What Is Liposuction?

Liposuction is surgery to improve the contour of your body by removing pockets of excess fat from specific areas of the body. “Lipo” comes from the Greek word “lipos,” meaning fat. Other names for liposuction are lipoplasty and suction lipectomy.

Liposuction uses suction to remove fat deposits. The suction is provided by a vacuum-like device or sometimes by a large syringe. The suction device is inserted through a small incision in the body, and the surgeon suctions out the fat tissue.

Liposuction is not an alternative to weight loss if you are overweight. But it offers a way to a smoother, trimmer body for those with extra pockets of fat that won’t go away with weight loss or exercise.

The best candidates for liposuction are people who:

  • Are close to normal weight
  • Have pockets of excess fat, but with firm skin
  • Are physically and psychologically healthy
  • Have realistic expectations about what they hope the procedure will do for them

Liposuction can remove fat from many different areas of the body, including the thighs, hips, abdomen, buttocks, breasts, waist, upper arms, and neck.

The techniques to perform liposuction have improved significantly in the past decade.

Nice To Know:

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 in the body and the extent of the procedure. Ask your surgeon about cost and possible payment options at your initial visit.

Facts about liposuction:

  • Liposuction is one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries done today.
  • In 1998, more than 200,000 people had this procedure performed on them, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
  • Since liposuction was introduced in the early 1980s, the safety of this surgery has greatly improved. New techniques and better equipment also have reduced side effects such as bleeding and swelling.
  • Some estimates put the risk of major complications from liposuction at less than 0.5 percent.
  • Liposuction is considered a cosmetic procedure and therefore is not covered by most insurances.

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