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Liposuction is surgery to remove extra fat from under your skin.


Before your surgery:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • Blood tests: You may need blood taken to give caregivers information about how your body is working. The blood may be taken from your hand, arm, or IV.
  • Chest x-ray: This is a picture of your lungs and heart. Caregivers use it to see how your lungs and heart are doing. Caregivers may use the x-ray to look for signs of infection like pneumonia, or to look for collapsed lungs. Chest x-rays may show tumors, broken ribs, or fluid around the heart and lungs.
  • Heart monitor: This is also called an ECG or EKG. Sticky pads placed on your skin record your heart's electrical activity.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
  • Pre-Op Care: You may be asked to stand while your caregiver uses a marker to outline the areas to be liposuctioned. Care will be taken to protect your privacy. You may be given medicine right before surgery. This medicine may make you feel sleepy and more relaxed. Caregivers will help you get comfortable on the bed. A belt may be put over your legs for safety. If you get cold, ask for more blankets.
  • Anesthesia: This medicine is given to make you comfortable. You may not feel discomfort, pressure, or pain. An adult will need to drive you home and should stay with you for 24 hours. Ask your caregiver if you can drive or use machinery within 24 hours. Also ask if and when you can drink alcohol or use over-the-counter medicine. You may not want to make important decisions until 24 hours have passed.
    • General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Anesthesia may be given through your IV. You may instead breathe it in through a mask or a tube placed down your throat. The tube may cause you to have a sore throat when you wake up.
    • Local or monitored anesthesia: Anesthesia is medicine that keeps you from feeling pain during surgery or a procedure. Local anesthesia is a shot of numbing medicine put into the skin where you will have surgery. You will be fully awake during the surgery or procedure. You may feel pressure or pushing, but you will not feel pain. Monitored anesthesia means you will also be given medicine through an IV. This medicine keeps you comfortable, relaxed, and drowsy during the surgery or procedure.
    • Regional anesthesia: Medicine is injected to numb the body area where the surgery or procedure will be done. You will remain awake during the surgery or procedure.

During your surgery:

  • Caregivers clean the skin over the treatment area with soap and water. Large amounts of saline with local anesthesia and blood clotting medicine are put under the skin. This shrinks blood vessels and numbs the area, decreasing pain and bleeding. This liquid will drain out after surgery.
  • Very small incisions are made in several places, depending on the areas to be liposuctioned. The incisions are hidden when possible in the natural skin folds of your body. A long, thin tube hooked to suction is put into the incisions. The suction tube is moved back and forth under the skin to break up and remove the extra fat. If you are having ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty, a special tube that produces ultrasonic energy is used first. As it is passed through the areas of fat, the energy bursts the walls of the fat cells. This turns the fat into liquid, which is also suctioned out.

After your surgery:

You are taken to a room where you can rest until you either wake up or feeling returns to the numbed area. You are then allowed to go home. If you are staying in the hospital you may be taken back to your room. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay. Bandages are used to cover your stitches and help prevent infection. You will wear one or more pressure garments (girdle, abdominal binder, scrotal support or ace wraps) over the areas treated. The type of pressure garments used depends on what areas were liposuctioned. These pressure garments help mold your body to decrease the chance of dimpling, bulges, and other irregularities.

  • Take deep breaths and cough 10 times each hour. This will decrease your risk for a lung infection. Take a deep breath and hold it for as long as you can. Let the air out and then cough strongly. Deep breaths help open your airway. You may be given an incentive spirometer to help you take deep breaths. Put the plastic piece in your mouth and take a slow, deep breath, then let the air out and cough. Repeat these steps 10 times every hour.
  • Drains: These are thin rubber tubes put into your skin to drain fluid from around your incision. The drains are taken out when the incision stops draining.
  • Medicines:
    • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
    • Antinausea medicine: This medicine may be given to calm your stomach and to help prevent vomiting.
    • Pain medicine: Caregivers may give you medicine to take away or decrease your pain.
      • Do not wait until the pain is severe to ask for your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease. The medicine may not work as well at controlling your pain if you wait too long to take it.
      • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling a caregiver when you want to get out of bed or if you need help.
    • Steroids: This medicine may be given to decrease inflammation.


  • You may bleed more than usual or get an infection. You could have trouble breathing or get blood clots. Caregivers will watch you closely and work to decrease these problems. You will have bruises and swelling in the areas liposuctioned. This bruising and swelling may also be in areas below the area treated. The swelling may last 2 to 3 months after surgery.
  • Parts of your skin that had liposuction may be numb after surgery. This numbness usually goes away 2 to 4 months after surgery. You may have loose skin in the treated areas after surgery. Skin usually tightens without further treatment 4 to 6 months after surgery. You may want surgery later to remove some excess skin. Cellulite and other skin problems that were present before surgery will still be present after surgery.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.