Cosmetic Procedures

One of the most popular cosmetic procedures in the United States, liposuction is used to remove small pockets of fat and re-sculpt the treated area. This procedure is suitable for people who are at or near their ideal body weight and have an area of fat that seems resistant to diet and exercise.

Also Called

  • Liposculpture

  • Tumescent liposuction

Signs of Aging Treated
Dermatologists use a procedure called “tumescent liposuction” to safely and effectively remove fat from most areas of the body, including the:

  • Abdomen

  • Ankles

  • Arms (upper)

  • Back

  • Breast

  • Buttocks

  • Calves

  • Hips

  • Jawline (to diminish jowls)

  • Knees

  • Neck (effective for removing fat deposits in the neck that cause a droopy appearance)

  • Thighs (inner and outer)

Tumescent liposuction also is used for non-cosmetic purposes. It can effectively remove a fatty noncancerous tumor (lipoma) or treat excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis). Many patients prefer liposuction to surgical excision for treating their lipomas because liposuction does not leave a scar. Surgical excision is necessary when the tumor could be something other than a lipoma.

What Happens During Liposuction?
If you are considering liposuction and want to know what would happen if you underwent this procedure, visit: Liposuction: What to Expect Before, During, and After.

When See Results from Liposuction
You will see some immediate change, and over a period of 6 to 12 months, there will be continual improvement.

People often notice better skin contour as their skin retracts. Even people over 40 years of age see some skin retraction. If the neck or jawline is treated, wrinkles on the face may diminish as the skin retracts.

To obtain the best cosmetic results, dermatologists recommend maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and eating a nutritious well-balanced diet.

The procedure used by dermatologists, which may be called tumescent liposuction, is a mature procedure. This means that most patients obtain predictable results while undergoing a safe and effective procedure. Tumescent liposuction is considered extremely effective for removing fat that remains despite diet and exercise.

Possible Side Effects
When liposuction was introduced, there was the potential for some serious side effects including excessive blood loss and a long recovery time. Advances in liposuction have eliminated these early risks. Today, liposuction has an excellent safety record.

Dermatologists are committed to maintaining this excellent safety record. To demonstrate this commitment, the American Academy of Dermatology Association was the first medical group to publish guidelines of care for liposuction. These guidelines recommend that:

  • Liposuction should not be performed under general anesthesia;

  • It should be performed on healthy individuals;

  • Liposuction is not a procedure for the treatment of obesity and should not be used to extract large amounts of fat; and

  • Liposuction should not be performed along with other procedures.

Making sure that liposuction is performed per these guidelines and following the post-procedure instructions will significantly reduce the potential for side effects. Possible side effects include infection, a dimpled texture, loose skin, and excessive bleeding.

After the procedure, there is typically some bruising, swelling, and discomfort. These are normal and temporary. Some people may see skin darkening where an incision was made. This can be effectively treated.

How Long Results Last
Liposuction can permanently eliminate stubborn fat from most areas of the body. Exercising regularly, eating a well-balanced diet, and staying at a healthy weight can help maintain results. Even with weight gain, fat is less likely to accumulate in the treated area.

Related Links
10 Questions to Ask Before a Cosmetic Procedure
Tumescent Liposuction (AAD pamphlet)

American Academy of Dermatology, “The Facts about Liposuction: Dermatologist Dispels Myths About the Battle of the Bulge.” News release issued October 13, 2004. Last accessed October 3, 2008.

Coleman WP and Flynn TC. “Liposuction.” In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Rapini RP et al, editors. Dermatology. 2nd edition. Spain, Mosby Elsevier; 2008. p. 2345-53.

Johnson DS, Lillis PJ, Kaminer MS. “Liposuction.” In: Kaminer MS, Dover JS, Arndt KA, editors. Atlas of Cosmetic Surgery. United States of America, W. B. Saunders Company; 2002. p. 194-230.

Lawrence N. “Liposuction.” In: Sadick N, Lawrence N, Moy R, et al. Concise Manual of Dermatologic Surgery. China, McGraw-Hill Companies; 2008. p. 57-68.

Lawrence N, Coleman WP, 3rd. “Liposuction.” J Am Acad Dermatol 2002; 47: 105-8.

Leonard AL, Hanke CW. “Liposuction.” In: Wolff K, Goldsmith LA, Katz SI et al, editors. Fitzpatrick’s Dermatology in General Medicine. 7th edition. United States of America, McGraw Hill Medical; 2008. p. 2378-88.

All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology

  • Dermatologists developed many of the advances in liposuction.

  • Dermatology is the only medical specialty that includes liposuction training in its residency requirements.





© American Academy of Dermatology, 2010  All rights reserved.
Page last updated 11/13/08

Disclaimer            Copyright Information