What do I need to know before undergoing liposuction?

The first step before undergoing liposuction is to arrange a consultation with your surgeon. During the consultation, your surgeon will talk to you about:

  • Your skin type.
  • Which liposuction options are best for you.
  • The effectiveness and safety of the procedures.
  • Realistic expectations from the selected procedure.
  • Potential financial costs.

Don’t hesitate to ask the surgeon any questions you may have.

Once you have decided to have liposuction, your surgeon will give you instructions to prepare for the surgery. This may include dietary or alcohol restrictions or the taking or avoiding of certain vitamins. Be sure to tell your surgeon of any allergies you have, as well as all medications you are taking. This includes over-the-counter and prescription medications as well as herbal supplements.

How is the liposuction procedure done?

Depending on the type of liposuction you are having, it may be performed as an outpatient procedure at the doctor's office or surgery center. If large amounts of fat are being removed, the procedure will be done in a hospital, and you may have to stay in the hospital overnight.

Before the procedure begins, you will be given an anesthesia. Again, depending on how much fat is being removed and the type of liposuction, the anesthesia may be a local, or it may require a general anesthetic, in which case the surgery will be done while you are sleeping.

Once the anesthesia has taken effect, the liposuction procedure is performed using a suction device attached to a small, stainless steel instrument called a cannula. Through small incisions (cuts), the cannula is inserted into fatty areas between skin and muscle, where it removes excess fat with either a suction pump or a large syringe. This results in a smoother, improved body contour (shape). The length of the procedure will vary with the amount of fat being removed.

What are the types of liposuction?

Though the basics of liposuction remain the same, there are a couple of different techniques that can be used during liposuction. These include:

  • Tumescent liposuction: The surgeon injects a solution into your fatty areas before the fat is removed. The solution is made up of a saline solution, a mild painkiller, and epinephrine, a drug that contracts (shrinks) your blood vessels. The solution not only helps the surgeon remove the fat more easily, but it helps reduce blood loss and provides pain relief during and after surgery.
  • Ultrasound-assisted liposuction: Ultrasonic energy is used to liquefy the fat, after which it is removed from the body.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/02/2016.


  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Liposuction. Accessed 9/6/2016.
  • American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Liposuction. Accessed 9/6/2016.
  • Vasconez HC, Habash A. Chapter 41. Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. In: Doherty GM, ed. CURRENT Diagnosis & Treatment: Surgery. 13th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2010. Accessed 9/6/2016.

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