American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals
 

Liposuction

Lipoplasty

Liposuction, sometimes referred to as "lipo" by patients, is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of excess fat from specific areas of the body.

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What are the steps of a liposuction procedure?

Liposuction is a surgical procedure that uses a hollow stainless steel tube, called a cannula, which is inserted through small incisions in the skin. The cannula is then used to suction out unwanted fat from specific areas of the body, such as the abdomen, hips, thighs and buttocks.

Areas that can be addressed with liposuction

Liposuction back and thighs
Liposuction abdomen and legs
Liposuction chest and abdomen
Liposuction face and neck

Areas that can be addressed with liposuction

Liposuction back and thighs
Liposuction abdomen and legs
Liposuction chest and abdomen
Liposuction face and neck

Step 1 – Anesthesia

Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.

Step 2 – The incision

Liposuction is performed through small, inconspicuous incisions. First, diluted local anesthesia is infused to reduce bleeding and trauma. Then a thin hollow tube, or cannula, is inserted through the incisions to loosen excess fat using a controlled back-and-forth motion. The dislodged fat is then suctioned out of the body using a surgical vacuum or syringe attached to the cannula.

There are many different liposuction techniques:

  • In traditional liposuction, a cannula is inserted under the skin to break up the fat. A high-pressure vacuum is applied to the cannula to remove the fat from the body.
  • Power-assisted liposuction uses a vibrating cannula to break up stubborn fat into smaller pieces, making it easier to remove.
  • Ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL) uses ultrasonic vibrations to create a high amount of energy to dissolve the fat.
  • VASER liposuction is a newer generation form of UAL.
  • Laser-assisted liposuction is similar to UAL, except that it uses a laser to dissolve the fat.
  • Water-assisted liposuction uses a pressurized stream of saline to loosen fat cells.

Step 3 – See the results

Your improved body contour will be apparent once the swelling and fluid retention commonly experienced following liposuction subside. With continued practices of healthy diet and fitness, the loss of excess fatty tissue should be permanently maintained. However, substantial weight gain can alter the results.



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