Dr Kohout's Plastic Surgery Blog

What is Liposuction?

Mark Kohout - Monday, January 06, 2014

shutterstock_109378916Liposuction, which is also known as lipo, liposculpture,  suction lipectomy or lipoplasty, is usually an outpatient cosmetic surgery.

Liposuction is a procedure whereby fat is removed from the body through a cannula that is inserted under the skin. A high-pressure vacuum is applied to the cannula, which separates and sucks the fat out. The treatment is used on various parts of the body. The more common body parts for patients seeking liposuction include the stomach or abdomen, back, upper arms, buttocks, thighs and the neck and chin.

The procedure permanently removes fats cells from the body and can alter the contours and shape of a patients body. However, if the patient doesn’t have a healthy lifestyle they run the risk of the remaining fat cells growing larger.

There are various medical conditions that can be treated with the help of liposuction, including:

  • Lipodystrophy syndrome

  • Gynecomastia

  • Lipomas


Recent improvements in liposuction techniques has made it less painful, easier and much safer. These new techniques include:

  • Tumescent liposuction. Patients are administered a local anesthetic in the surrounding area where the surgeon will be inserting the cannula. The surgeon will then inject an anesthetic solution into the fatty tissue that is slated to be removed.

  • Ultrasound-assisted liposuction. In this technique, the subcutaneous fat is liquefied with ultrasound, which makes it easier for the surgeon to remove. This technique is particularly effective for those wanting to have fat removed from their back, upper abdomen and sides.

Liposuction is very popular in the United States and in the United Kingdom. In fact, it is the most common cosmetic procedure in both of those countries, with over 400,000 instances in the US each year.

Patients who choose to get liposuction normally have a stable weight but have issues losing fat in certain areas. It is important to note that liposuction is not a replacement for diet and exercise and is not a viable weight loss technique.

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