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Liposuction 101

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Liposuction 101

Liposuction is an excellent way to reduce fat, but many patients considering liposuction are often confused about what it can and cannot do. Let's jump right in with everything you need to know about liposuction, including what it treats, who is a good candidate, what to expect post-treatment, and how to maximize your liposuction results.

What is liposuction?

Liposuction is a body contouring treatment that reduces stubborn pockets of fat that remain despite diet and exercise. First, a tumescent fluid is injected into the treatment area, causing the fat cells to swell. Then, tiny incisions are made to access the subcutaneous fat. Through the incisions, a thin tube called a cannula is passed into the fat to break down and extract the fat cells with machine-assisted suction.

What kind of fat does it target?

Lipo treats subcutaneous fat (fat that lies just beneath the skin.) It does not treat visceral fat around the organs. For this reason, lipo works best on individuals at or close to their ideal weight.

What areas of the body does liposuction treat?

Dr. Stark uses liposuction to treat fat on areas such as the:

  • Hips
  • Legs
  • Neck
  • Arms
  • Flanks
  • Bra line
  • Abdomen

Who is a candidate for liposuction?

The ideal candidate is within the 30 percent range of their target body weight. Unfortunately, if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, a smoker, or have mental or physical ailments, you may not be able to have lipo. Patients with sagging skin are generally better candidates for body contouring procedures such as a tummy tuck.

What kind of anesthesia or numbing agent is used?

Depending on the extent of fat removal, patients may undergo twilight or general anesthesia.

What are some things liposuction cannot do?

Liposuction is an incredible body contouring tool but is not a panacea for all aesthetic concerns. It will not treat:


Rigid bands in fatty areas can pull the skin down and cause cellulite. Breaking the bands releases tension on the overlying skin, causing it to smooth out. Liposuction targets fat cells, not the bands that cause dimpling. Alternative treatments such as Ultimate Contour and QWO Cellulite Reduction are better ways to treat cellulite.

Buccal Fat

Liposuction is not the best way to treat excessive cheek fullness. Patients with 'chipmunk cheeks' often see better results with buccal fat removal surgery.

Excess Skin

Liposuction only targets fat. While some newer lipo devices have a mild skin-tightening effect, skin reduction surgery, such as a tummy tuck, is the preferred way to tighten lax skin. Patients with mild skin laxity may also consider Renuvion Skin Tightening or Ultimate Contour at StarkMD.


Liposuction is not a weight-loss substitute. It removes isolated fat bulges to sculpt and define your body after reaching your ideal weight.

Future Weight Gain

After liposuction, the treated fat cells will not come back. The catch is that lipo does not prevent new fat cells from forming. You will need to maintain your weight on the scale after lipo to keep up the results.

Mental Illness

The best candidates for liposuction have a positive self-image and good overall mental health. While lipo can boost your confidence to an extent, it cannot cure depression, body dysmorphia, or other mental health issues.

What happens after liposuction?

1-3 Days

You can return home the same day. Someone should drive you if you underwent twilight or general anesthesia. Expect tenderness, bruising, and substantial swelling.

1-2 Weeks

The swelling and bruising begin to fade. Most patients are back to work by now.

3-5 Weeks

Much of the swelling and firmness has settled, revealing an early preview of the results.

6+ Weeks

At this stage, most patients start to see their final results. The results may improve over the next few months as any lingering swelling goes down.

Maintaining Liposuction Results

Weight fluctuations can hamper your lipo results. Here are some tips for maintaining a stable weight.

Follow Your Surgeon's Post-procedure Instructions

Your provider will go over aftercare instructions and advice on how to get the most out of lipo, based on peer-reviewed research and his years of experience.

Avoid Excess Caloric Intake

If you struggle with keeping your weight consistent, track your calories and eat a diet focused on protein and healthy carbohydrates.

Eat Several Small Meals Throughout the Day

To avoid future weight gain, consider eating smaller amounts of food and healthy snacks every few hours instead of two or three big meals.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking water can flush toxins, minimize swelling after liposuction, and help you feel full.

Never Skip Meals

Crash diets and skipping meals are nearly impossible to maintain long term.

Exercise Regularly

Aim to work out three to five times per week to maintain your figure.

Learn More About Liposuction in Mainline and Philadelphia Today

To find out if our Philadelphia liposuction is right for you, contact StarkMD at (484) 482-8809 to schedule your private consultation.

Philadelphia plastic surgeon Dr. Ran Stark brings decades of experience and training to each consultation. When you meet with Dr. Stark, he takes the time to give you information and options, so you can have confidence in your decision to move forward with the best procedure for you. Confidence. Personalized care. Impeccable results. That’s the Stark Difference. Discover that difference yourself by scheduling a consultation with Dr. Stark today.

135 South Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 220, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

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