Liposuction is an incredibly versatile body-slimming technique that is used to selectively remove fat. As one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries performed worldwide, liposuction can extract fat cells in regions of the body that prove resistant to dieting and exercise. This type of body surgery is integrated into numerous procedures, including breast reduction, tummy tuck, arm lift, body contouring, and facial rejuvenation. Liposuction can be performed almost anywhere on the body to achieve a leaner appearance in regions prone to fat buildup.

How Does Liposuction Work?

Liposuction works through selective fat removal, meaning regions of isolated fat — often found in places like the abdomen, upper arms, hips, and thighs — are targeted and reduced. Fat deposits naturally develop throughout the body due to a combination of factors, including dietary habits, hormone changes, and activity levels. Unfortunately, these fat stores may not always respond well to dieting and exercise, causing frustration for individuals who cannot attain their desired contours despite living a healthy lifestyle. Liposuction is one of the most effective ways to extract stubborn fat and provide a slimmer, more defined contour in the treated areas. This is done by inserting a narrow surgical instrument called a cannula into tiny, half-inch incisions near the affected regions. From this access point, your plastic surgeon can suction out fat deposits to achieve the desired effect, meticulously shaping the area to ensure natural-looking results.

What are the Benefits of Liposuction?

Liposuction offers a range of aesthetic benefits for patients looking to slim and smooth bulges of excess fat. No matter how committed you are to living a healthy lifestyle, pockets of stubborn and isolated fat can remain unaffected by even the most rigorous toning efforts. When dieting and exercise fail to reshape your body, liposuction can be an effective and almost immediate solution to obtain:

  • Slimmer, sleeker contours in the treated areas
  • Improvement in a “double chin,” “muffin top,” “bra roll,” and other bulges commonly found throughout the face and body
  • A smoother and firmer appearance in places of excess fat
  • A well-defined silhouette in areas of localized fat

Liposuction is one of the least invasive cosmetic surgeries available compared to other body contouring procedures available today. There is a brief period of downtime required after surgery and most patients describe their recovery as very tolerable. Best of all, incisions made during liposuction are relatively short (about half-an-inch long) and leave a minimal amount of scarring in the treated regions.

Who Is A Candidate For Liposuction?

Because liposuction is such a common and popular procedure, some people have begun to think of it as a weight loss solution. This, however, is not the case. Good candidates for liposuction are healthy and already at a stable body weight. Individuals who undergo liposuction share some of the following characteristics:

  • Persistent fat deposits
  • Good skin elasticity
  • Realistic expectations

If you’re frustrated by stubborn pockets of fat that are resistant to dietary changes and exercise regimens, liposuction may be able to help you achieve your cosmetic goals. Once again, liposuction is not a treatment for obesity, but it can address small to moderate areas of excess fat. Candidates for this procedure should be in good overall health and have a reasonable expectation for the outcome. Smokers will need to quit for several weeks before and after the operation. Other considerations can be determined during your initial consultation with Dr. Neal Goldberg.

Liposuction Treatment Areas

Liposuction can be performed on virtually any area of the body that is prone to excess fat accumulation. These regions are typically the most difficult to shape and tone naturally, making them excellent treatment sites for surgical fat reduction. Depending on your aesthetic goals, liposuction can help improve the:

  • Abdomen
  • Upper arms
  • Thighs
  • Inner knees
  • Submental area (neck)
  • Hips
  • Waistline
  • Back

Patients often utilize liposuction to smooth bulges of fat colloquially known as “love handles,” “bra rolls,” and “muffin tops.” Facial liposuction to reduce a double chin can also be an effective treatment to attain an improved contour underneath the chin. While this technique has been proven to minimize fullness in the neck area, it should be noted that the procedure is not designed to tighten lax muscles or address excess skin—any neck laxity can often be improved with a neck lift rather than liposuction.

Subcutaneous Fat vs. Visceral Fat

There are two types of body fat that may be affecting the shape of your contours: subcutaneous and visceral fat. Meaning “just below the skin,” subcutaneous fat is pinchable tissue that helps protect the deeper internal structures. This type of fat can be resistant to dieting and exercise and is mainly found in the lower body and abdomen. As a result, liposuction and other fat removal procedures typically target stubborn subcutaneous tissue. In contrast, visceral fat is located between the internal organs inside the abdominal cavity, sometimes causing the appearance of a “pot belly” or hanging abdomen. Distribution of visceral fat is often determined by your genetics and hereditary factors. Excess visceral fat is also more associated with common weight-related medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease when compared to subcutaneous fat. Visceral fat is not usually removed via liposuction and can only be reduced with healthy living and an active lifestyle.

Types Of Liposuction

There are many different types of liposuction that can safely and effectively remove pockets of stubborn fat. Generally speaking, potential liposuction techniques include:

  • Traditional: Uses suction-assisted technology to remove fat
  • Tumescent: Administers a solution of medications to the blood prior to fat removal to decrease swelling, bleeding, and bruising
  • Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction (UAL): Employs ultrasonic vibrations to more easily dislodge and remove excess fat
  • Laser-Assisted Liposuction (LAL): Liquefies fat cells via laser energy to encourage the smoother removal of excess fat

The most common liposuction procedure utilizes the tumescent technique. Tumescent liposuction differs from standard liposuction due to the injection of fluid and anesthetic before fat is removed, which can provide patients with less discomfort during the recovery period. Dr. Goldberg will let you know which approach is ideal for your needs and goals.

Lipo 360°

Another technique available at our NYC-area practice is known as “Lipo 360°,” which simply refers to a standard liposuction procedure performed circumferentially around a patient’s midsection. While liposuction is usually designed to target a single treatment site (such as the abdomen or hips), Lipo 360° aims to address the abdomen, waist, “love handles,” and lower back for a comprehensive “360 degree” improvement. This approach not only allows patients to enhance their abdominal region circumferentially, but it can also help to highlight their natural curves. Dr. Goldberg would be happy to discuss this technique with you during an initial consultation if desired.

Liposuction vs. Tummy Tuck

As two leading body contouring surgeries, liposuction and a tummy tuck are both popular treatment options that can help you attain a slimmer and smoother look in the abdomen. However, there are key differences between the procedures that may help you determine the most beneficial technique for your unique concerns and aesthetic goals. Liposuction is generally intended to help patients who have pockets of localized fat and little to no excess skin. The procedure is designed to remove stubborn fat alone; therefore, good skin tone is essential to achieving smooth, natural-looking liposuction results. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for skin that is loose or inelastic to “snap” back into place after fat is removed.

In contrast, tummy tuck surgery can be an optimal procedure for individuals who struggle with excess skin and/or stretched abdominal muscles. A tummy tuck is designed to correct loose skin and separated musculature, which can both lead to a hanging or protruding abdominal appearance. Since the procedure is usually more comprehensive than liposuction, patients who have undergone pregnancy or massive weight loss achieve superior results with a tummy tuck. That said, certain patients may benefit from a dual liposuction and abdominoplasty procedure. Rest assured that Dr. Goldberg will listen to your concerns and suggest the best possible surgical plan to achieve your desired outcome.

Is Liposuction Safe?

When performed by an extensively trained plastic surgeon on a good surgical candidate, liposuction can be a safe and effective procedure; however, any surgery comes with some degree of risk. Reducing these risks is a high priority for our medical team, and we will discuss your cosmetic plan in detail with you so that you are well-prepared for the most common contingencies. Dr. Goldberg will evaluate your health, medical history, current medications, and other factors to determine if liposuction is a suitable treatment for you. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have certain medical conditions, or take certain medications, liposuction is not recommended. Some of these factors can change with time and may simply require you to wait until a better opportunity arises. For other cases, we can help you select an alternative procedure that may be able to achieve your goals.

What Can I Expect During Liposuction Treatment?

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Tumescent liposuction usually takes place either in an outpatient center or a hospital. The surgery by itself can take 45 minutes to two hours. Local anesthesia and intravenous sedation are usually used for minor procedures, and general anesthesia for major procedures.

Once the anesthesia has been administered, Dr. Goldberg will make small incisions near the target areas. Next, the tumescent solution containing diluted lidocaine is injected into the area. A cannula (thin tube) is then used to break up or dislodge the fat. The cannulas used in tumescent liposuction are even thinner than those utilized in other liposuction approaches, and the incisions made are also smaller. The fat is suctioned out through a plastic tube with the assistance of a high-pressure vacuum mechanism.

What Is The Liposuction Recovery Period Like?

You can expect to be somewhat sore after the surgery. Numbness, burning, and swelling are common post-operative effects. Dr. Goldberg will probably advise you to walk around shortly after the procedure. After two days, the small drainage tube that was inserted beneath the skin to prevent fluid build-up is removed. Dr. Goldberg will likely recommend that you continue to wear the elastic compression garment for about 2-3 weeks. Additional liposuction treatments may be recommended as only a certain amount of fat can be removed during one procedure.Most patients will need a week or two off from their normal activities. You should listen to your body to determine when you’re ready to return to your work schedule, especially if your job or duties require manual labor. Everyone heals at a different rate, and your recovery may be quicker or slower compared to someone else. You should also avoid strenuous exercise and high-impact activities for about a month to a month and-a-half. Dr. Goldberg can provide more specific instructions during your initial consultation.

Some patients will be able to see results immediately after the procedure; however, swelling can continue for six months to a year. Most noticeable swelling will subside within a few months, at which point you should have an excellent idea of your final outcome. Dr. Goldberg can provide additional information and a more specific estimate based on your treatment plan and unique rate of healing.

Are There Any Side Effects To Liposuction?

Virtually every type of surgery comes with some short-term side effects, and liposuction is no exception. You should expect some swelling and bruising in and around the treated area while healing, and these effects should subside over time. Minor discomfort is also common, although we will provide prescription medication to manage your pain. Long-term side effects occur very infrequently. Our medical team works diligently to reduce the risk of complications for every procedure and to provide an exceptional experience for our patients from beginning to end, consultation to completion. Please don’t hesitate to contact us about any questions you may have during your journey.

How Long Does Liposuction Last?

Liposuction can provide a lifetime result as long as patients maintain their weight after their procedure. Once fat cells have been removed from an area of the body, they do not regenerate; therefore, the final outcome of liposuction should last indefinitely. However, the procedure cannot prevent fat cells surrounding the treatment site(s) from enlarging or shrinking with additional weight gain. Dr. Goldberg advises committing to a healthy lifestyle after liposuction to help minimize the risk of developing disproportionate body contours in the future.

What Will My Liposuction Scars Look Like?

Liposuction uses a series of small incisions, so the resulting scars should be quite small. Most patients find that these tiny marks heal very well and can be relatively unnoticeable. Dr. Goldberg strives to create results that are as natural as possible, including placing incisions in inconspicuous locations. The specific entry points will vary depending on your unique treatment plan and area of concern.

How Much Does Liposuction Cost?

The price of liposuction will vary from person to person based on the unique details of their treatment plan. According to statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, liposuction typically costs about $3,500 per treated area. This number doesn’t necessarily reflect the prices at our practice, and it’s important to understand that this estimate is just for the surgeon’s fee and does not include all standard fees. We want you to feel informed and knowledgeable about your options, and during your initial consultation we will go over all the anticipated expenses for your procedure, including the anesthesiology and hospital facility fees. To further assist you, we work with plastic surgery financing companies that offer qualified candidates appealing loan terms. You’re welcome to ask for more information during your first meeting with the doctor.

Is Non-Surgical Liposuction Possible?

Non-surgical fat removal procedures exist, but typically require multiple repeat treatments and offer less aesthetic control over the final outcome. Furthermore, fat is gradually reduced over a period of months with minimally invasive technologies, rather than suctioned out right away via liposuction. Due to the procedure’s ability to provide precise and near-immediate results, liposuction is generally considered the best way to remove stubborn fat compared to non-surgical treatments. However, patients who want to slim their facial appearance and prefer to avoid surgery may find a solution in KYBELLA® double chin reduction. This injectable treatment can remove excess fat in the neck through deoxycholic acid, its main ingredient and a naturally occurring substance in the body. After injection, fat cells are naturally metabolized over the following weeks to achieve a sharper, more defined neck contour. Don’t hesitate to communicate your needs and preferences with Dr. Goldberg. Our team would be happy to develop an ideal treatment plan tailored to achieve your aesthetic goals.

Complementary Procedures To Liposuction

Since liposuction is relatively less invasive than other cosmetic surgery procedures, some patients choose to combine their liposuction with additional treatment options designed to sculpt the body. A combination treatment plan can give men and women the opportunity to improve more than one region of the body while only contending with a single recovery period. Procedures that are commonly performed in conjunction with liposuction include:

  • Abdominoplasty: A tummy tuck can complement the fat reduction achieved with liposuction if you’re also bothered by loose, excess skin on the abdomen. When performed together, a liposuction plus tummy tuck treatment plan can provide a smoother, tighter, and leaner abdominal profile.
  • Arm Lift: When fat accumulates in the upper arms, it’s not uncommon for the skin to lose tone and elasticity. Arm lift surgery can be an excellent technique to circumferentially sculpt the arms and restore a more defined contour.
  • Thigh Lift: Similar to an arm lift, thigh lift surgery is designed to eliminate excess skin around the inner thighs. Combined with liposuction, a thigh lift can allow patients to attain a smoother and leaner thigh shape.
  • Brazilian Butt Lift: Often referred to as a “BBL,” a Brazilian Butt Lift can be performed at the same time as liposuction to plump the buttocks while also contouring another region of the body. This procedure is designed to transfer fat cells from the abdomen, thighs, or hips into the buttocks, allowing you to use your own fat as a natural filler.

If desired, Dr. Goldberg will go over potential treatment options that can pair well with liposuction and help you better achieve your aesthetic goals. If you’re interested in reversing changes that have occurred due to past pregnancy, a Mommy Makeover may be the ideal surgical plan for you.

Additional Liposuction FAQs

How Do I Prepare For Liposuction Surgery?

If you decide to undergo liposuction, Dr. Goldberg will provide you with the necessary pre-operative instructions before your procedure. Since liposuction is usually an outpatient surgery, you should arrange for a friend or loved one to drive you home on the day of your liposuction. You may need to undergo lab testing or medical evaluations prior to surgery, which Dr. Goldberg will discuss further when he meets you in a consultation. If you smoke, he will instruct you to abstain for at least four weeks before and after surgery to reduce the risk of possible complications during the recovery period. It’s also standard practice to refrain from taking aspirin or other anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) before your procedure, as they can increase bleeding at the time of surgery.

Can I Get Neck Liposuction To Get Rid Of A Double Chin?

Yes, neck liposuction can be incredibly effective in reducing a double chin or eliminating excess fullness altogether. This region—known as the submental area—is often difficult to target with dieting and exercise alone, making the neck one of the most popular treatment sites for liposuction. The most successful results are usually seen in patients whose skin is able to easily contract around their new neck contours following fat removal. For individuals who prefer to avoid surgery, KYBELLA® is a non-surgical injectable treatment that’s FDA-approved to gradually reduce a double chin in the months following injections.

How Much Fat Can Be Removed In A Single Procedure?

Previously, liposuction guidelines advised removing no more than 11 pounds of fat during a single procedure. However, new research backed by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) suggests that the maximum amount of fat removed during liposuction should be determined based on each person’s individual BMI rather than a universal limit. Dr. Goldberg can evaluate your concerns and anatomical indicators to confirm the amount of fat that can be safely extracted during your surgery. It’s important to note that liposuction is not a weight loss procedure and the technique is solely intended for body contouring purposes.

How Old Do You Have To Be To Get Liposuction?

Liposuction can be safely performed on adults who are 18 and older. While the procedure is considered among the more low-risk cosmetic surgeries available for those who are good candidates, liposuction is still a major surgery that requires a level of physical and emotional maturity to achieve a satisfactory outcome. This maturity is typically achieved at the time of adulthood.

What Happens If I Gain Weight After Liposuction?

We encourage patients to maintain their results by following a healthy lifestyle and keeping a stable weight. Minor fluctuations should have a limited effect; however, weight gain can cause fat to return to another area, which may change the contour of your body. In the event that this occurs, a second procedure may be able to help you restore your appearance to the previous outcome.

Are There Alternatives To Liposuction?

Liposuction can be an excellent way to reduce excess fat in targeted areas, but there are also other options for patients who are not candidates or prefer another method. Patients who suffer from a “double chin” may benefit from KYBELLA®, a non-surgical injectable solution that can reduce fatty tissue from under the chin. Dr. Goldberg will be happy to discuss your options based on your characteristics and cosmetic goals during your initial consultation.


For more information about liposuction, call our office for a consultation at 866-481-5585.