Helping Seniors Live Healthier Lives

An Introduction To Liposuction

What is Liposuction?

Liposuction is a surgical procedure that removes excess fat. While it can be used to treat certain medical conditions, liposuction is a primarily cosmetic procedure that tends to be used on body areas where fat can accumulate, such as the thighs, buttocks and stomach. In 2014, 363,912 liposuction procedures were carried out in the USA. 

The Procedure

While it is a surgical procedure, liposuction tends to be minimally invasive. It is usually carried out under general anesthetic, although in some cases a local anesthetic may be used. Firstly, the area to be treated must be prepared by the surgeon at a place like Medilaser, Cosmetic Surgery and Vein Center. This preparation involves the use of techniques that break up the excess fat so that it can be easily extracted, usually through the use of high-frequency vibrations or low-energy lasers. The surgeon may also inject the area with a solution (the tumescent technique).

Once the area has been prepared, a small incision is made in the skin, into which a thin metal tube is inserted. A powerful vacuum pump extracts the fat via the tube, but leaves important structures such as nerves and blood vessels intact. For larger treatment areas, multiple incisions may be required.


Liposuction has primarily cosmetic benefits for the patient. It allows for 'shaping' of areas on which diet and exercise have had little effect. This may help improve the patient's confidence and self-esteem. It is important to note that liposuction is not a weight loss procedure or a treatment for obesity. 

Liposuction may also help treat certain conditions that are linked with fat build-up. For example, it may be used to treat benign fatty tumors, or excessive sweating in the armpits (axillary hyperhidrosis). It may also be used in cases where the body is unable to metabolize fat effectively. 

Potential Risks 

In most cases, liposuction is safe and complication free, but there are some potential risks to consider. As with any surgical procedure carried out under general anesthetic, there is a risk of infection. While serious infections are rare, it is not uncommon for the patient to experience inflammation, irritation and bruising of the treated areas, as well as fluid leakage from the incisions. 

The skin over the treated area may become rippled or uneven, but if the procedure has been carried out correctly such irregularities should be minor. There is also a small risk of nerve or skin damage during the preparatory procedure.