Liposuction removes fat from your body using suction. During liposuction, small, thin, blunt-tipped tubes (cannula) are inserted through tiny cuts in the skin. Fat is suctioned out through these tubes as the doctor moves the tubes around under the skin to target specific fat deposits.
In recent years, improved techniques have made liposuction safer, easier, and less painful. These newer techniques include:
- Tumescent liposuction. A local anesthetic is used to numb the area of your body where the tube will be inserted. Next, a large amount of an anesthetic solution containing lidocaine and epinephrine is injected into the fatty tissue before traditional liposuction is performed. Tumescent liposuction may not require general anesthesia (which makes you sleep through the procedure).
- Ultrasound-assisted liposuction. This technique uses ultrasound to liquefy the fat, which makes it easier to remove. This technique may be particularly helpful in removing fat from the upper abdomen, sides, and back.
Liposuction is usually done as an output procedure in a properly equipped doctor’s office, ambulatory surgery center, or hospital. In general, it does not require an overnight hospital stay unless a large volume of fat is being removed. But liposuction of large areas of the body should only be done in a hospital or licensed surgical center. Local anesthesia is used in some cases, and you may or may not be given a sedative to help you relax. If a large area or volume of fat is being treated, general anesthesia or