Liposuction is a surgical procedure that slims and reshapes areas of the body by removing excess fat deposits. The deposits are loosened using a thin, hollow tube called a cannula, then suctioned out of the body.
At A Glance: Liposuction
Also Known As
Local, Intravenous Sedation, or General
Typical Recovery Time
Typical Price Range
Tell Me About The Surgery
Procedure Research and Consultation
What issue does liposuction solve?
Liposuction removes excess fat deposits and improves your body contours and proportions. This procedure can be done anywhere on the body including thighs, hips, buttocks, abdomen, waist, upper arms, back, inner knee, chest area, cheeks, neck, chin, calves, and ankles.
How is liposuction done?
Liposuction is performed through small incisions in the part of your body you want to slenderize. A thin, hollow tube called a cannula is inserted through the incisions. The cannula uses controlled back-and-forth motion to loosen excess fat. The dislodged fat is then suctioned out of the body using a surgical vacuum or syringe attached to the cannula.
What is minimally invasive surgery?
Minimally invasive surgery is a procedure that involves a smaller incision and a less-invasive technique, shortening recovery time.
Do I have options for anesthesia for liposuction?
The options include local anesthesia, which numbs a small area of the body while keeping you conscious; intravenous sedation, which numbs your entire body and relaxes you while you remain conscious, and general anesthesia, when you would be unconscious. Talk with your doctor about the best option for you.
How do I know liposuction surgery is right for me?
Liposuction may be right for you if you’re bothered by excess fat deposits anywhere on your body that don’t respond to diet or exercise. Ideal candidates for liposuction are healthy, non-smoking people within 30% of their ideal weight who have firm, elastic skin and good muscle tone.
How safe is liposuction?
In general, severe complications from liposuction are rare. You should also know that Hancock Regional Hospital has been rated one of the safest hospitals in America by The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit health care watchdog organization; and was named the safest hospital in Indiana on the Lown Institute Hospital Index.
What are possible side effects and complications of liposuction?
Some of the possible side effects include bruising; a change in your skin sensation that may be persistent; damage to nerves, blood vessels, muscles, lungs, and abdominal organs; deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot in a vein); fluid accumulation; infection; irregular contours or asymmetries; irregular pigmentation; the need for revision surgery; persistent swelling; poor wound healing; rippling or loose skin; worsening of cellulite; swelling, and a thermal burn or heat injury from the lipoplasty technique.
What are the possible side effects of local anesthesia?
Some possible side effects of local anesthesia include nausea and vomiting, dizziness, headaches, blurred vision, twitching muscles, drop in blood pressure, continuing numbness, weakness, and tingling.
What are the possible side effects of intravenous sedation?
Some of the possible side effects of intravenous sedation are drowsiness, dry mouth, nausea and vomiting, headache, bruising (from the IV), amnesia about the procedure, and crying.
What are the possible side effects of general anesthesia?
Some of the possible side effects of general anesthesia include nausea and vomiting, dry mouth, sore throat, muscle aches, headache, bruising (from the IV), itching, shivering and feeling cold, difficulty urinating, and sleepiness. In older patients, memory loss and temporary confusion are possible.
What are the alternatives to liposuction?
Healthy eating and exercise are two ways to address unwanted body fat. Another alternative is cryolipolysis, also known as fat freezing. It’s a nonsurgical procedure that uses cold temperature to reduce fat.
What kind of outcome is typical for liposuction?
Liposuction is likely to be a long-lasting option to improve your body’s contour.
Consultation and Choosing A Surgeon or Surgical Team
Do I need a referral to see a surgeon about liposuction?
You don’t need a referral to see a plastic surgeon.
What should I bring to my first appointment with a surgeon?
Insurance information, though insurance doesn’t cover most cosmetic surgery procedures Medical records, including your medical history, from your primary care physician
Do I have to get a second or third opinion for liposuction?
You can always get a second or third opinion, but it isn’t required.
How should I decide which surgeon’s advice to follow?
You should work with the surgeon with whom you feel comfortable, whether that’s one of our surgeons or not.
Will the surgical team know my health history?
Your health history will be compiled and available to the team before, during, and after surgery. If you’re a Hancock Health patient, we will be able to access your records within our system. If you aren’t, we’ll work with your doctors to get the necessary information.
Why might I have to wait to schedule liposuction?
In some cases it takes time for a patient’s body to be ready for surgery—for example, if you have another medical issue including another surgical procedure or an illness, we might wait to schedule surgery. Your health and safety are our top priorities, so we schedule surgeries when they’re best for our patients. Also, if you become pregnant or are expecting to become pregnant, your doctor might advise you to wait to have liposuction until after you give birth.
Insurance & Cost
How much does liposuction cost?
Consult the Price Transparency Tool at HancockRegionalHospital.org for an idea of how much liposuction might cost.
Will insurance cover liposuction?
Because liposuction is a cosmetic surgical procedure, it probably won’t be covered by medical insurance unless it can be connected to a medically necessary, therapeutic benefit. To obtain your possible out-of-pocket expenses, use our Price Estimator Tool.
Pre-op and Day of Surgery
How should I prepare for liposuction?
Prior to your surgery you may be asked to get lab tests or a medical evaluation. If you smoke, you’ll probably be asked to stop for several weeks. You’ll also probably be instructed not to eat anything after midnight on the day of your surgery, and you might be told to stop taking certain medications, including blood thinners or dietary supplements. (Not sure where to go to get your lab tests? Check out Gateway Hancock Health, where you’ll be able to get in and out quickly and pay, on average, 70% less than you’ll pay at a hospital.)
Why can’t I eat before surgery?
There’s a risk of aspiration, which means breathing foreign objects, like food or saliva, into your lungs. This can occur because the anesthetic for surgery can impair your body’s ability to stop the contents of your stomach from entering your lungs.
What should I expect right before liposuction?
You’ll arrive an hour before your surgery and be escorted to the preoperative waiting area.You’ll remove all of your clothing and jewelry, and put on a hospital gown. (Your valuables will be placed in a secure area or may be given to a family member.) You’ll sign any necessary paperwork and a preoperative nurse will take your vital signs, review your medications, and answer any questions.You’ll meet your surgery team and they’ll mark the location for the liposuction on your body. If your surgical team hasn’t already taken photos of the area you’re having treated, they might do so before your procedure. They will be useful later, for before and after comparisons.Your chosen method of anesthesia will be administered. When it’s time for your surgery, you will be wheeled into the operating suite on a stretcher.
Will I need someone to take me home after liposuction?
For your safety and the safety of other motorists, you will need someone to drive you home. If you don’t have a ride, we’ll help you arrange one.
Why are there so many people on my surgery team?
In addition to the surgeon, you have an anesthesiologist, nurses—some of them specialize in working with patients and others assist the surgeon—and support staff who will check you in and out, compile your records, and more. They all work together, performing their individual jobs, so the procedure is as successful as possible.
Why am I asked for my name and date of birth every time I get medicine?
It’s a safety precaution to make sure you’re receiving the medication that’s prescribed for you.
What do I need to bring to the hospital the day of my liposuction?
You’ll want to have comfortable, loose clothing. For the drive home, you’ll also want dark towels (to sit on to absorb any leaking fluids), a pillow, and soda crackers and water.
How long does it take the anesthesia to wear off?
It usually takes 30 minutes to an hour for local anesthesia to wear off, but the effects can last longer. It takes several hours for intravenous sedation to wear off though the effects can last for 24 hours. And it takes about an hour for general anesthesia to wear off, but you may notice the effects for a day or so.
What will happen during liposuction surgery?
The most common type of liposuction is tumescent liposuction. Your surgeon will start by injecting a fluid mixture—of salt water, a local anesthetic, and a drug called epinephrine—into the part of your body we’re treating. That causes the area to swell and become firmer, prepping it for fat removal. (This solution will also reduce blood loss during the procedure and bruising, pain, and swelling afterward.) Then, your surgeon makes small cuts in your skin and inserts a cannula, a thin tube connected to a vacuum that’ll suction fat out of your body. Other methods include: Power-assisted liposuction: This procedure uses a cannula, moving quickly back and forth to pull out tough fat more easily. This can be used if you want to remove larger amounts of fat or if you’ve had liposuction before. Ultrasound-assisted liposuction: This can be used with tumescent liposuction. Your surgeon will insert a metal rod that gives off ultrasonic energy under your skin, breaking apart the fat cells. Laser-assisted liposuction: The surgeon inserts a laser fiber through a small incision in the skin and your fat deposits are liquified. They can then be removed using a cannula.
When will my family be informed about how I’m doing?
Our associates will get information from the surgical team in the operating room during your surgery and keep them updated.
How long will liposuction take?
Liposuction surgery typically takes one to two hours.
How long will I be under for liposuction?
You will be anesthetized during the entire procedure but, unless you have general anesthesia, you won’t be unconscious. If you receive general anesthesia, you will wake up soon after the procedure.
What can I expect right after liposuction?
You’ll spend time in the recovery room, but you’ll likely be able to go home the same day as your procedure. There will be some pain, swelling, and bruising in the area that was treated. You’ll be told to wear compression garments for a few weeks to reduce swelling.
How will I know if the liposuction worked?
Your surgeon will discuss your procedure with you. The treated area will be less weighty when swelling from the surgery goes down and, in a few months, it will look leaner.
When will I get to talk to my surgeon after surgery?
You’ll be able to talk to your surgeon immediately after your procedure, while you’re in the recovery room.
How soon after liposuction surgery will I be up and moving around?
After a short time, you’ll be able to get up and walk, and you’ll be able to go home to continue your recovery.
Will I receive pain medication right after liposuction?
In most cases, patients receive pain medication immediately following surgery.
How soon after liposuction can I eat or drink?
You might not be able to eat or drink right away and you might be asked to follow a clear fluid diet for a short time. After that, you’ll probably be able to return to solid foods—but easy-to-digest items, including soups, pudding, and yogurt, are recommended.
Will I need to fill any prescriptions or take medication after liposuction surgery?
You’ll likely be able to control pain with over-the-counter medications, but a prescription for pain medication is possible.
Will I need to fill any prescriptions or take medication after liposuction?
You may be prescribed pain medication, anticoagulants, or other symptom-reducing medications.
Recovery and Follow-Up
How should I prepare for my at-home recovery?
Ask someone to spend at least the first few days after surgery at home with you—especially if you have children.Prepare to take it easy for a few days, so compile reading material or a list of movies or television shows you’d like to watch.Shop for groceries before your procedure and have lots of hydrating liquids and healthy foods on hand.Have dark towels available. They’ll absorb any leaking fluid.Prepare to take a week off from work.Prepare to wear compression garments or elastic bandages around the treated areas.You might have small drains at your surgical site. If so, we’ll tell you exactly how to care for them and how long they’ll be in.
Will I need any follow-up appointments or procedures after liposuction?
You’ll have a follow-up appointment with your surgeon a few days after your surgery and, again, about a month later. Following those, we’ll schedule appointments every few months to check on your results. If you have a drain, it will likely be removed at your first appointment with us.
Will there be any scarring or stitches to remove after liposuction?
Any sutures will likely be removed during your first postoperative appointment with your surgeon. You might have small scars where the incisions were placed, but significant scarring is unlikely.
How do I care for my incision at home?
Check with your surgeon on the timing of your first shower following the procedure. In some cases, you’ll be able to take one in 24 hours, but you might have to wait two to three days.You may be able to remove the outer dressings on your incisions a day after surgery—we’ll give you instructions.Don’t scrub the incision area. Just run soap and water over it.After showering, gently dry the incision areas with a clean towel.If you have steri-strips over your incision, they’ll fall off on their own within about two weeks.Make sure you wear loose clothing.For about two weeks, don’t submerge your incision in water by taking a bath or getting in a pool or hot tub. When the incisions are completely healed, feel free to resume those activities.
What should I do if I have an emergency or accident after liposuction?
Call your surgeon’s office, and, if you’re in need of immediate emergency services, go to the nearest emergency room.
When will I be able to get back to work after liposuction?
If you have a desk job, you can probably return one to three days after your procedure. If your job requires more physical movement, it could take longer.
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