How is Liposuction Performed?

Liposuction is a surgical procedure performed to remove excess fat from specific body areas. This is also known as lipo, lipoplasty, liposculpture, or lipectomy. The main goal of this operation is to reduce the appearance of fatty bulges or deposits.

Liposuction helps patients achieve their ideal body shape. And the procedure has become popular. Among 15.6 million cosmetic procedures performed in the United States in 2020, 211,067 were liposuction.

So, what exactly happens during liposuction surgery? How does the surgeon perform the procedure? What are the risks involved?

Here are how it is performed and answers to your most nagging questions.

Steps of Liposuction

Liposuction is a safe and effective way to reduce localized fat deposits. 

Before undergoing any surgery, patients should take some steps. This is to prepare their bodies for the procedure.

Preoperative Preparation

These preparations may vary depending on the surgeon operating but they generally involve stopping certain medications and following a strict diet plan. These medications include aspirin, ibuprofen, and anti-inflammatory drugs as these can increase bleeding.

Patients should also refrain from drinking alcohol for at least 24 hours before their surgery. And those who have had previous surgeries involving the same area should not undergo liposuction. They should wait until at least six months have passed since the last procedure.


During the surgical procedure, you will receive medication for comfort. Local anesthetic, intravenous sedation, and general anesthesia are the options. The option that is ideal for you will be advised by your doctor.


During liposuction, small, undetectable incisions are made. A diluted local anesthetic is first administered to stop bleeding. It also lessens the trauma. This fluid helps the fat cells in the treatment area to swell.

The extra fat is then loosened with a narrow hollow tube, or cannula, using a controlled back-and-forth motion. The surgeon then uses the cannula to suck the loose fat cells out of the body.

Smaller amounts of suction may be necessary depending on the patient’s body type and desired results. Once the targeted amount of fat has been removed, the cannulas are withdrawn, and the incision(s) is closed using suture material. A compression bandage may be placed over the surgical area.

Postoperative Care

After liposuction, patients may experience mild bruising and swelling. These side effects generally go away after a few days. Most patients resume regular activity within two weeks, although some individuals may need six weeks to recover fully.

Patients should rest for at least two weeks following surgery. Avoid strenuous activity until you have recovered completely and been cleared by your plastic surgeon.

Once the swelling and fluid retention go away, your enhanced body contour will be visible.


Do You Feel Pain After Liposuction?

Liposuction should be pain-free as long as anesthetic medications are used. You can trust this procedure to be safe and pain-free when you choose an accredited surgical facility and a board-certified plastic surgeon.

Some people start to develop discomfort right after the treatment (as the anesthesia wears off), while others experience pain after several days. Your doctor may offer you prescription medication to reduce pain; however, other patients choose over-the-counter medications like TYLENOL®.

How Much Is Liposuction?

The cost varies. For instance, liposuction cost in North Carolina depends on the method and your specific situation, including how much fat is removed and whether liposuction is being combined with any other surgical technique.

What Are the Risks of Liposuction?

This procedure has many benefits, but it’s not without some risks. While still rare, infection is one of the most common complications of liposuction.

Other potential problems include bleeding and injury to nerves or blood vessels. The area treated with liposuction must be closed during surgery, which takes time. Pain and swelling are both common after the procedure.

In rare cases, scarring may make it harder to heal correctly. Trained surgeons should only do this procedure as they are experienced.

Who Can Have Liposuction?

While this procedure removes fat cells, it should not be considered a weight-loss procedure. In fact, while patients will notice a definite change in the look of their bodies, the change on the scale will be minimal (within a couple of pounds). This is a body contouring procedure, not an alternative to a healthy diet and exercise. The best results are seen with patients who are close to their ideal weight and have skin with good elasticity.

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