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What is Liposuction Surgery?

Last updated on October 20th, 2022 at 07:50 am

Liposuction surgery is a procedure used to remove excess fat from specific areas of the body. It is one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries performed today.

It can get quite frustrating trying to get rid of the excess and stubborn fat that often accumulates on the thighs, arms, flanks, or other parts of the body. Often, exercising and diet aren’t enough to achieve the desired results. People, in a search of aesthetics, then turn to the procedure of liposuction.

What is Liposuction Surgery?

Liposuction removes body fat using the process of suction. It has been proven to be one of the most popular types of reconstructive surgeries. This procedure, though has its share of side effects and risks, is still very popular because of its ability to specifically target and take care of isolated, deep pockets of stubborn fat. It is often done in combination with other plastic surgeries, such as breast augmentation or an abdominoplasty (also known as ‘tummy tuck’ surgery). It effectively rejuvenates and shapes the body’s contours.

In recent times, the availability of various techniques has rendered the procedure safer and comparatively less painful vis-à-vis what was before. The techniques involved include ultrasound liposuction (ultrasound is used for liquefying the excess fat that is to be removed), laser liposuction (low-intensity laser waves are used for liquefying the targeted fat) and tumescent liposuction (the practice of traditional liposuction after the body tissues are injected with an anesthetic solution).

It is usually an outpatient procedure unless there are large amounts of fat that need to be taken care of. The type of anesthesia (local or general) administered depends on the volume of fat to be removed.

Types of Liposuction Surgery

There are several types of liposuction technique, which are:

  1. Power-Assisted Liposuction: The method uses a cannula or a tube that has an oscillating tip to remove fat deposits. It is target-specific and completely cut the extra fat. The device used in this technique produces really fast vibrations to break the fat, which is then removed through the tube.
  2. Laser-Assisted Lipolysis: A major advantage of this method is that it does not cause any severe side effects. Laser-assisted lipolysis makes use of a laser to melt the fat, which is further removed by the help of a suction pump. A huge amount of fat cells can be removed easily by this technique.
  3. Tumescent Liposuction: Intumescent liposuction, a liquid composed of lidocaine, epinephrine and a local anesthetic, is injected into the fat cells to cause volumization. The bloated cells are then burst off and the fat is suctioned out.
  4. Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction: The method uses high-frequency ultrasonic waves to liquefy the targeted cells, which is then suctioned out using a pump.
  5. Pulsed Ultrasonic Liposuction: The technique is like ultrasound-assisted liposuction. The only difference is that in this method, sound waves are pulsed to avoid the generation of excessive heat.
  6. Wet Technique: In the wet technique, a liquid composed of adrenaline and anesthesia is used to removing fat cells through suction. The method is quite effective since it causes less bleeding, bruising, and faster recovery.
  7. Super-Wet Technique: The technique is similar in function as a wet technique. A slight difference is that more amount of fluid is injected, which is almost equal to the amount of fat that has to be removed.

Liposuction Surgery Procedure

The process is actually quite complex, where the surgeon needs to be highly competent. However, the procedure will vary with the targeted area and the type of liposuction chosen. Every procedure more or less follows the same structure.

First, anesthesia is administered. The type of anesthesia would depend on the volume of fat that is to be removed and also the area targeted. It is administered as an injection containing a numbing solution. With local anesthesia, only the area targeted will be numbed, while anesthesia, the patient will be numbed for the entire duration of the surgery. Upon waking up, the patient would still feel numb and feel little to almost no pain. The next step is creating small incisions around the area from where fat will be removed.

Next, a cannula (vacuum tube) is inserted into the layer of fat through the tiny incisions. The cannula is moved about to disintegrate the fat cells and then suctioned out using a vacuum pump or an attached syringe. Intravenous fluids will be administered to make up for losing blood and other bodily fluids that might happen during the procedure. Once this is completed, the incisions are sealed.

Side Effects of Liposuction Surgery

Yes, there are quite a few side effects to liposuction. They are;

  • Swelling: Almost all techniques cause swelling post-surgery. Thus, it is important to follow up with the doctor and keep him/her informed about any change in the swelling. Swelling around the treated area and the ankles is pretty common combined with a lumpy appearance that is temporary and dissipates within six months. The inflammation of veins also remains a possibility in case the thighs were treated.
  • Bruising: The treated area often becomes discolored and sensitive to touch; however, this usually fades within a month. Similar to swelling, this was opted for often determines the extent of bruising.
  • General discomfort: A certain amount of tenderness is common. OTC pain medicines can be prescribed to control this discomfort.

Risks of Liposuction Surgery

There are quite a few risks associated with liposuction, as with any other surgical procedure. Some major complications and risks are;

  • Numbness: The patient might feel numbness at the surgery site, which may be temporary or permanent. It can also be caused because of any irritation in nerves.
  • Infections: This is a very common risk associated with almost every surgery. Liposuction surgery can cause skin infections which rarely need special medical attention.
  • Toxicity: In some cases, toxicity from local anesthesia can occur, which may lead to heart and nervous system disorders.
  • Lung/Kidney problems: Lung or kidney problems can occur in some patients because of the shift in the level of fluid injected during the surgery.
  • Skin irregularities: If fat removal is uneven, it can cause the skin to look bumpy and withered. Skin can lose its elasticity permanently and spots may occur post-surgery.
Results from Liposuction Treatment Permanent?

A drastic result should not be expected in terms of weight loss because the surgery is carried out to remove excess fat, which has nothing to do with the body weight. The results are more or less permanent. The fat cells which are removed during the procedure certainly do not form back. However, one needs to adopt a healthier way of life to achieve the best results and not let further fat cells accumulate.

The post-Liposuction Treatment Guidelines

Liposuction, being an outpatient procedure, results in quick recovery. In most cases, patients can resume their normal routine within 15 days. However, the bruising, tenderness and soreness could persist over a few weeks.

  • Following a healthy diet: There is no set liposuction diet; lean protein, whole grains, fresh produce, and dairy products are rich in calcium.
  • One should consume sufficient amounts of water in a day and cut back completely on processed foods.
  • Exercising: Moderate aerobic exercises are probably the best options for a patient who has undergone liposuction. Some of the best forms of exercise include jogging, walking, cycling, etc.

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Best Diet Plan after Liposuction Surgery

A clean and balanced diet should be maintained post-surgery to prevent weight gain. One must include fruits, vegetables, and proteins in the diet. Small meals should be consumed throughout the day at regular intervals. Apart from this, drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated and full. Healthy metabolism and good digestion are the key factors that should be kept in mind.

Foods to avoid after liposuction;

It is important to eat right in order to maintain the results of surgery. Those who have had this surgery done should avoid.

  • Consuming fried foods
  • Beverages containing soda
  • Baked food such as cookies
  • Ice cream
  • Refined grains,
  • White bread
  • Processed meat.

Modification in the diet pattern is really important for recovery. Foods that are rich in iron, vitamin C, zinc, and B complex should be included in the diet as advised by a dietitian. A variety of food can be eaten if chosen wisely. Cereals, oats, eggs, salad, green tea, yoghurt, milk, cheese, fruits & vegetables supply good nutrition to the body.

Liposuction Surgery Tips and Advises

Liposuction is very popular as a relatively quick and safe cosmetic surgery to get rid of excess fat. At one time, the procedure was even touted as a better alternative to a healthy diet and exercise. Regardless of such myths, liposuction is an important development in cosmetic surgery. Indeed, in certain cases (of extreme weight gain), liposuction is the first surgical procedure performed on the patient. Like all surgeries, liposuction has a few do’s and don’ts, and they are;


  1. Keep your weight at a healthy level before surgery. The more the amount of fat is removed from your body, the greater is the risk involved in surgery, which is why controlling your weight pre-surgery is important. Losing a large amount of weight leaves a lot of loose skin in your body, which can make your skin look saggy.
  2. Wear your compression garments. Compression garments help your skin compress over the area where the fat used to be, leaving smooth, tight skin.
  3. Continue exercising (with the go ahead of your doctor) after the procedure and follow a healthy diet to maintain your body.
  4. Maintain gentle activity for two weeks after the procedure. This will help in removing fluid deposition in the surgical area and prevent complications.


  1. Do not take anti-inflammatory medicines like aspirin or ibuprofen, as these medicines may cause bleeding complications. They also harm the body’s immune system, which is detrimental to recovery.
  2. Do not smoke or drink while recovering as the Nicotine disturbs normal skin growth, which may lead to permanent scars, while alcohol interferes with the effect of some medicines.
  3. Don’t lift heavy objects or bend down immediately after the surgery. Your doctor will give you a more specific timeline when you can pursue such activities.
  4. Don’t expect results from day one. You will see results after you have recovered from the surgery.
  5. Do not opt for liposuction specifically for weight loss. Liposuction is chiefly a procedure for shaping and contouring the fat in your body to give you that shape you always desired.

Liposuction is not dangerous, in fact, it is the most widely used cosmetic procedure nowadays. However, certain complications are associated with it. It is very important to consult an experienced cosmetic surgeon to reduce the risks and reduce side effects. Talk to the surgeon about the outcome you are expecting out from the surgery and clear every doubt to minimize any risk and danger.

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