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One of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures, liposuction -- technically known as Suction Lipoplasty -- offers patients a means of losing stubborn fat deposits that are seemingly immune to diet and exercise.

Liposuction is also used to contour the body by permanently removing fat deposits that may bulge through clothing.

In some patients, the overall proportions of the body may appear to be unbalanced due to pockets of fat. Or, the abdomen may protrude. In such cases, liposuction may successfully remove excess fat, resulting in a more slender, flatter, and balanced body shape.

According to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASPS,) the number of liposuction procedures performed in the United States was 204,702 in 2011.

Costs of Liposuction:


According to cost data supplied by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the national average surgeon fee for liposuction is $2,884. Surgeon fees within various regions of the United States vary widely depending on whether the practice is in an urban, suburban, or rural area. The national average fee covers the surgeon's fee only and does NOT include charges for the surgical facility, anesthesia, and the anesthesiologist, medical tests, prescriptions, or other miscellaneous costs related to liposuction. The best time to obtain a comprehensive cost figure is during the first consultation appointment with the surgeon. Many patients see two or more surgeons before undergoing surgery. Due to the various costs associated with liposuction, most surgeons offer multiple financing options.


Find a Liposuction Provider

While the information contained in this Web site will provide you with a good introduction to abdominal liposuction, it is not medical advice. When considering liposuction, or any cosmetic surgery procedure, please consult a qualified provider. (To assist your search, use the physician locator.)

"Many liposuction patients

will be able to resume most normal
activities within four to six weeks."

View Liposuction before and after pictures.

When you make a pre-surgical appointment with a doctor, he or she will take a history of your weight, diet, and exercise level. Those factors are important in determining the appropriateness and magnitude of your liposuction.

Patients considering abdominal liposuction should also be prepared to answer the following questions:

  • What has been your maximum weight, including pregnancy?
  • What has been your minimum weight?
  • Is your weight stable at the present time?
  • How successful have you been on various diets?
  • Which diets have you tried (i.e., Atkins, The Zone, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, etc.)?
  • How often do you exercise?
  • What are your eating habits? Do you eat sweets, drink alcohol, and consume other high calorie items?


Benefits of Liposuction:

Aside from the visual pleasure of removing unwanted fat, most liposuction patients find that their clothes fit better after healing. Moreover, a trimmer, firmer body may provide a psychological lift. Some patients find that shedding extra fat results in making physical exercise easier, thus providing more incentive to exercise regularly and enhance one's fitness level.


How is Liposuction Performed?

Before starting the liposuction procedure, the surgeon identifies and marks the specific areas where the fat deposits are to be removed. In most cases, it is not necessary to use general anesthesia. Instead, a sedative -- which allows the patient to remain awake -- is used along with local anesthesia that numbs the treatment area.

To start, the cosmetic surgeon makes small incisions about half the size of a dime.

The surgeon then injects a saline solution containing a local anesthetic and other medications. This solution makes fat deposits easier to break up and remove. The injection of the fluids also helps minimize trauma to the surrounding tissue in the treatment area by helping reduce swelling and post-operative pain. Additionally, the solutions help decrease bleeding.

After that, he or she inserts a thin suction tube -- technically known as a cannula -- into the fatty area, loosens the fat deposits, and sculpts the region into the desired proportions. The resulting fatty tissue is removed at the same time with a powerful vacuum that is attached to the cannula.


Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction (UAL):

This particular liposuction technique represents a somewhat recently developed treatment. UAL uses sound waves to liquefy the fat deposits following the injection of fluids. That results in less bruising and blood loss.


How Much Pain is Associated With Liposuction?

Very little pain is associated with the procedure during or after surgery. Because the liposuction also removes some blood and nerves, patients may notice a slight numbness in the treatment area. But the nerves grow back in a matter of weeks, allowing feeling to return to normal.


What is The Long-Term Effect of Liposuction?


Most of the associated bruising and swelling should subside within the first weeks. To expedite the healing process, liposuction patients may be encouraged to begin light activity as soon as possible.

Patients should be able to return to work within a few days if the job is fairly sedentary. Regardless, liposuction patients should avoid strenuous activities for several weeks while the body naturally heals. Depending on the areas treated, the surgeon may request the patient to wear a compression garment to facilitate healing. Compression garments are easily concealed under regular clothing.

Results achieved from liposuction are often visible within one to three months, while the full effects may not be evident for six months to a year. The more fat removed, the longer it takes to achieve optimal results because the skin has to adapt to a more radical change in shape. It is important to note that liposuction will not alter skin quality or muscle tone. Furthermore, liposuction is not designed as a means of weight control or as a substitute for regular exercise and a balanced diet.

Because the cells that hold and store fat are permanently removed by liposuction, future weight gain will not occur in the treated areas. If you do gain weight, you will gain it somewhere else in the body. Also, since the aging process directly affects the firmness and elasticity of the skin, older patients may not achieve the same results as younger patients.

Liposuction is often done in connection with other cosmetic plastic surgery procedures, such as tummy tuck surgery, face lift, body contouring, breast reduction, thighplasty and other forms of fat injections, a procedure which is also known as fat grafting.


What Are the Risks and Limitations of Liposuction?

Liposuction is subject to the usual problems and complications that accompany any surgery. Following liposuction, some patients may experience dimpling, lumpiness, numbness, scarring, discoloration, or sagging skin in the treated area. Follow-up surgery may be needed to correct these problems. Rare but more serious complications associated with liposuction include blood clots, infection, excessive fluid loss, pulmonary embolism, and drug overdose.

"The national average for surgeon

fees relative to abdominal liposuction is $2,884."

A combination of the following factors is associated with the increased risk of serious complications: 1) removal of large amounts of fatty tissue; 2) multiple procedures being performed simultaneously; and 3) use of general anesthesia. As with any surgical procedure, in an effort to minimize the associated risks, it is important to follow all of the surgeon's instructions pre-operatively, as well as post-operatively.


Ten Questions Every Liposuction Patient Should Ask The Surgeon:

Prior to all liposuction procedures, a consultation will occur between the prospective patient and the providing surgeon. During this consultation, the surgeon and patient will discuss issues such as the desired outcome, various options that are available to achieve that outcome, the procedure itself, as well as all various risks and limitations.

The surgeon will also provide information regarding anesthesia options, the location and description of where the liposuction procedure will be performed (i.e., hospital vs. office surgical suite), and associated costs. A discussion regarding the patient's medical history, as well as a physical examination of the area to be treated, will also take place during the consultation.

In an effort to educate the patient about liposuction, as well as to assist in formulating realistic expectations, it is recommended that the patient view numerous before and after photographs, speak with previous liposuction patients and ask the following questions:

  1. Are the desired results I described realistic?
  2. Where is the liposuction performed and how long will it take?
  3. In my case, what liposuction technique is most appropriate?
  4. What kind of anesthesia will the surgeon use during the surgery?
  5. How much does liposuction cost and what elements factor into that cost (i.e., hospital fee, anesthesia, etc)?
  6. What is the surgeon's level of experience in performing liposuction?
  7. What percentage of patients experience complications with liposuction?
  8. What is the surgeon's policy in regards to correcting or repeating the procedure if the liposuction does not meet agreed upon goals?
  9. What should I expect, post-operatively, in terms of soreness, scaring, activity level, etc?
  10. Have you ever had your malpractice insurance coverage denied, revoked, or suspended?

In addition to the previously mentioned questions, it is imperative that liposuction patients relay to their surgeon information regarding any allergies and serious medical conditions they may have. Furthermore, liposuction patients should inform the surgeon of any medications they are taking.

This site provides information about plastic/cosmetic surgery and is designed to help users make decisions regarding their own treatment options. But medical information is not the same as medical advice--the application of medical treatment to a person's specific circumstances.

Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a qualified medical practitioner if you want professional assurance that our information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.

For more information on the very latest form of liposuction, see: SmartLiposuction

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