All about liposuction: techniques and risks

Written by: Top Doctors®
Edited by: Top Doctors®

Liposuction is used to target fat in certain “problem zones” such as the hips, legs, buttocks, thighs, and stomach. Over the years, surgical techniques of liposuction have improved greatly, making the operation less painful and safer.

Why choose liposuction?

The purpose of lipo is to alter the body shape aesthetically, particularly when dieting and exercise has failed. Generally speaking, surgeons say that overweight people should not undergo liposuction, and that it is not a substitute for eating healthily and exercising. Liposuction, for this reason, is usually carried out on people of a normal weight, who have perhaps developed certain fatty areas in the body that they are unable to get rid of regardless of the amount of effort they put in.


Surgical liposuction

Depending on the quantity of fat to be removed, traditional liposuction surgery takes around 1 to 3 hours. Fat is sucked out using a vacuum pump or a syringe. This technique of liposuction is favourable for targeting large zones of the body such as the thighs or bottom, and giving immediate results.


Ultrasound-assisted liposuction

This form of liposuction involves using ultrasound to turn the fat into liquid, thus making it easier to remove. This technique might be used to remove fat from areas such as the back of the neck, back, and sides.


Laser liposuction

Also known as liposculpture, laser liposuction is another alternative to traditional surgical liposuction, used to target certain areas of the body that are harder to access. Sometimes suction will be used with laser liposuction, but it is not always necessary. It is a less invasive form of lipouction wherein the cannula is used to hold a laser that zaps the fatty deposits in hard to reach areas.


Liposuction risks

As with any kind of operation, liposuction always carries the risk of excessive bleeding, blood clots, infection, or a reaction to the anaesthetic.

Risks more specific to liposuction are:


  • Internal organ damage
  • Uneven results
  • Lumps
  • Change in skin colour of treated zone
  • Haematoma (bleeding beneath the skin)
  • Pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs)

If you are considering undergoing liposuction, speak to a specialist to find out if it’s right for you. 


By Topdoctors
Plastic surgery

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