Nip & Tuck: What to Know about Liposuction

THE TRUTH ABOUT LIPOSUCTION. Dr. Sam Speron reveals what every patient should know before undergoing liposuction


Liposuction is the surgical removal of excess fat, offering a better contour and shape to the body. As people gain and lose weight, certain areas of the body tend to develop deposits of unwanted fat that can be difficult to get rid of through diet and exercise. Liposuction can offer permanent removal of these fatty cells. Liposuction can be performed on patients of any age, but the best results are seen in patients who have skin that has not lost its elasticity—i.e. the younger the skin, the better the result.


To be a good candidate for liposuction surgery, you should have realistic expectations about what the procedure can do for you. Liposuction is not a substitute for overall weight loss, nor is it an effective treatment for cellulite—a condition that gives the skin an uneven, dimpled appearance. The liposuction procedure is intended to decrease localized fat deposits that diet and exercise cannot remove. The best results from liposuction are obtained in patients who make exercise and proper nutrition an essential part of their postoperative regimen.

Because of individual factors, such as skin elasticity and body type, not everyone will achieve the same result from liposuction. People with pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, significant heart or lung disease or poor blood circulation are also at a greater risk for complications from liposuction. Your medical condition and surgical expectations should be discussed in full with your surgeon in order to make sure that liposuction is an appropriate option for you.


The subject of potential complications of liposuction is best discussed on a personal basis between you and your surgeon, or with a staff member in your surgeon’s office. Some of the potential complications that may be discussed with you include bleeding, infection and reactions to anesthesia. While numbness of the skin following liposuction is almost always temporary, it is possible for some lack of sensation to persist or for skin discoloration to appear in treated areas. Contour irregularities after liposuction including depressions or wrinkling of the skin can result in some patients, but treatments are usually available.


If you are a smoker, you will be asked to stop smoking well in advance of surgery. Smoking damages your skin cells, ultimately slowing down the healing process after surgery. Your surgeon will provide detailed information about what medications can or cannot be taken, as well as what to eat or drink the day of surgery. You should arrange for someone to take you home from surgery, and if necessary, someone may need to stay with you for the first night.


Liposuction can be performed in an office-based facility, a surgery center or an outpatient hospital facility. Various types of anesthesia can be used for liposuction procedures. Together, you and your surgeon will select the type of anesthesia that provides the safest and most effective level of comfort during your surgery.

When the procedure is completed, you will be taken into recovery where you will be closely monitored. A compressive dressing or specially designed garment may have been placed over the areas that were operated on. Your surgeon will tell you how long you should wear the liposuction garment and will instruct you on how to remove it so that you may shower or bathe.

You probably will be permitted to go home after a few hours, although some liposuction patients may be required to stay overnight in the hospital or surgical facility.


“Liposuction is not a substitute for overall weight loss, nor is it an effective treatment for cellulite”



The day after surgery, you should move around a bit to promote circulation. You should restrict yourself to these movements for the first few days. Remember, you must not take aspirin or certain anti-inflammatory medications, and you should not smoke for a while following surgery.

When your dressings are removed by your surgeon, you will notice swelling and bruising, which is to be expected. Swelling usually begins to subside a week or so following surgery, while bruising can last three weeks or longer. There may also be numbness in some areas, and it may take several weeks before feeling returns. If stitches need to be removed, this is typically done within five to seven days after surgery.


Liposuction will reduce areas of fatty deposits, often making patients more self-confident. The healing process is gradual, so you should expect to wait a while before fully enjoying the results of your liposuction. Even if you gain a few extra pounds, you may find that the weight is distributed more evenly instead of accumulating in the areas that were problematic for you in the past. The best results after liposuction are obtained in patients who are motivated, exercise regularly and follow proper nutritional advice.

Dr. Sam Speron from Chicago is recognized as a leading expert on plastic surgery. Details regarding his service can be found at