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Liposuction slims and reshapes specific areas of the body by removing excess fat deposits through small incisions, and improving the body’s contours and proportion. Liposuction can be performed on the following areas:

  • Thighs
  • Hips
  • Abdomen
  • Buttocks
  • Waist
  • Upper arms
  • Back
  • Inner knees
  • Chest area
  • Calves
  • Ankles
  • Chin
  • Neck

Liposuction can be performed by itself or in conjunction with other plastic surgery procedures such as:

View before and after photo gallery

Contact UPMC Plastic Surgery

UPMC Plastic Surgery Center 
3380 Blvd. of the Allies
Suite 158
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Free parking adjacent to our building

UPMC Stofman Plastic Surgery
1350 Locust Street
Suite G103
Pittsburgh, PA 15219



Who Is a Candidate?

If you have excess fat deposits that are not responding to diet or exercise, liposuction may be an alternative for you. Liposuction is not a treatment for obesity.

Generally, liposuction candidates are adults who are:

  • Within 30 percent of their ideal weight
  • Have firm, elastic skin
  • Have good muscle tone

Candidates also must be healthy individuals who do not have a life-threatening illness or medical conditions that can impair healing. Many patients are more successful with their weight reduction program after a liposuction procedure because it can enhance their overall result.

Before the Procedure

The success and safety of your liposuction procedure depends on your honesty during the consultation with your surgeon. You’ll be asked a number of questions about your health, desires and lifestyle, and you should be prepared to discuss your reasons for having the surgery, your expectations, and desired outcome.

Some of the specific instructions you’ll receive about preparing for surgery include:

  • Smoking cessation
  • Medications to avoid
  • When to take your prescribed medications
  • Proper washing techniques
  • Restrictions regarding eating and drinking the night before surgery

Procedure Details

The surgeon will make small, inconspicuous incisions, and insert a thin hollow tube (called a cannula) to remove the excess fat. Some of the instruments have sound waves that facilitate the fat tissue removal. The doctors will inject sterile IV fluid containing local anesthetic and adrenaline to decrease the possibility of bleeding and postoperative discomfort.

Your improved body contour will be noticeable after the swelling and fluid retention subsides. Liposuction’s results will continue as long as you maintain a healthy diet and fitness regimen. Substantial weight gain, however, can reduce the surgery’s results.

Where Will the Procedure Be Performed?

Liposuction is usually done in a hospital as outpatient surgery, and you will have to be driven to and from the hospital by a friend or family member.

Type of Anesthesia

Your doctor will recommend the best type of anesthesia for you but intravenous sedation or general anesthesia typically are used.

Immediate Postoperative Recovery

In most cases, the pain associated with liposuction is controlled with oral pain medication. At the end of the procedure, a compression garment is commonly applied to the area, and is worn for several weeks. Your surgeon will give you specific instructions about:

  • The compression garment
  • Normal increased progression of activity
  • Which activities should be avoided immediately following surgery

Depending on the type of job, most patients can return to work within two to five days.


In addition to the risks associated with anesthesia, other risks of liposuction can include:

  • Bleeding
  • Excess bruising
  • Slight skin discoloration
  • Skin numbness and tingling (which is usually temporary and lasts only a few weeks)
  • Swelling

Additionally, you may have asymmetrical, wavy, or irregular skin. Liposuction may not improve the appearance of cellulite.

Not every person is a candidate for this procedure, and your risks may be greater or different than those of other patients. Your plastic surgeon will review all potential risks and complications with you prior to the surgery.

Anticipated Results

As the swelling from the surgery subsides, you will begin to see improvements during the first six weeks after surgery. Controlling your weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help you stay satisfied with the results of the procedure.