Latest update: April 19, 2024
Medically reviewed by: Jordan Frey MD


Liposuction is a surgical procedure that eliminates any excess fat in the body. It uses a thin cannula that extracts and sucks the fat through a vacuum. The surgery can target various body areas where excess fat tends to be stored, such as the hips, thighs, stomach, chin and waist.

Liposuction is highly effective, minimally invasiveand can achieve results in one session. While it can permanently remove stubborn pockets of fat or large volumes to contour the body, it is not a weight-loss treatment.

Depending on the area, either local or general anesthetic will be administered. The procedure usually takes 1-2 hours, and patients can return home the same day. Swelling, tenderness and bruising are expected for the next two weeks after the procedure and will begin to show improvements after six weeks. Doctors usually recommend their patients wear a compression garment. This helps to improve recovery and avoid uneven skin.Patients will be able to return to work after 1-2 weeks, with final results showing up six months later.

Like every procedure, liposuction comes with some risks. These can include saggy, dimpled skin, blood clots and fluid retention. Candidates should have good quality skin with adequate elasticity for the best results as excess skin is not removed with liposuction. 

Most liposuction procedures employ tumescent injection. This techniqueuses a solution of anesthetic and vasoconstrictors alongside the cannula. The substance can constrict blood vessels and ensure less blood loss. Through this technique, surgeons can extract larger volumes of fat with minimal pain and a faster recovery period. 

There are many different liposuction treatments on the market that provide the same results but use different techniques. Body-Jet Liposuction uses water in the procedure. It is less invasive than traditional methods as jet water breaks down the excess fat before it is vacuumed away. This technique causes less damage to the tissues and provides quicker recovery. The 30-45 minute procedure requires local anesthetic, and patients will return to work within 1-2 days.

Liposculpture is for patients who want to create better muscle definition. The technique removes certain fat areas to enhance the shadows of the muscles. Surgeons often use it on the abdomen, chin, arms, lower back and thighs. The procedure can take up to 4 hours, and patients will need a week of downtime. 

Power-assisted liposuction (PAL) uses a vibrating device attached to the cannula that breaks up the fat tissues without thermal heat. This method is quick and safe with fewer side effects. The incisions used are tiny and the procedure can be done on any part of the body. It may take 7-10 days for the swelling to subside and patients need to wear a compression garment following the procedure.
Operation Time
Inpatient Period
Number of Appointments
Recovery Period
1-2 weeks

What Does A Liposuction Look Like?

Dr. David Amron, from the Roxbury Institute, explains what liposuction surgery is. He talks about the procedure and the type of person for whom it is viable. The video shows the surgery in graphic detail including the fat being extracted.

Everything you need to know about liposuction

Dr. Umbareen Mahmood, a plastic surgeon from New York, discusses liposuction. Jasmine, a prospective patient, talks about why she wants the surgery. Jasmine's journey is put in perspective with the discussion of the history of the surgery and the new techniques available.

Tummy Tuck vs. Liposuction: Which Is Most Effective?

Dr. Robert Sigal talks about the candidates that come to surgeons for tummy tucks and liposuction. He explains the different types of people that he deals with and their desires and talks about which surgery suits them. He considers the possibility of having both surgeries.

Power liposuction versus traditional liposuction

Dr. Gavin Chan, from the Victorian Cosmetic Institute, talks about liposuction. He explains traditional liposuction and tells us how the apparatus works. He describes how developments in the industry make it better for the patient.