December 2022

How safe is liposuction really and what are the benefits?

Liposuction is a very common cosmetic surgery. It is the most common surgical procedure for those between 25 and 64. You may hear of liposuction in passing, but what really is this procedure that is so popular and is it actually safe?


What is liposuction?


Suction-assisted lipectomy or liposuction is an outpatient procedure. This procedure involves removing adipose tissue to achieve body contour. Another advantage of liposuction is that the removal of fat cells limits the future collection of fat in those areas. This procedure allows doctors to semi-permanently redistribute fat in the body.

Liposuction is also used in reconstructive surgery. Breast and facial reconstruction use liposuction when fat is reinjected into tissues during the surgery. Another popular use of liposuction is the gluteal fat transfer or the Brazilian butt lift. In this procedure, a high volume of fat is transferred from the abdomen or inner thighs to the buttocks. This creates a body contour of slim legs, waist, and round buttocks.

Gluteal fat transfers have become one of the most popular surgical procedures. This is often due to the popularity and trends that plastic surgery is associated with. While liposuction can be an excellent option for many, it is recommended that you seek out plastic surgeons with the appropriate certifications in the nation you choose to have the surgery completed. [1]


How safe is liposuction?


Liposuction is a relatively low-risk procedure. Complications and mortality are rare with liposuction. The most common complication of liposuction is contour deformity. This can look like folds or wrinkles on the skin. Seroma and hematoma are also rare, but possible complications of liposuction. Infection is also rare, but possible. Surgeons with high expertise tend to have the lowest rates of infections with their patients. Infections can be dangerous and could lead to life-threatening sepsis.

Some other surgery complications of liposuction include edema, lymphedema, wound dehiscence, and scars forming. To avoid complications with liposuction you should research your surgeon choice well and feel comfortable with you and your surgeon's plans for the procedure. [1]

Liposuction has been improved over the years to be a safer procedure. There have been improvements in technique, outcomes, and safety. The anesthesia used for liposuction is very safe and the tools used for liposuction are safe as well. Devices used for liposuction such as radiofrequency-assisted liposuction have been developed to be a safer way to perform liposuction, and these devices are also very effective. [2]


What are the benefits of liposuction?


The benefits of liposuction for most are a more contoured body and redistributing fat. Many people feel more confident in their bodies after liposuction. You can take fat from your arms, legs, or abdomen and transfer it somewhere else in your body if you wish. Many people enjoy this control over their bodies. It is an added benefit that after the fat is removed, it is unlikely to return.

Liposuction is also a treatment for the disorder lipedema. Lipedema is a disorder where there is a large amount of fat in the upper and lower legs. This disorder is most common in females. This condition is rare, but it can be difficult to diagnose. Liposuction is the main surgical treatment for lipedema. This can remove some of the build-ups of fat in patients and relieve some of the symptoms associated with lipedema.

Liposuction can help many people feel more confident in their skin and treat disorders like lipedema. [3]



[1] Wu S, Coombs DM, Gurunian R. Liposuction: Concepts, safety, and techniques in body-contouring surgery. Cleve Clin J Med. 2020 Jun;87(6):367-375. doi: 10.3949/ccjm.87a.19097. Erratum in: Cleve Clin J Med. 2020 Jul 31;87(8):476. PMID: 32487557.

[2] Chia CT, Marte JA, Ulvila DD, Theodorou SJ. Second Generation Radiofrequency Body Contouring Device: Safety and Efficacy in 300 Local Anesthesia Liposuction Cases. Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2020 Sep 24;8(9):e3113. doi: 10.1097/GOX.0000000000003113. PMID: 33133962; PMCID: PMC7544184.

[3] Peprah K, MacDougall D. Liposuction for the Treatment of Lipedema: A Review of Clinical Effectiveness and Guidelines [Internet]. Ottawa (ON): Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health; 2019 Jun 7. PMID: 31479212.