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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 31, 2022.

What do I need to know about liposuction?

Liposuction, or body contouring, is surgery to remove extra fat from under your skin.

How do I prepare for liposuction?

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for surgery. Your provider may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your surgery. Your provider will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your surgery. Do not take NSAIDs, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, or blood thinners for 2 weeks before surgery, or as directed. You may need to bathe with an antiseptic medicine the night before, or the morning of, surgery. Arrange to have someone drive you home and stay with you to make sure you are okay.

What will happen during liposuction?

  • You may be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. You may instead be given local or regional anesthesia to numb the surgery area. With local or regional anesthesia, you may still feel pressure or pushing during surgery, but you should not feel any pain. Small incisions will be made in several places, depending on the surgery area. Saline (saltwater solution) with numbing and blood clotting medicine will be injected under your skin. This solution shrinks blood vessels, numbs the area, and decreases pain and bleeding after surgery.
  • Your surgeon will put a long, thin tube into the incisions. The tube is hooked to suction and is moved back and forth under the skin to remove extra fat. Your surgeon may use ultrasound energy to help remove fat cells. The incisions may be closed with stitches. Some of the smaller incisions may be left open to drain extra liquid.

What will happen after liposuction?

A bandage and pressure garment will cover the treated areas. You may have some drainage for 1 to 2 days after surgery. Your surgery areas will be bruised and swollen. Swelling will be worst between 3 to 5 days after surgery. Most of the swelling goes away by 6 weeks after surgery. It may take 4 to 5 months for all of the swelling to go away.

What are the risks of liposuction?

You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. You may develop a buildup of fluid, called a seroma. You may have numbness in or around your surgery areas. You may have loose skin in the treated areas, or it may look or feel lumpy. The skin usually tightens within 4 to 6 months after surgery. You may get a blood clot in your limb. This may become life-threatening.

Care Agreement

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 healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

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