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How Does Liposuction Work? Your Questions Answered!

Liposuction is a popular cosmetic surgery that can help remove excess fat from specific areas of the body. But how does liposuction work, and what can you expect from the procedure? Below, we’ll answer some of the most common questions patients have about liposuction and explain how it works to begin with.

How Does Liposuction Work?

Liposuction works by removing excess fat from specific areas of the body. The surgeon will make small incisions in the targeted area and insert a thin tube called a cannula. The cannula is used to suction out the fat cells, which are permanently removed from the body.

There are several different types of liposuction, including traditional liposuction, tumescent liposuction, and laser-assisted liposuction. The type of liposuction used will depend on the patient’s needs. At Port City Plastic Surgery, we offer both traditional and tumescent liposuction, in addition to laser liposuction with SmartLipo™.

Traditional Liposuction:

Traditional liposuction is typically performed under general anesthesia. To perform treatment, we’ll make incisions in the skin through which a cannula can be inserted. It is then moved back and forth to break up the fat cells. The fat is then suctioned out of the body using a vacuum-like device. It can take several weeks to fully recover from traditional liposuction.

Tumescent Liposuction:

Tumescent liposuction uses local anesthesia to numb the treatment area and reduce bleeding during the procedure. To perform treatment, we inject a solution of saline, lidocaine (a local anesthetic), and epinephrine (a medication that constricts blood vessels) into the targeted area. The solution causes the fat cells to become swollen and firm, making them easier to remove. Then we’ll use a cannula to suction out the fat cells. Tumescent liposuction is easier on the body than traditional liposuction, which means a shorter recovery period is needed.

Laser Liposuction:

Laser liposuction, also known as laser-assisted liposuction, uses a laser to break up the fat cells before they are suctioned out of the body. The surgeon makes small incisions in the skin and inserts a thin tube that contains a laser fiber. The laser fiber is used to heat up and liquefy the fat cells, making them easier to remove. The liquefied fat is then suctioned out of the body. Laser liposuction is typically performed under local anesthesia, and patients often experience less swelling and bruising compared to traditional liposuction.

Frequently Asked Questions About Liposuction

Is Liposuction Painful?

Liposuction is performed under anesthesia, so patients should not feel any pain during the procedure. After the surgery, patients may experience some discomfort, which can be managed with pain medication.

Will Liposuction Help Me Lose Weight?

Liposuction is not a weight-loss procedure, and it is not a substitute for a healthy diet and exercise. Liposuction is designed to remove stubborn pockets of fat that are resistant to diet and exercise.

Are the Results of Liposuction Permanent?

The results of liposuction are permanent, but it is essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle to ensure long-lasting results. If the patient gains weight after the procedure, the remaining fat cells can increase in size.

Is Liposuction Right for You?

Liposuction can be an effective way to remove stubborn pockets of fat and improve your body’s appearance. However, it is essential to have realistic expectations and understand the risks and benefits of the procedure. Liposuction is not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle, and it is not a cure for obesity.

If you are considering liposuction, it’s important to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon who can evaluate your needs and guide you towards the best treatment decision. Contact us today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Widenhouse at Port City Plastic Surgery and get started on your liposuction journey.


2683 Lake Park Drive
Charleston, SC 29406


125 River Landing Drive
Suite 101
Daniel Island, SC 29492