How Safe is Liposuction?

I'm 5'3", 135 lbs and have a stubborn spot of fat between my inner thighs. I exercise quite frequently but the fat on my inner thighs won't go away. I'm interested in getting liposuction but I'm worried about the safety of the procedure. Is liposuction safe? Or do you think I am being a big baby and worrying about nothing! Thank you for looking at my question doctors.  

NYFitGirl

F, 38, New York

Liposuction is both safe and effective when performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon. However, as with any invasive surgery it comes with certain risks — especially when general anesthesia is involved.

Liposuction techniques such as tumescent liposuction are an excellent way to remove excess fat and stubborn fat deposits that don’t respond to diet or exercise. Liposuction results are permanent because the fat cells that are suctioned away do not come back. However, it is important to understand that other fat cells near the targeted areas can grow if you gain weight.

In order to preserve the results of liposuction surgery you will need to adhere to a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise. To learn more, schedule a consultation with a plastic surgeon who has been certified by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Liposuction is an effective fat removal method with an excellent safety profile when performed by a surgeon who specializes in body contouring procedures.

That being said, all surgeries come with risks. Common side effects of liposuction include numbness, infection, and scarring. Also, if too much fat is extracted the treatment area may take on a lumpy or “dented” appearance. An experienced board-certified plastic surgeon should be able to take precautions to avoid this effect.

Thanks to a modern technique called tumescent liposuction, the procedure can often now be performed with local anesthetic instead of general anesthesia, thereby reducing the risk of anesthesia-related complications. It should be noted, however, that this technique may not be effective for large body areas or large volumes of fat.

It should also be noted that liposuction is not a weight loss procedure and therefore not a solution to treat obesity.

Dr. Landon Pryor has 1 Liposuction, Tummytuck before & after:

Liposuction, Tummytuck before image performed by Dr. Landon PryorLiposuction, Tummytuck after image performed by Dr. Landon Pryor

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Liposuction is a safe procedure so long as you choose the right surgeon. One of the most popular plastic surgery procedures, liposuction has a long track record of safe, successful results — when performed by board-certified plastic surgeons.

The same cannot be said about this cosmetic procedure when it is performed by other types of physicians. The most risky liposuction procedures are large-volume liposuction performed by non-board-certified-plastic-surgeons in facilities that are not accredited by one of the major accreditation organizations.

Of course, as with any surgical procedure there are inherent risks that come with liposuction as well, even when performed by a qualified plastic surgeon. These include anesthesia-related complications, infection, swelling and others.

There is also the possibility you won’t be satisfied with your results. If this is the case, you may be able to achieve your desired result through additional liposuction treatments or other procedures. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with a board-certified plastic surgeon to learn more.

Dr. Jonathan Heistein has 4 Liposuction before & afters:

Liposuction before image performed by Dr. Jonathan HeisteinLiposuction after image performed by Dr. Jonathan HeisteinLiposuction before image performed by Dr. Jonathan HeisteinLiposuction after image performed by Dr. Jonathan HeisteinLiposuction before image performed by Dr. Jonathan HeisteinLiposuction after image performed by Dr. Jonathan HeisteinLiposuction before image performed by Dr. Jonathan HeisteinLiposuction after image performed by Dr. Jonathan Heistein

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Liposuction is a very effective and safe procedure when performed on a good candidate who is close to their ideal weight. In other words, while it is a great procedure for many people, it is not for everyone. Nor is it a weight loss treatment.

Moreover, like any other surgical procedure, liposuction does have some associated risks. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) liposuction risks include the following:

  • Anesthesia-related complications
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Lasting changes in skin sensation
  • Nerve damage and damage to other structures including the muscles, blood vessels, lungs and abdominal organs
  • Deep vein thrombosis (blood clots)
  • Cardiac and pulmonary problems
  • Seroma (fluid accumulation)
  • Infection
  • Asymmetries
  • Abnormal pigmentation
  • Need for secondary surgery
  • Poor wound healing
  • Rippling
  • Loose skin
  • Worsening of cellulite
  • Thermal burn or heat injury caused by ultrasound (with ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty)

Your surgeon should discuss these and any other risks with you during your initial consultation, i.e., prior to moving forward with surgery. Be sure to ask any questions you may have at this time. Your surgeon will also require you to sign consent forms to make sure you have an adequate understanding of the procedure and any associated risks. It will be up to you to decide if the benefits of liposuction outweigh the potential risks.

Liposuction is a safe procedure especially when done for small areas like yours.  As long as your surgeon is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, you can feel comfortable that he/she will make your safety the number one priority.  If there is any doubt that the risks are too high, then your surgeon would not offer to do it for you.  Best of luck!

Dr. Jonathan Heistein has 4 Liposuction before & afters:

Liposuction before image performed by Dr. Jonathan HeisteinLiposuction after image performed by Dr. Jonathan HeisteinLiposuction before image performed by Dr. Jonathan HeisteinLiposuction after image performed by Dr. Jonathan HeisteinLiposuction before image performed by Dr. Jonathan HeisteinLiposuction after image performed by Dr. Jonathan HeisteinLiposuction before image performed by Dr. Jonathan HeisteinLiposuction after image performed by Dr. Jonathan Heistein

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Liposuction is a very safe procedure especially for a localized area of fat as you described.  You should consult with a plastic surgeon board certified by the american board of plastic surgery.  Exercise will not allow you to remove fat from a specific area of your body.  That is only possible with liposuction.