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Recovery After Liposuction: What to Expect

The benefits of liposuction don’t happen overnight. Here's what to plan for after surgery.
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Why is liposuction performed? 

Your doctor may recommend liposuction as a medical treatment for certain conditions that cause a buildup of excess body fat. However, liposuction is most commonly a cosmetic surgical procedure to change the size and shape of the body, such as in the thighs, abdomen and breasts. Your doctor may only consider liposuction if other treatment options that involve less risk of complications have not worked. Ask your doctor about all of your treatment options and consider getting a second opinion.

Liposuction is a surgery your doctor may use to remove excess body fat caused by: 

  • Gynecomastia, which is excess breast tissue growth in men

  • Heredity, which causes body fat deposits that healthy diet and regular exercise cannot eliminate

  • Lipoma, which is a benign (noncancerous) type of slow-growing tumor made up of fat cells (adipocytes). Lipomas are usually small but can grow quite large. Liposuction is not the standard treatment for removal of these benign tumors but can be performed in selected cases.

Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Sep 4, 2016

© 2016 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

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Medical References

  1. Continuous peripheral nerve blocks in acute pain management. British Journal of Anaesthesia. http://bja.oxfordjournals.org/content/105/suppl_1/i86.abstract.
  2. Laser and Ultrasound Assisted Liposuction. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/Cosmetic-Procedures/Laser-and-Ultrasound-Assisted-Liposuction.html.
  3. Laser-assisted liposuction (SmartLipo). American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/news-and-resources/technology-briefs/laser-assisted-liposuction-%28sma....
  4. Lipoma. Healthgrades. http://www.healthgrades.com/conditions/lipoma.
  5. Liposuction Information. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/SurgeryandLifeSupport/Liposuction/def....
  6. Liposuction Procedure. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/Cosmetic-Procedures/Liposuction.html.

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