Liposuction Surgery

Quick Summary
Liposuction Surgery
To remove fat from areas of the body that haven't responded to diet and exercise
Procedure Length
45 min - 2 hours (depending upon extent of procedure)
General or local with IV sedation
Liposuction Recovery
Back to work 1-2 weeks. Strenuous activities 2-3 weeks
Type of Specialist
Plastic Surgeon
Final Results
3-6 months
Duration of Results
Permanent unless significant weight changes
Average cost of liposuction is between $1,500 to $7,500 per area

What is liposuction?

Liposuction surgery, also known as lipoplasty or suction-assisted lipectomy, is a surgical procedure that aims to remove excess fat deposits from specific areas of the body. It is not a weight-loss method but rather a contouring procedure to enhance the body’s shape and proportions. Some of the most common areas treated include the thighs, hips, buttocks and abdomen.

How much does liposuction cost?

The average cost for liposuction is between $1,500 and $7,500. There are several factors that can affect the cost of your procedure. Here are some of the top factors that influence cost.

  • Surgeon’s Fee: The experience and reputation of the surgeon performing your procedure can affect the cost. Highly skilled and well-known surgeons may charge a premium for their services.
  • Anesthesia Fees: The administration of anesthesia involves the expertise of an anesthesiologist. The type of anesthesia used, the duration of the procedure, and the qualifications of the anesthesia provider influence the anesthesia fees. General anesthesia is typically more expensive than local anesthesia with sedation.
  • Surgical Facility: The surgical facility where your liposuction is being performed may impact the cost. These fees cover the usage of the operating room and other associated services.
  • Location Matters: The cost of living and the average pricing for medical services in a particular area can affect the cost of your procedure. In general, urban areas tend to have higher procedure fees.
  • Technique Used: Different liposuction techniques may have varying costs. For example, traditional liposuction may be less expensive compared to newer techniques such as laser-assisted liposuction or ultrasound-assisted liposuction.
  • Extent of Your Procedure: The number of areas being treated and the amount of fat to be removed can affect the cost. Larger areas or multiple areas will generally require more time and effort, resulting in a higher cost.
  • Pre and Postoperative Care: The care provided before and after affects the overall cost. This includes preoperative consultations, medical tests, surgical garments, prescription medications, and follow-up appointments.
  • Additional Procedures: You may incur extra costs if you’re considering having other procedures alongside your liposuction.
  • Insurance Coverage: In certain cases, your liposuction may be covered by insurance if it is deemed medically necessary. In these instances, insurance providers may cover a portion of the procedure. However, insurance coverage can vary, and specific criteria must be met to qualify for coverage.

If you are considering liposuction, schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon. This will provide you with an opportunity to discuss your aesthetic goals and obtain a thorough understanding of the specific cost breakdown and factors that pertain to your individual case.

If cost is an issue, learn about the various liposuction financing options available to help pay for your procedure.

Average cost per body area

The specific body area being treated can also impact the overall cost. Here is the average cost range for liposuction per body area:

  1. Abdomen: $3,000 to $7,500.
  2. Thighs: $2,000 to $6,000 per leg.
  3. Hips and flanks (love handles): $2,500 to $6,000.
  4. Arms: $2,000 to $5,000.
  5. Back: $2,500 to $6,000.
  6. Neck and chin: $2,500 to $5,000.

It’s important to remember that these are average estimates, and the actual cost can vary depending on the factors mentioned above. The best way to determine the cost is to consult with a qualified plastic surgeon, who can evaluate your individual needs and provide you with a more accurate cost estimate based on your unique circumstances.

Is it covered by insurance?

In most cases, liposuction is seen as a cosmetic procedure, and health insurance typically doesn’t cover it. Insurance providers usually categorize liposuction as an elective or aesthetic treatment because its primary goal is to enhance body contours rather than address medical issues.

However, there can be exceptions in specific situations where liposuction is deemed medically necessary. For instance, if someone has a medical condition like lipedema, which leads to an abnormal buildup of fat in certain body areas, insurance providers might cover liposuction as a treatment for that condition. Similarly, if excess fat deposits are causing functional problems or physical discomfort, insurance companies might consider coverage on a case-by-case basis.

Insurance policies can vary significantly among different providers and plans. To get the most accurate information about whether your liposuction might be covered, it’s best to contact your insurance company directly.

If your insurance doesn’t cover liposuction, you may want to explore alternative financing options. These could include using personal savings, considering payment plans offered by your plastic surgeon, or looking into medical financing options through third-party providers. Your plastic surgeon or their office staff can provide you with more details on potential payment options.

Is liposuction right for you?

You may be a good candidate for liposuction if you are:

  • Healthy and have no major medical issues
  • Near your goal weight but have specific areas you wish to target for fat removal
  • Between the ages of 30 and 60, although liposuction has been successfully performed on both younger and older patients
  • Informed about the benefits and risks
  • Have good skin elasticity, which helps the body to adapt to its changing contours
  • Have realistic expectations

Liposuction surgery can be performed on patients who are overweight but whose weight has been stable over the past several years.

Liposuction is often combined with other procedures to achieve a more desirable outcome.  Some procedure commonly performed in conjunction with liposuction include abdominoplasty, breast lift surgery.

Got more questions? Read our top liposuction FAQs to get answers to the most popular questions.

Benefits of liposuction

Liposuction is a safe, effective body contouring procedure that offers the following benefits:Liposuction Benefits

  • Removes excess fat
  • Improves the overall shape of the body
  • Reduces the risks of weight-related health issues, such as heart disease and stroke
  • Boosts self-confidence

What can’t it do?

Ensuring patients have realistic expectations for their results is a goal plastic surgeons must work towards every day. For whatever reason, liposuction seems to have more misconceptions regarding its abilities than any other cosmetic procedure. In order to dispel some of these myths, these are some of the things liposuction cannot do:

  • Tighten loose, sagging skin: The majority of skin laxity, or looseness, present in your body will still remain after the procedure. Many factors can contribute to the loss of skin elasticity, including pregnancy, significant weight fluctuations, and unlucky genetics. Sometimes removing fat from beneath the skin can make this look even worse.
  • Remove stretch marks: Stretch marks are basically scars, except they occur in the dermis, the layer of skin under the outermost layer, the epidermis. Once they form they may fade over time, but they won’t fully disappear. Liposuction does nothing to address this.
  • Get rid of cellulite: Unsightly cellulite is caused by two factors. The first is the presence of fibers under the skin which pull it down. The second is fat pushing up against the skin. Liposuction can help eradicate some of the fat pushing up against the skin, but can’t do anything at all about the fibers pulling down, causing the distinctive dimpling patterns of cellulite.
  • Reduce your weight: Liposuction is not designed as a weight loss procedure, and can’t be used as one. Ideal candidates for the procedure are already close to their ideal weight or at a stable weight. This procedure is ideal for small pockets of fat that bulge and ruin your shape.

Not ready for surgery? Learn about some non-surgical alternatives to liposuction surgery.

Types of liposuction

There are several different types of liposuction techniques that can be used to remove excess fat deposits and contour the body. Here are some of the most commonly performed types of liposuction:

  1. Traditional Liposuction: Traditional liposuction, also known as suction-assisted liposuction (SAL), involves the insertion of a thin tube called a cannula into the target area. The cannula is connected to a suction device that helps remove the fat cells. The surgeon manually moves the cannula back and forth to break up the fat deposits before suctioning them out. Traditional liposuction can be performed under local anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia.
  2. Tumescent Liposuction: Tumescent liposuction is a technique that involves injecting a solution into the target area before the fat removal process. The solution contains a combination of local anesthesia, epinephrine (to constrict blood vessels and minimize bleeding), and a saline solution. The tumescent technique helps numb the area, reduce bleeding, and make the fat cells easier to remove.
  3. Power-Assisted Liposuction (PAL): Power-assisted liposuction utilizes a vibrating cannula that helps the surgeon break up the fat deposits more efficiently. The vibrating motion of the cannula facilitates the removal of fat cells with less physical effort. PAL can result in reduced surgical time and potentially less trauma to the surrounding tissues.
  4. Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction (UAL): Ultrasound-assisted liposuction utilizes ultrasound energy to liquefy the fat cells before removal. The surgeon introduces a special cannula that emits ultrasonic waves into the target area, which breaks down the fat cells, making them easier to remove. UAL is commonly used in areas with dense fat or areas that require more precision, such as the back, male breast tissue, and fibrous areas.
  5. Laser-Assisted Liposuction (LAL): Laser-assisted liposuction, also known as laser liposuction or laser lipo, utilizes laser energy to liquefy the fat cells. The surgeon inserts a thin laser fiber through a small incision, which emits laser energy to target and melt the fat cells. The liquefied fat is then removed using suction. LAL can also stimulate collagen production, leading to skin tightening.
  6. Water-Assisted Liposuction (WAL): Water-assisted liposuction, also known as water jet liposuction, uses a gentle spray of water to dislodge and remove fat cells. The surgeon introduces a fan-shaped jet of water into the target area, which helps loosen the fat cells without damaging the surrounding tissues. The fat cells are then suctioned out along with the water.

It’s important to note that the choice of liposuction technique may vary depending on factors such as the patient’s unique anatomy, the surgeon’s expertise, and the specific goals of the procedure. A consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon is important to determine the most suitable liposuction technique for an individual’s needs and desired outcomes.

What happens during the procedure

The following provides a basic overview of how a typical liposuction procedure is performed:Liposuction Procedure

  1. Anesthesia: Before the procedure, anesthesia is administered to ensure your comfort during the surgery. Depending on the extent of the liposuction and the surgeon’s preference, you may receive local anesthesia (numbing only the specific treatment area), intravenous sedation (a combination of local anesthesia and medication to relax you), or general anesthesia (you are asleep throughout the procedure).
  2. Incisions: Once the anesthesia has taken effect, the surgeon will make small incisions in the targeted area. These incisions are typically very small, ranging from a few millimeters to a centimeter in length. The incisions are strategically placed in inconspicuous areas to minimize visible scarring.
  3. Tumescent technique: To facilitate fat removal, the surgeon injects a tumescent solution into the treatment area. This solution contains a combination of saline (saltwater), local anesthesia, and epinephrine (a drug that helps constrict blood vessels). The tumescent solution helps numb the area, minimize bleeding, and facilitate fat removal.
  4. Fat removal: A thin, hollow tube called a cannula is inserted through the incisions into the fatty tissue. The surgeon moves the cannula back and forth to break up the fat cells and suction them out. The cannula is connected to a suction device, which provides the necessary suction to remove the fat.
  5. Contouring: The surgeon carefully maneuvers the cannula to sculpt and contour the treated area, creating the desired shape and proportions. This step requires skill and precision to achieve the desired aesthetic outcome.
  6. Closure and compression: Once the desired amount of fat has been removed and the desired contour achieved, the surgeon will close the incisions using sutures or adhesive strips. Compression garments or bandages may be applied to the treated area to help reduce swelling, promote healing, and provide support to the newly contoured area.

The specific techniques used during liposuction can vary depending on the surgeon’s preference and the patient’s unique needs. Advanced techniques such as laser-assisted liposuction or ultrasound-assisted liposuction may be employed to aid in fat removal and improve the results.

It’s important to note that liposuction is a surgical procedure, and there are risks involved. It should be performed by an experienced plastic surgeon in an accredited facility to ensure safety and achieve optimal results.

Recovery time

Liposuction Recovery Compression Garments

Liposuction Recovery Compression Garments Photo Courtesy of

On average, it can take patients up to 3 to 6 months to heal completely following liposuction surgery.  Learn more about the liposuction recovery timeline and tips to ensure a successful outcome.

When will you see results?

Results of liposuction will be visible immediately, but postoperative swelling will take a few months to fully subside. The type of liposuction, the treatment area, and the quality of postoperative care all influence how quickly your swelling will resolve. On average, it takes 3-6 months to see your final liposuction results.

How long will your results last?

The the most part, your liposuction results will be permanent unless significant weight changes occur.