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Liposuction

Liposuction Facts

Patient Comments
  • Liposuction is a surgical procedure that removes excess fat from areas of the body via small, hollow instruments called cannulas.
  • These instruments are inserted into tiny cuts (incisions) generally no bigger than one-quarter inch in diameter, where the fat will be removed. A medical-grade vacuum suctions tiny, broken up globules of fat into a canister. In tumescent liposuction, local anesthetic and other medications are injected into the fatty layer before suctioning excess fat.
  • Additionally, laser-assisted liposuction is available. While there are many forms of lasers, most combine one or two types of lasers that melt the fat before the tumescent portion of the liposuction. "Smart Lipo" was the first laser-assisted liposuction, but there are many others now available. Invariably, these are used alongside other methods, such as tumescent liposuction.
  • Methods of laser-assisted liposuction are named by the laser used in conjunction with the liposuction, such as Smart Lipo, Vaser, Laser Lipolysis, and other newer forms.
  • Laser-assisted liposuction is not the same as LipoDissolve, or mesotherapy, which are non-FDA approved procedures that consist of materials injected into the areas of the fat with the hope that these areas will dissolve. Any laser used in addition to liposuction should be FDA-approved for just that task.

Liposuction Preparation

There is an initial consultation before the procedure, at which time the surgeon will evaluate the areas to be suctioned. These may be the chin, abdomen, chest (both male and female), hips, thighs (both inner and outer), knees, calves, and arms. Initial photographs are taken, and results of the surgeon's prior work or illustrative examples of the procedure may be shown to the patient. Additionally, many offices can show prospective patients their own pictures on a computer and manipulating the picture (or drawing on the computerized picture) to illustrate the expected results.

During this consultation, information on the procedure is given, and the risks are explained. Questions the prospective patient has are answered. If the patient is deemed a good candidate for tumescent liposuction, they then will be scheduled for a pre-liposuction evaluation. Laser-assisted liposuction may be recommended to accompany the tumescent method as well.

The patient who undergoes this procedure is typically evaluated at least one to two weeks before the procedure and, at that time, blood tests, medical history and physical, measurements, and photographs are taken. Depending on results of the history and physical examination, the patient may need further evaluation, medical clearance from a primary physician, EKG, and/or other tests performed before the procedure.

At the time of the preoperative evaluation, an informed consent is given if it is close to the time of the procedure. This may include a written and, in some practices, a computer-generated, informed consent form with examples of potential complications and expectations of the surgery.

Before surgery, the patient is advised of which, if any, medications they will be taking before, during, and after the surgery. Additionally, if there are any medications that need to be stopped before surgery, this is communicated as well. Certain pain relievers, such as aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (such as ibuprofen [Advil] or naproxen [Aleve]) are to be avoided for at least seven days before the surgery. Some surgeons may advise the patient to stop other medications, such as thyroid medications, antidepressants, and various antibiotics in preparation for the surgery.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/1/2016
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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Liposuction:

Liposuction -- Patient Experience

Tell us about your liposuction procedure. Was the recovery difficult? Were you happy with your results?




Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Liposuction, Techniques: External Ultrasound-Assisted »

External ultrasound-assistedliposuction (XUAL) is a new technique that requires traditionalaspirative liposuction after the application of high-frequencyultrasonic fields delivered through the skin into wetted tissue.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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