Liposuction is often discussed in the media, and as such, many people have a basic idea of what this procedure entails. Liposuction is, after all, fairly straightforward: During this procedure, a very thin tube is inserted below the skin and fat is literally “sucked out.” Still, the very prevalence of lipo in popular culture has led to a number of misconceptions about it. Most people don’t realize that this procedure is not intended to be a form of “weight loss surgery,” for example. If you’re thinking of having liposuction at some point, you should therefore review the following FAQ. It will clarify the details of this procedure, allowing you to develop realistic expectations and prepare for your consultation.
The Top 8 Liposuction Questions and Answers
1. Will I have to go under general anesthesia to have liposuction?
Not necessarily. A new technique called “tumescent liposuction” allows surgeons to administer local anesthesia deeply enough to keep the patient pain-free while liposuction is being performed. As such, not everyone has to “go under” in order to have lipo. However, if you are having a large amount of fat removed or having fat removed from multiple locations, you might require general anesthesia. As always, you should discuss your options with your surgeon in order to determine which course of action is right for you.
2. Will liposuction help me lose weight?
Yes, but it’s not meant to serve as a replacement for diet and exercise. For safety reasons, plastic surgeons can only remove about five to eight pounds of fat at a time—anything more would have the potential to the send the body into shock. Liposuction is therefore usually used by patients who are not heavily overweight. Patients who have already achieved a healthy weight generally turn to this procedure to remove deposits of stubborn fat that have not responded to conventional weight loss methods. It’s not uncommon for a person to reach a normal weight and still have a small “pot belly,” for example. Liposuction can get rid of these distracting fat deposits and create a leaner, more sculpted physique.\
3. Who makes a good candidate for liposuction?
The ideal liposuction candidate will be in good overall health, understand the limitations and capabilities of liposuction, and be within about 25 pounds of his or her ideal weight.
4. How long will the results of liposuction last?
The results of liposuction are permanent. Once fat cells are removed, they cannot grow back. In rare instances, if a patient gains a very large amount of weight (as in, in excess of 30 pounds) after having lipo, he or she may grow new deposits of fat in treated areas. Even if this happens, however, treated areas will still be somewhat slimmer than other areas of the body.
5. Where can I get liposuction?
Liposuction can be performed virtually anywhere on the body because the instrument (called a cannula) that is used during lipo to remove fat is so thin. People usually get liposuction on the abdomen, flanks, hips, thighs, knees, arms, buttocks, face, or neck, but it’s possible to have liposuction on the hands or feet as well.
6. Is liposuction risky?
No, liposuction is a very safe procedure if performed properly. Just be aware that you should avoid any surgeon who claims they can remove more than ten pounds of fat in a single day. As mentioned above, doing this is unsafe. However, as long as you choose a responsible surgeon, this procedure is associated with only minor risks, like bleeding, swelling, bruising, temporary nerve injury, and infection.
As a final note, it’s important to understand that liposuction and tummy tuck surgery are two different things (though they can sometimes be used together). If you have significant abdominal skin laxity as a result of pregnancy or a past history of obesity, then you may need to have a tummy tuck to get the results you desire, not liposuction. When you come in for a consultation with us, we’ll help you determine which procedure is right for you.