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What is Body Sculpting Liposuction?

Liz Fernandez
Liz Fernandez

Body sculpting liposuction is a surgical procedure that removes fat from targeted areas of the body. The abdomen, hips, thighs, and buttocks are the most common areas that undergo liposuction. Cosmetic surgeons remove extra body fat from these areas in an attempt to sculpt a more svelte physique for patients. People who have average body weight but have stubborn deposits of fat in specific areas of their bodies typically are candidates for this type of cosmetic surgery.

Generally, body sculpting liposuction will not help patients lose weight. Instead, it helps treat isolated areas of the body that are not being sculpted by dieting and exercise. If a patient who undergoes body sculpting liposuction maintains his or her weight, however, the results of the contouring surgery typically will remain. This is especially true for those who have good skin tone or good skin elasticity. Although liposuction can do wonders for the slimming of certain body parts, it cannot remove cellulite dimpling.


The actual body sculpting liposuction procedure may take place in the doctor’s office or at the hospital, depending upon the amount of fat that needs to be removed. A patient may receive general anesthesia or simply have the area injected with a numbing solution. The surgeon will then create tiny incisions — about a third of an inch (about 8.38 mm) — in the area. A cannula inserted into the fat layer beneath the skin breaks up and suctions away fat as the surgeon moves it back and forth. The incisions are then either closed with stitches or left open to drain fluid.

This type of cosmetic surgery is a major procedure and therefore has risks associated with it. These include bleeding, infection, and negative reactions to anesthesia. The risks of body sculpting liposuction vary depending on the health of the patient and on the extent of the surgery. It generally is recommended that patients be in good health and not have any conditions that restrict blood flow or weaken the immune system before undergoing the surgery.

Complications during body sculpting liposuction include contour irregularities, numbness, infections, internal organ punctures, and death. Irregularities usually are a result of uneven fat removal. Numbness can be temporary or permanent. Depending on the severity of infections, this complication may require further surgery. Internal puncturing of organs is rare but also could require more surgery and sometimes can be fatal — the majority of deaths that occur during liposuction are as a result of anesthesia complications.

Most patients experience pain and bruising after the surgery. A patient typically will need to wait several days before returning to work and several weeks before resuming an exercise routine after undergoing body sculpting liposuction. Swelling in the area generally needs to subside before a patient can start to see the results. This usually takes about four weeks. The finished product will be completely visible six months after the surgery when the area should appear leaner and tighter.

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