Liposuction is an effective procedure to help remove isolated areas of fat that cannot be managed through diet and exercise. It can be effective on many areas of the body: arms, abdomen, hips, thighs, calves, ankles, and under the chin.

Liposuction is not effective for cellulite and is not recommended for overweight patients.

Results are usually best in patients with good skin tone and elasticity.


Before committing to liposuction, your plastic surgeon will:

  • assess the quality of your skin
  • assess the degree of localized fat excess
  • assess the degree of cellulite or dimpling in the area(s)


Liposuction involves removing fat by inserting a small tube (cannula) through tiny incisions close to the affected area. Incisions are very small – usually 1-2 cm. Typically, a fluid is first injected in to the area to assist in separating the fat cells and to reduce the degree of bleeding. The fat is then removed with the cannula, occasionally with the assistance of energy technologies such as ultrasound, laser or radio frequency.

Recovery and possible complications

Though infrequent, complications may include:

  • bleeding
  • infection
  • reaction to anesthesia
  • skin discoloration in the treated areas
  • irregularities of the skin surface, including depressions or wrinkling – you may be asked to wear a compression garment for the first several weeks after surgery so that the tissue can “learn” its new shape
  • skin numbness – this is to be expected and is usually only temporary.

It is possible, however, for some numbness to persist or even be permanent

Patients can usually return to work in just a few days, though some swelling and bruising may persist. This usually subsides within a couple of weeks.

Note that it is not uncommon for a touch-up to be required later to further improve an area that has been liposuctioned.