What It Does

Lipoplasty, more commonly known as liposuction, is the removal of fat deposits to help reshape and contour the body. It is most commonly used to sculpt and slim the hips and thighs, flatten the abdomen, and remove excess fat from the chin and other areas of the body.  Liposuction is also commonly used in tandem with other plastic surgery techniques such as tummy tucks (abdominoplasty) and breast reductions.

Procedure Basics

While advancements in liposuction technology have made some variations of the procedure less invasive (such as ultrasound and laser technologies), it is still considered a surgery.  After the administration of anesthesia, small incisions are made in the target areas and a sterile solution is infused into the areas to reduce trauma and bleeding. A thin, hollow tube, or cannula, is inserted into the incisions and used to dislodge the fat deposits using a controlled back and forth movement. The fat is then suctioned out of the area through the cannula with an attached vacuum or syringe.


If your liposuction is to be performed as an outpatient surgery, be sure to have someone available to pick you up and stay with you following your procedure. Following your doctor’s post-operative instructions will be critical to successful healing and optimal results. You may need to wear compression garments or bandages to help control swelling and press the skin to your new body contours during the healing process. It will be critical to avoid stress or pulling on the treated areas for several days following surgery to ensure complete healing. Small tubes, or drains, may be placed in one or more incisions to allow excess fluids to drain, but these are temporary and will be removed by your surgeon.

Although the results of liposuction surgery may be apparent once the initial swelling has subsided, it may take several months for complete healing to occur and for the results of your procedure to be fully visible.

Additional Information

Although liposuction may seem to be a less invasive surgery with inconsequential risks, it actually carries many of the same risks as any surgery, including fat clots, blood clots, poor wound healing, anesthesia risks, changes in skin coloration or sensation, scarring, excessive fluid accumulation, asymmetry, uneven contours, and other concerns. Your doctor will discuss these and other risks based on your medical history and current state of health.

Liposuction is not a replacement for exercise and diet. The most successful candidates for liposuction are within 30% of their idea weight and have stubborn fat deposits. If large amounts of fat are removed, your surgeon may need to perform additional plastic surgery procedures to excise and tighten loose skin or produce more symmetrical contours. Although the removal of the fatty deposits is permanent, unless a healthy diet and exercise are maintained, additional weight gain will reduce the results of liposuction surgery. Current research suggests that fat can re-accumulate in the treated area, or in new areas of the body, if a healthy weight is not maintained. Despite this, most patients remain satisfied with the results of their procedure.

Additional Resources

There is a wealth of information available concerning liposuction surgery (lipoplasty) provided by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (www.plasticsurgery.org) ; click on “Cosmetic” and choose from the list of procedures. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, Inc. (www.surgery.org) also provides in-depth information; choose “Procedures” for a list of topics.

To schedule a consultation to discuss liposuction surgery with Dr. Christine Kelley, please call 317/575-0330.