Myth Busters: Debunking Common Liposuction Myths

By Laura Buford, MD September 24, 2019 No Comments

liposuction myths

Liposuction continues to be one of the most popular plastic surgery treatments in the United States, with 258,558 procedures performed in 2018. While there are a handful of effective non-surgical body contouring treatments like CoolSculpting, liposuction is the only treatment that can immediately remove fat cells from the body. A skilled physician can perform liposuction on nearly any body area to dramatically tone, tighten, and contour the area.

Even with its popularity, however, there are many incorrect myths about liposuction. Here’s the truth behind the most common myths about liposuction:

Myth #1: Liposuction is an effective weight loss method

Fact: Liposuction is a body contouring method, not a weight loss method. Liposuction treats locally isolated fat pockets that are resistant to exercise and diet and is intended to focus on re-contouring the body to better enhance the silhouette.

Myth #2: The results of liposuction are permanent

Fact: The results of liposuction are dramatic and long-lasting. While the fat cells that are removed are permanently gone, patients can continue to gain weight post-procedure in other areas of the body. To maintain liposuction results, patients should maintain their post-liposuction weight. For example, if a patient weighed 140 pounds prior to their procedure and 10 pounds were removed, fat cells will continue to stay away if the patient maintains a weight at or below 130 pounds. Alternatively, if the same patient gains 10 pounds post-lipo fat cells will develop throughout the body including the treated areas.

Myth #3: Liposuction can only be performed on the stomach area

Fact: Liposuction can be performed on nearly any area of the body where there is fat. The most popular body areas for liposuction include the waist, abdomen, flanks, hips, buttocks, thighs, and arms. For more info, see this post on popular body areas for liposuction.

Myth #4: Liposuction requires general anesthesia

Fact: Most liposuction procedures can be performed using a local anesthesia like twilight anesthesia, which reduces the recovery time and removes most anesthesia-related risks.

Myth #5: Liposuction recovery is painful

Fact: The liposuction recovery experience differs from patient to patient. Many liposuction patients will experience moderate pain and discomfort after their procedure. However, any pain can be easily treated through prescription medication. Additionally, pain from the procedure is typically limited to the first 2-3 days following surgery. Most patients can return to work and moderate physical activity within a week or two of undergoing the procedure.

Myth #6: Liposuction is risky

Fact: As with any surgical procedure, there are risks.  However, liposuction procedures have undergone major advances since Italian and French surgeons first used suction to remove fat in 1974. Great advancements in both techniques and technologies have made liposuction surgery yield significantly better results with relatively low risks.

Myth #7: Liposuction can result in puckered or lumpy skin

Fact: Skin irregularities following liposuction, while possible, is uncommon. A skilled and experienced physician can mitigate this risk by being conservative in terms of the amount of fat they remove. This is one reason that patients should focus on experience over cost when selecting their provider.


Laura Buford, MD

Laura Buford, MD attended medical school at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, where she earned a Doctor of Medicine with Special Distinction. Dr. Buford is active in various medical organizations including the American Academy of Dermatology, the Texas Medical Association, and the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery. Her professional interests include adult and pediatric medical dermatology, skin cancer prevention and treatment, and cosmetic dermatology.


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