Health & Beauty

What Is Liposuction, and How Much Does It Cost? We Break Down What You Need to Know

If you’re considering ways to re-sculpt and shape your body, liposuction is an option. But what is liposuction exactly? You might have a vague idea of liposuction being used to remove body fat, but the details are a little more complicated. 

There’s a lot of information out there about this procedure, but we’re here to help you sort through the noise. From liposuction costs to what to expect after treatment, we’ve pulled together the answers to your questions. 

In this article:

*Warning: this article contains images of liposuction procedures that may be distressing to some.

What is liposuction?

A woman getting tests done at the doctor.

Liposuction is a cosmetic procedure used to remove unwanted body fat. It’s not designed as a weight-loss product and should not be considered a substitute for exercise and a balanced diet. 

It involves removing small areas of excess body fat from your tummy, bottom, hips and/or thighs. 

Often, people who are healthy but carrying a little extra body fat in specific areas experience the best results.

Interested in booking liposuction? Find great deals and offers near you with our local listings.

How does liposuction work?

A doctor performing liposuction on a patient.

Using a thin tube called a cannula and a suction device, your surgeon will remove the fat out of a small incision in your desired treatment area. This helps give your body a more desirable shape. Once the procedure is finished, the surgeon will seal the incision using sutures or small clips.

Types of liposuction

A patient receiving laser liposuction.

There are several different types of liposuctions, and your surgeon will discuss the pros, cons and benefits of each option with you, and make a suggestion based on your desired results. 

Tumescent liposuction

This is the most common type of liposuction and involves a surgeon injecting the treatment area with a sterile solution made of:

  • Saltwater, which aids fat removal.
  • An anesthetic to relieve pain. 
  • Epinephrine, a drug that constricts blood vessels.

This mixture causes the treatment area to swell and stiffen.

Once the solution has taken effect, the surgeon will make a small incision in your skin and insert a cannula. They’ll then attach the cannula to a suction device and to take out the excess fat cells and fluids. They may also give you an IV drip to help replenish your body fluid during the procedure.

Laser Lipo

Unlike tumescent lipo, laser lipo uses a high-intensity laser. The surgeon fires a laser through a small incision in your skin to emulsify fatty deposits. These deposits are then removed using a cannula and suction device.

Power-assisted liposuction (PAL)

Power-assisted liposuction uses a cannula which is automatically moved in a rapid back-and-forth motion through your surgical incision. The vibration this creates allows the surgeon to pull out tougher fatty deposits more efficiently. Some people find that PAL is less painful and has more minor swelling than other lipo treatments. Your surgeon may suggest this treatment if you have large volumes of fat to remove or if you’ve previously had liposuction that hasn’t produced the results you wanted.  

Ultrasound-assisted liposuction

Often used in conjunction with traditional liposuction, ultrasound-assisted liposuction can improve skin contouring and reduce the chance of skin injuries. Your surgeon will insert a small metal rod into your surgical incision during the procedure. The rod then emits ultrasonic energy to rupture the walls of your fat cells, making them easier to remove.

Common body areas for lipo

A man getting an injection into his chin.
  • Chin liposuction – Designed to remove fatty cells causing a double chin. It’s an excellent alternative to double chin surgery if you’re between 20 and 50 years old and still have plenty of elasticity in your skin. 
  • Arm liposuction – A great way to remove stubborn fat cells from your upper arms. There’s no hospital stay and minimal downtime, so it’s a popular choice for people who’ve found the gym just isn’t shifting that excess fat. 
  • Stomach liposuction – People who opt for stomach liposuction usually want to achieve a flatter abdomen. You’ll need to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle to keep your results looking their best. 
  • Face liposuction – If you want to shape and contour your face, facial liposuction could be an option for you. It’s often performed with a facelift and can help slim your look and create a more-defined jawline. 

Liposuction before, during and after

Thinking of booking your liposuction treatment? Here’s our guide to what you can expect before, during and after your procedure. 

Before 

Before your liposuction procedure, you’ll need an initial consultation with your chosen surgeon. This will give you a chance to ask any in-depth questions and allow the surgeon to assess your suitability. 

When it’s time for your procedure, your surgeon will mark up where they’ll treat you using a special marker. You’ll then have a local or general anesthetic, depending on the extent of your treatment.

During 

The exact step-by-step of your procedure will depend on what types of liposuction you have. But the general process goes as follows:

  • Your surgeon will make a small incision in the treatment area.
  • They’ll insert a cannula or other instruments such as a laser or ultrasonic metal rod into your surgical wound.
  • The inserted tool will break down the fat cells you want to remove.
  • Your surgeon will attach a suction device to the end of the cannula to suck out the broken-down fat cells. 
  • Once they’ve removed the fat cells, your surgeon will close the surgical incision with sutures or metal clips. 

Liposuction after care

Your surgeon will usually give you compression bandages to wear for a few weeks after your treatment. This helps your body keep its new shape and reduces swelling and bruising. 

Liposuction is considered an outpatient surgery, so there’s minimal downtime. That means you can usually go back to your usual activities within the next 48 hours. However, you should avoid strenuous activity for four to six weeks — a gentle walk to keep you active is fine though. 

After a couple of months, you can and should get back to exercising regularly. While it’s not essential to your treatment, it can help maintain your results for much longer and reduce the risk of new excess fat cells developing in the area you treated.  

How long does liposuction take?

Your surgery should take between one and three hours, depending on the extent of your procedure. 

You may need to factor in some time for your consultation and potential follow-up appointments too. 

How much does liposuction cost? Plus other things you need to know

Someone handing a credit card to someone else.

When considering liposuction, you’re bound to have a few questions. Here are a few things we can clear up to help get you started. 

How much is liposuction?

The cost of liposuction can vary, but generally, the average cost of liposuction is in the thousands. It all depends on your size, the number and size of areas treated, and the city where the procedure takes place (Los Angeles may be more expensive than Phoenix, for example). If you want to minimize the cost on your bill, search Groupon for liposuction deals near you.

Is liposuction safe?

While liposuction is considered safe, it’s important to remember that all surgery carries risks. You may experience some swelling and bruising around the treatment area for several months after your procedure. 

Does liposuction hurt?

The procedure itself should be painless as you’ll be given an anesthetic to numb the treatment area or put you to sleep for the surgery. You may experience some tenderness and inflammation after the anesthetic wears off.

How long does it take to recover from liposuction?

How long you need to wait before returning to work or driving will depend on your job and how much of your body was treated. You’ll be able to discuss this with your surgeon ahead of your surgery. 

After a week, you can have your stitches removed. If you had dissolvable stitches, they should have dissolved by this point too. 

Liposuction vs CoolSculpting

A woman getting CoolSculpting done.

A significant difference between Liposuction and CoolSculpting is that CoolSculpting is a non-invasive procedure with no incisions or cuts made to the skin. This means there’s no scarring or damage to surrounding cells and skin.

Both treatments use a vacuum to suck out fat cells, but CoolSculpting uses gel pads or applicators to freeze cells until they die, making them easier to remove. Unlike liposuction, CoolSculpting isn’t designed for removing large areas of fat, and liposuction can be used in more places than CoolSculpting. 

The differences of each procedure will become noticeable at different times too. For example, while you’ll notice liposuction results pretty quickly, it’ll take months for your body to fully adjust. With CoolSculpting, you may see results within a couple of weeks. 

Top tips

  • Be patient Expect some contouring irregularities as the remaining fat settles into position over the first couple of weeks after your procedure.
  • Liposuction results should last for a long time Providing you live healthily with a balanced diet and regular exercise. 
  • Seek medication advice – Your surgeon will usually recommend that you stop taking blood thinners and other medications at least three weeks before your surgery.

FAQs

Is arm liposuction worth it?

If you’re finding that those arm sessions at the gym aren’t shifting all the fat from your upper arms, then it might be worth talking to a surgeon about arm liposuction if you’d like. Lipo is a great way to remove some of the more stubborn fat cells that you’ve been unable to shift through dieting and exercise alone. 

How to get rid of lumps after liposuction?

If you find your skin becomes lumpy after your surgery, chances are it will smooth out over time. If the lumps and bumps remain after a few months, you can try massaging the area to break up and smooth out the fat cells.

How old do you have to be to get liposuction?

You must be 18 years old to have liposuction. In some extreme cases, physicians may suggest that younger teens have liposuction to help manage health conditions such as excess skin. 

How much weight do you lose with liposuction?

The amount of weight you’ll lose during liposuction depends on how big the treatment area is. Remember, liposuction is not designed as a weight-loss procedure, it’s instead for sculpting and reshaping the body.

What should I wear after getting liposuction?

You can wear what you want after your liposuction, as long as you keep on your compression garments or bandages as recommended by your surgeon. 

Interested in booking liposuction? Find great deals and offers near you with our local listings.

*Note: We are not a health-care provider and this is not intended as medical advice—please consult with your doctor before making any medical decisions.

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