The Real Skinny on Liposuction Body Contouring

women at the gym doing cardio exercises

So, you’ve used the term loosely in a conversation, but have never really known for sure what liposuction actually is. You may have read that nearly 404,000 liposuctions were performed in the U.S. in 2007 so it has to do some good…right?1  Maybe you’re overweight and have been toying with the idea of surgery for weight loss and would like to do some ground work before you walk into the plastic surgeon’s office requesting a liposuction. In that light, here’s all you need to know about liposuction.

For starters, liposuction is not weight loss surgery. It’s a cosmetic procedure that’s meant for people interested in shaping the contours of their bodies, getting rid of fat deposits from particularly stubborn areas, and basically looking firm and proportionate. So if you’re seriously overweight, obese, or worse, morbidly obese, what you need to consider is bariatric or weight loss surgery, which focuses on constricting the stomach so as to restrict food intake.2

Body Contouring to Accompany Weight Loss Efforts

Liposuction, as mentioned earlier, is purely a cosmetic procedure usually accompanied by such things as breast augmentation, breast lift, body lift, face lift, etc. so as to enhance the cosmetic appeal of one’s body.  As the name suggests, it basically suctions the fat out of stubbornly-enduring fat deposits in the body that are usually concentrated in one specific area.

However, not everyone interested in paying big bucks to get rid of fat deposits can consider liposuction. Liposuction works best for people who are already in fairly good shape, but find that exercise and diets aren’t helping them with certain stubbornly fat areas. If you’re going in for liposuction, you should be in good health, good shape, a non-smoker, and have realistic expectations of the procedure.

If you go in there expecting to come out looking half your size, you’re going to be disappointed. Liposuction will, at best, help you shed 10 pounds. Anything more than that could put you at serious risk, so this isn’t the procedure for anyone hoping to lose weight. Also, you need to ensure that your skin elasticity and muscle tone is good before you opt for this procedure, as liposuction is known to backfire on people with loose skin and poor elasticity. Liposuction is also powerless against cellulite, but there are a few new procedures such as SmartLipo and AcousticWaveTherapy that can work and give you the results you need.

After the Procedure

As with all surgical procedures, minor post surgical pain is to be expected, and recovery usually takes about 4 weeks. Most patients may return to non-strenuous work in 2-3 days itself, and strenuous work in about 2 weeks. However, it all depends on your specific situation, the extent of liposuction, your speed of recovery, and a lot of factors unique to you as an individual. It’s safe to say that you should take care during the recovery period by guarding the incision area from force, quick movement, abrasion, etc. If you find that you experience pain of any kind, report it to the doctor. He/she may assure you that it’s to be expected, but you should still make sure that you report any pain to him/her as it may be an early sign of complications.

Some of the many risks associated with liposuction are:

  • Hematoma or Excessive Bleeding
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis
  • Persistent Swelling
  • Cardiac and pulmonary complications
  • Damage to the nerves, muscles, blood vessels, and organs
  • Tissue Death
  • Changes in skin sensation
  • Fat clots
  • Scarring, contour irregularities, discoloration, and other negative cosmetic results
  • Need for further surgical procedures

There are many more risks associated with the procedure as well, which may or may not be the case with other surgical procedures – the only difference is that this isn’t a life or death situation, and patients should carefully consider the alternatives before putting themselves at so much risk. That said, any shortness of breath, excessive bleeding, and chest pain after surgery should be immediately reported to the doctor.

What’s It Cost?

The average cost of liposuction varies based on the size of the area that requires liposuction, the number of areas being treated, which part of the world you’re located in, your surgeon’s qualifications, reputation, the complexity of the procedure, and the type of techniques used. However, it should usually cost anywhere between $2000 and $4000 to get liposuction done in one area, but that may differ by as much as $1500 and $8000 as well. It all depends on the factors outlined above.

Once you’ve done your ground work, evaluated the risks, and decided that you really do want to put yourself through this, it is important that you seek out a reputed plastic surgeon from a centre of excellence. When it comes to any kind of surgery, it’s important that you get the very best out there – someone who has done this procedure many times and has enough and more successful testimonials backing him or her.

There are some possible complications possible that not only ruin the outcome you were hoping for, but make things so much worse on the cosmetic front. You may find yourself in excessive pain, or find that your swelling simply refuses to subside, for example. It’s critical to seek out a renowned plastic surgeon from a reputed hospital with the best facilities who knows the procedure like the back of his/her hand.3

Yes, it will be more expensive than your other options, but if you’re prepared for such a procedure, money cannot be a constraint, as you would want to be sure that you’re in good hands. Your expenses will include the surgeon’s fee, anesthesia, lab fees, medications, and other facilities provided to you.

Liposuction is a widely performed procedure worldwide, so it’s reasonably safe depending on the surgeon and center you choose. So once you’ve learned all you want to know about liposuction go on and make a wise decision.


1 The Skinny on Lipsuction. (2007) U.S. Food and Drug Administration Consumer Health Information. Pamphlet retrieved at: www.fda.gov/downloads/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/UCM143573.pdf

2 Liposuction- Overview. (2011) Retrieved from the University of Maryland Medical Center at: www.umm.edu/ency/article/002985.htm

3  Liposuction. (2011) Retrieved from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration at www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ByAudience/ForWomen/ucm118540.htm


The content provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Our content is not medical advice and you should seek a licensed physician or health professional regarding all health issues. WEIGHTLOSS.US takes no responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, or application of medication which results from reading this site.