The health library is currently experiencing some technical difficulties. We are working to resolve the issues now and apologize for the inconvenience.
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 methods?
Some of the different liposuction methods include the following:
Tumescent method. The tumescent method 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 blood vessels to 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 makes 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, deeper tissues, or structures beneath the skin
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 painful.
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 treated.
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, and not a large amount of excess 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 people with diminished skin elasticity may not have the same results as people with tighter skin.
About the procedure
Although each procedure varies, generally, liposuction surgeries follow this process:
Where the procedure may be done
Anesthesia choices may include: