic expectations

Age is not a major factor, although older persons with diminished skin elasticity
may not have the same results as persons with tighter skin.

About the procedure

Although each procedure varies, generally, liposuction surgeries follow this process:

Where the procedure may be done

  • Surgeon’s office-based surgical facility

  • Outpatient surgery center

  • Hospital outpatient

  • Hospital inpatient

Anesthesia options may include:

  • General anesthesia

  • Local anesthesia, combined with intravenous sedation (allows the patient to remain
    awake but relaxed)