Is Liposuction Safe?


How safe is liposuction? Over the past few years we have been inundated with news stories about the alarming number of Americans who are overweight. While these stories are factual and worthy of our concern, they fail to tell us the good news too: that a record number of people are eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise.  If you are one of these, yet still struggle with stubborn fat deposits, liposuction may be the most effective and safe method to get rid of them.

For the most part, our genes determine our body shape. According to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, (NIGMS), what we eat and how we exercise can have an effect on our how our bodies hold fat, but not nearly to the extent our inherited traits do. So, if your parents carried extra weight around their waist or on their thighs, chances are pretty good you will too, no matter how often you go to the gym. That is when liposuction becomes an option. Liposuction can prevail over Mother Nature and eliminate your muffin-top, saddlebags, and double chin.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), as long as you are in the care of a Board Certified plastic surgeon in an approved surgical facility, liposuction is one of the safest elective surgeries there is. According to WebMD, technologies have improved so dramatically that many times only a local anesthetic is used, so you can move right after the procedure is over. The new techniques developed aroundtumescent liposuction have been shown to greatly improve results with less swelling and bruising. Tumescent liposuction very gradually injects generous quantities of dilute local anesthesia solutions into subcutaneous fat. Using this technique, the need for general anesthesia is rare. Further, surgical blood loss is nearly eliminated with less intrusion to the surrounding tissues. This cuts down on recovery time significantly.

On the day of the procedure, the patient and doctor confer together and mark the areas to be treated with a sterile marking pen while looking in a full-length mirror. The patient then lies on an operating table as a local anesthesia solution is delivered to the areas to be suctioned. A liposuction cannula is inserted into predetermined entry points in the area being treated and the adipose tissue and anesthesia solution are drawn out together. When the surgeon is done, he will ask the patient to stand up so they can judge together if any areas were missed. The patient returns to the operating table and the ‘touch ups’ are completed. The ability of a patient to stand up for this step of the procedure is the principal benefit of modern tumescent liposuction techniques. Because the patients are awake and able to function, they can get to their feet and evaluate in the mirror the work done up to that point. This has reduced the number of ‘second visits’ among liposuction patients tremendously. Tumescent liposuction techniques are especially good at reducing back, upper abdomen and thigh fat. Just imagine how great it would feel to pull on that T-shirt and leggings without being overly self-consciousness!

In most cases, liposuction patients can return to work within just a few days, although it may take a few weeks before they feel 100% normal. Some fat reduction can been seen in the treated areas directly after the procedure, but most of the time one should not judge the outcome until six months has passed. Swelling and bruising disappear relatively quickly in seven to ten days, but new connective tissue to the skin can take much longer, taking a few weeks or even months. This should not deter you from considering liposuction since in most cases it is the only way those pockets of fat will ever disappear.

The cost of liposuction has greatly improved in the past few years. According to, there are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration for each individual’s plan. In general, most procedures start around $2K and can go as high as $5K, but you will need to get a written estimate from your surgeon to know for certain. The good news is that, unlike your car mechanic, you can rely on that estimate to be accurate.

Summer is just around the corner. Be kind to yourself and consider having liposuction on those areas of your body that have defied diet and exercise. You will be amazed how quick and effective it is.


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