Liposuction: Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions related to liposuction.

Q: Is liposuction for me if I am very overweight?

A: No, liposuction is not recommended for very heavy people. The procedure can safely remove only moderate volumes of fat. Therefore, it is most suitable for people who are only slightly overweight or of normal weight but whose fat cells have distributed unusually thickly in certain parts of the body and are not affected by exercise.

Q: Where on the body do people most often have liposuction done?

A: The most commonly treated areas are:

  • Thighs
  • Hips
  • Belly
  • Legs (including knees and ankles)
  • Buttocks
  • Face and neck
  • Upper arms
  • Breasts

Q: Will liposuction reduce cellulite?

A: No, liposuction will not improve cellulite, which is a collection of fat that causes the skin to look lumpy or dimpled. It could even make cellulite worse.

Q: Is liposuction done on an outpatient basis?

A: Yes, liposuction often is done in a physician’s office surgical suite or in an outpatient surgery center. Even if you get liposuction in a hospital, you probably will be able to go home the same day unless you are having a large amount of fat removed.

Q: How soon can I return to work after liposuction?

A: How much time you will need to take off work depends on your general fitness and the extent of your surgery. Most people who have a small area treated may return to non-strenuous work within several days or a week. If you have a larger area treated, you may need up to three weeks of rest before you may return to work. Ultrasound-assisted liposuction may require two weeks of recovery without work.

Q: Is liposuction safe?

A: As with any surgery, liposuction has risks. However, improved techniques have increased the safety of this procedure. Some estimates put the risk of major complications from liposuction at less than 0.5 percent. If you are considering having liposuction, talk to your surgeon about any safety concerns that you may have.

Q: Will my insurance pay for liposuction?

A: Liposuction is considered a cosmetic procedure and therefore is not covered by most insurance plans. The cost varies greatly, depending on the location of the fat to be removed and the extent of the procedure. Ask your surgeon about cost and possible payment options at your initial visit.

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