What is Knee Liposuction? (with picture)

Marjorie McAtee
Marjorie McAtee
A diagram of the knee, including ligaments.
A diagram of the knee, including ligaments.

Knee liposuction is a type of liposuction aimed at removing the fatty deposits that can accumulate above the kneecap. Fatty deposits can form above the kneecap with age. It can be difficult to remove body fat from the knee area with diet and exercise alone. Knee fat can accumulate even when the legs enjoy otherwise good muscle tone. A knee liposuction procedure can remove knee fat and restore the leg to a slimmer appearance.

Most cosmetic surgeons prefer to perform knee liposuction, and other liposuction procedures, on healthy patients who do not smoke. The ideal patient is not obese, but has less than 25 percent excess body fat. People who still have relatively young, supple skin generally do better with this procedure, since the skin of the knee is not as likely to sag after recovery.

Patients are usually asked to avoid tobacco and alcohol for a few weeks before undergoing knee liposuction. Blood tests and other tests may be performed to ascertain the patient's good health before the surgery is performed. The knee liposuction surgery generally takes about an hour to complete, and may be performed as an outpatient procedure. Patients having outpatient knee liposuction should generally arrange for transportation home after the surgery, since driving immediately after the procedure is not typically recommended.

Local anesthetics are usually used to numb the knee area before liposuction, though general anesthesia is usually only administered if multiple liposuction procedures are to be performed at once on the same patient. The surgeon will probably make two incisions in the skin of the knee, one on each side of the kneecap. The surgeon generally removes fat from under the skin by inserting a small tube known as a cannula into the incisions. Sometimes, chemical solutions are injected to liquefy the subcutaneous fat. Vacuum devices are usually used to remove the fatty tissue by suction.

Liposuction on the knee can be particularly tricky, since the surgeon must remove fat while ensuring that the knee and leg maintain a natural appearance. Tight support bandages are generally applied to the knee to help shape the treatment area as it heals. The bandage may need to be worn for a few weeks after the surgery. Patients are usually able to walk the day of the surgery, and can normally return to work and other routine activities within a week. Complete recovery can require as long as six months.

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    • A diagram of the knee, including ligaments.
      A diagram of the knee, including ligaments.