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Liposuction Procedure

Updated on August 6, 2012

Am I a Good Candidate for Liposuction

To decide if you are a good candidate for liposuction, your doctor will likely take into consideration the volume and location of the fat on your body. Almost as important as the fat, is the quality of your skin—the tone and elasticity that is present. This is important because following the procedure, the skin will need to contour to your new and improved shape. For this reason, it remains true that those who are younger find better results with liposuction.

Is Liposuction right for your body's needs?
Is Liposuction right for your body's needs? | Source

However, do not feel defeated if you are getting close to middle age and beyond! The facts are this; millions of Americans springing from every age group have found fantastic improvements by having liposuction. No matter your age, it is up to your surgeon to decide if your skin has enough elasticity to produce your desired liposuction contouring goals.

Does the Kind of Fat I Have Matter for Liposuction

What Are the Three Kinds of Fat in the Human Body

  1. Superficial Fat - The thin layer of fat found directly below the skin.This is the layer that is a main contributor for cellulite dimpling and puckering found on the thighs and buttocks.
  2. Subcutaneous Fat - This is a thick layer of fat found deeper in the body. This deep, thick layer of fat is responsible for those visible bulges found on the tummy, thighs, and hips. Subcutaneous fat is also attributed with causing the "pear-shape" women can develop.
  3. Intra-abdominal Fat - This layer of fat is interspersed throughout the internal organs found in the abdomen. This layer is known to cause the "apple-shape" body type that we see more commonly among men.

What You Think Really Does Matter!

Have you considered getting liposuction in your lifetime?

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Why Does the Kind of Fat I Have Matter During Liposuction

Liposuction is more likely aimed at removing the thick subcutaneous fat layer. This is where the majority of people find the best result when it comes to having liposuction surgery. When the procedure is applied to the thin superficial layer of fat, inconsistencies are sure to emerge and become visible to the eye. But, with the advancement of surgical instruments and newly developed procedures, we are seeing a much better outcome in these liposuction applications.

When is Liposuction a Bad Choice

When Liposuction is NOT for you

In some cases, it may be necessary to combine liposuction with other procedures to attain the desired outcome for your body. In other cases, liposuction is not the right procedure for your body at all. If any of the five listed reasons that follow are your reason for getting liposuction, you should discuss this with your surgeon, and possibly choose another more appropriate procedure.

  • You Are Obese and Wish to Lose Weight By Having Liposuction

Liposuction is not really an acceptable treatment for obesity, or a good process for weight loss. Because only so much fat can be safely removed during the procedure, plastic surgeons are prevented from treating the obese. Another reason is that liposuction is not designed to remove the even layer of fat found on the obese, as it is a contouring procedure—designed for smoothing out those problem areas. For weight loss in the overweight population, doctors will likely place you on a weight loss diet, or may suggest a surgical procedure like gastric bypass.

  • If You Have a Lot of Loose Skin, Liposuction May Not Be For You

If for some reason your skin is not pliable enough—lacks elasticity—liposuction may not be the answer for your needs. Following the removal of fat, loose skin can appear more floppy and saggy. In cases where the patient is bothered by loose skin and localized fat deposits, the surgeon may prefer to do a thigh lift, tummy tuck, or lower-body lift where the excess skin and fat deposits are removed.

What Should I Know About Having a Liposuction Procedure

What is Actually Done During a Liposuction Procedure

The average liposuction procedure takes anywhere from forty-five minutes to two-and-a-half hours. But, this can be much longer depending on how much fat is being removed and which technique is being used. Below are the usual steps that occur during the procedure;

  • If Your Primary Goal is to Get Rid of Stretch marks, Liposuction is Not the Answer

Where a tummy tuck may be suggested for the removal of stretch marks, liposuction surely will not. Liposuction cannot remove or lessen the look of stretch marks. For this reason, another procedure is a better choice.

  • If You Have Scars From A Previous Surgery, Liposuction May Not be a Good Choice

Due to the fact that scar tissue has been known to interfere with the removal of fat tissue should it be in the area of interest—resulting in less than desired outcomes—liposuction is usually not conducted in the areas where scaring is present.

  • If You Want to Get Rid of Cellulite, Don't Get Liposuction

Simply stated, liposuction doesn't improve the look of cellulite.

Is Liposuction Safe?

  1. Following sedation, your surgeon will make several small incisions in the areas where fat is to be removed, your surgeon will then prepare the fat cells to be removed.
  2. A suction pipe is placed through the incisions, then, fat and small amounts of body fluids and blood get vacuumed out through the pipe.
  3. Staying away from organs, connective tissue, nerves, and blood vessels, your surgeon will move the suction pipe around inside the fat until the right amount has been taken out.
  4. Once the procedure is completed and the contouring required is achieved, the surgeon will either stitch closed the incisions, or not. Some doctors feel that stitching the incisions closed reduces messy drainage, while others say drainage prevents excess swelling. This will be up to you and your surgeon to decide.

Incisions for Liposuction

Information About the Incisions Made During Liposuction Surgery

Your liposuction surgeon will be making several tiny access incisions (cuts) that are one-eighth to one-half inch in length at the places on your body where fat is to be extracted. Exactly how many cuts will be made depends on how much fat is being removed, and from how many places on your body. When it is plausible, these cuts will be placed in skin folds and patches of hair (like the pubic area) to keep them subdued from view. Even if the cuts are not hidden in the bellybutton, skin creases, or under the fold of the buttocks, the residual scars will be pretty difficult to spot.

Do You Know Medical Stuff?

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Fat Volume and Liposuction

How Much Fat Can Safely be Removed During Liposuction

Once your overall health, weight, and age, has been looked at, the surgeon will determine the volume of fat that can safely be removed from your body. As a definable rule, the safest volume of fat to remove in a single operation has been measured at around eleven pounds (or about 5 liters).

As the medical field grows more confident and new techniques for liposuction pop up, we are beginning to see some surgeons remove much larger volumes of fat during a single operation. But, don't be fooled, large-volume fat removal brings much greater risk. More blood loss, longer operation times, subjection to more anesthesia, and increased stress to the body in general, all due to large amounts of fat being taken out of the body. Sometimes, it is just safer to wait six months or so, then have a second operation done. You and your surgeon will have to determine if this is the answer for your situation.

What are the Most Commonly Liposuctioned Areas of the Body

  • Abdomen - Can create a flatter stomach. As a rule, surgeons can only remove the fat from your belly that can be "pinched".
  • Thighs - Designed to make the legs more attractive. Most of the time the thigh is treated as two separate parts; inner and outer thigh. These areas (usually) also include the back of the thigh and buttocks.
  • Hips - This can make your silhouette more refined and attractive. Suctioning fat from the hips often includes suctioning from the thighs and buttocks.
  • Buttocks - By suctioning the buttocks an improved size and shape can be achieved. As the rear-end is our "cushion" when sitting, surgeons try to be conservative when removing fat from this zone.

Highest Plastic Surgery Rate By Country

(click column header to sort results)
South Korea
United States
Information derived from Asian Plastic Surgery guide.

South Korea Has the Most Reported Plastic Surgery of all Countries

South Korea:
South Korea

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Even though South Korea has the most reported procedures on record, Hollywood, California; We're watching you!

History of the Number of Weight Loss Procedures Annually (USA)

(click column header to sort results)
Less than 25,000
approx. 26,000
approx. 27,000
approx. 28,000
approx. 29,000
approx. 31,000
approx. 75,000
approx. 100,000
approx. 148,000
approx. 160,000
approx. 197,000
approx. 200,000
Information derived from K. Sasse, M.D. "Outpatient Weight-Loss Surgery" (2009)

Before Getting Plastic Surgery

Finding good quality care and information from reliable resources is up to you. Making sure the surgeon you choose to perform your liposuction (or any) procedure should be the most important step in your body contouring experience. Making that undeniable connection with your surgeon will bring trust and understanding to an otherwise scary and painful transition. Below is a list to help get you started in the right direction. Ask questions, get answers, and be your own advocate for good medical care! Your well-being, and potentially your life depends on it!

Medical Resources to Consider Using Before Getting Plastic Surgery

Comments for "Is Getting Liposuction Right for You"

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  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    6 years ago from Northern, California

    barbergirl28~ WOW! It sounds like you really have been through a lot. I hope you are doing better. I would have to say that Lipo is not as scary as it used to be, but definitely must be approached from a state of caution and safety. It is not always the best choice, but has its place. Health and safety always have to come first. Glad you found a little information that you hadn't had before. I wish you the best with your quest, as it cannot be an easy decision.

    Thank you for sharing your story, I am honored that you did.


  • barbergirl28 profile image

    Stacy Harris 

    6 years ago from Hemet, Ca

    I have to say, I am pretty shy about surgeries... my great Aunt had liposuction when I was in high school. However, she was embarrassed about getting the procedure done. Needless to say, (and this was probably close to 15 years ago so things have changed), she almost died and was so sick she ended up wheelchair bound. It has always scared me off.

    For me, in 2000 I had a really bad surgery. This resulted in a scar that healed improperly. So, I ended up with a tummy tuck. I probably wouldn't be a good one for the surgery since I have lost a lot of elasticity in the skin from accidental pregnancies after the surgery to fix the scar. That being said, I have recently lost about 45 pounds and my skin is loose... and well, the stretch marks are embarrasing. My husband keeps suggesting this mommy makeover. I haven't decided yet whether or not to do it, because I believe liposuction is involved. However, you have given some great information here to make me understand lipsuction just a little more!

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    6 years ago from Northern, California

    Simone~ I was surprised as well, I thought the USA would certainly be the number one liposuction (or any cosmetic surgery) leader. Thank you for checking out the hub, and for the kind remarks regarding it.


  • Simone Smith profile image

    Simone Haruko Smith 

    6 years ago from San Francisco

    Whoah, I was so surprised to see that South Korea is such a leader when it comes to liposuction! Awesome Hub, K9keystrokes!

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    6 years ago from Northern, California

    Mmargie1966~ Thank you for the votes and I am thrilled that you liked the informatin!


  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    6 years ago from Northern, California

    Arlene V. Poma~ I appreciate your kind remarks about the hub content. Liposuction will contour the body in a permanent fix, but the person MUST follow a healthy life program or new fat will surely take over. The bad thing is, once you have liposuction done, if you don't take care of yourself, it is far more likely that fat will grow in an unnatural manner, and make the body look even more distorted than before. Which is what appears to have happened to your friend. Thank you for leaving your comments!


  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    6 years ago from Northern, California

    MarleneB~ lol! Information overload. I am so glad you found the information within the hub interesting. It is always good to know when something is, or is not the right thing for your needs. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and comments here.


  • Mmargie1966 profile image


    6 years ago from Gainesville, GA

    Very informative! Great read, as well...voted up!

  • profile image

    Arlene V. Poma 

    6 years ago

    VOTED UP. Your article is so thorough as well as impressive. Years ago, I met a woman who bragged about getting liposuction when it first came out. To see her, you would never know. She was grossly overweight and had a wardrobe of muffin tops. Never mentioned anything about getting counseling before the surgery. Since she had the money at the time, she had the surgery done. Looking at her told me she did not get a permanent fix. But she wanted an easy way out.

  • MarleneB profile image

    Marlene Bertrand 

    6 years ago from USA

    I'm on information overload right now (just kidding). I learned a lot of valuable information here. The chart with the statistics was so cool. I enjoyed that. Most importantly, I learned that liposuction is not for me. Not that I would have considered it in the first place, but... it's... not for me. Excellent hub! Great attention to details and answering every question imaginable about liposuction.

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    6 years ago from Northern, California

    Sunshine~ I have to say I am with you on this one; healthy habits could save a nation! I wasn't too surprised by the USA being in the top iether, but Korea was quite a shock!

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!


  • Sunshine625 profile image

    Linda Bilyeu 

    6 years ago from Orlando, FL

    Excellent hub India! I was a bit surprised at the statistics per country. China? That's a lot of liposuction! I'm not surprised at the USA. Lots of useful information for someone considering a procedure. I prefer the old-fashioned pain, no gain!:)


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