Liposuction is a surgical procedure to remove excess fatty tissue from the body, including the upper arms, trunk, abdomen, buttocks, hips and thighs, and the knees. Liposuction is not a substitute for weight reduction, but a method for removing localized deposits of fatty tissue that does not respond to diet or exercise. It may be performed as a primary procedure for body contouring or combined with other surgical techniques such as breast rejuvenation, abdominoplasty, or thigh lift procedures to tighten loose skin and supporting structures.

The best candidates for liposuction are individuals of relatively normal weight who have excess fat in particular body areas. Having firm, elastic skin will result in a better final contour after liposuction. Hanging skin will not reshape itself to the new contours and may require additional surgical techniques to remove and tighten excess skin. Body-contour irregularities due to structures other than fat cannot be improved by liposuction. Liposuction by itself will not improve areas of dimpled skin known as “cellulite.”

Every surgical procedure involves a certain amount of risk and it is important that you understand the risks involved with liposuction. An individual’s choice to undergo a surgical procedure is based on the comparison of the risk to potential benefit. Although the majority of patients do not experience the following complications, you should be aware of the possible consequences of liposuction.

Patient selection

Individuals with poor skin tone, medical problems, obesity, or unrealistic expectations may not be candidates for liposuction.


It is possible, though unusual, to experience a bleeding episode during or after surgery. Should post-operative bleeding occur, it may require emergency treatment to drain accumulated blood or blood transfusion. Do not take aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications for ten days before surgery, as this may increase the risk of bleeding.


Infection is unusual after this type of surgery. Should an infection occur, treatment including antibiotics or additional surgery may be necessary.

Change in skin sensation

Temporary changes in skin sensation after liposuction occur which usually resolve. Diminished (or complete loss of) skin sensation is very rare after liposuction and may not completely resolve.

Skin scarring

Although good wound healing after a surgical procedure is expected, abnormal scars may occur within the skin and deeper tissues. In rare cases, abnormal scars may result. Scars may be unattractive and of different color than the surrounding skin. Additional treatments including surgery may be necessary to treat abnormal scarring.

Skin contour irregularities

Contour irregularities and depressions in the skin may occur after liposuction although these are very uncommon if a conservative treatment plan is followed.  Visible and palpable wrinkling of skin can occur. Additional treatments including surgery may be necessary to treat skin contour irregularities following liposuction.


Symmetrical body appearance may not result from liposuction. Factors such as skin tone, bony prominence, and muscle tone may contribute to normal asymmetry in body features.

Pulmonary complications

Fat embolism syndrome occurs when fat droplets are trapped in the lungs. This is a very rare and possibly fatal complication of liposuction. Should fat embolism or other pulmonary complications occur following liposuction, additional treatment including hospitalization may be necessary.

Skin loss

Skin loss is rare after liposuction. Additional treatment including surgery may be necessary.


Fluid accumulations rarely occur in area where liposuction has been performed. Additional treatments or surgery to drain accumulations of fluid may be necessary.

Long term effects

Subsequent alterations in body contour may occur as the result of aging, weight loss or gain, pregnancy, or other circumstances not related to liposuction.

Allergic reactions

In rare cases, local allergies to tape, suture material, or topical preparations have been reported. Systemic reactions which are more serious may occur to drugs used during surgery and prescription medicines. Allergic reactions may require additional treatment.


You may be disappointed with the results of surgery. Infrequently, it is necessary to perform additional surgery to improve your results.

Surgical anesthesia

Both local and general anesthesia involve risk. There is the possibility of complications, injury, and even death from all forms of surgical anesthesia or sedation.

Additional Surgery Necessary

Should complications occur, additional surgery or other treatments may be necessary. Even though risks and complications occur infrequently, the risks cited are particularly associated with liposuction. Other complications and risks can occur but are even more uncommon. The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science. Although good results are expected there is no guarantee or warranty expressed or implied, on the results that may be obtained.

Informed-consent documents are used to communicate information about the proposed surgical treatment of a disease or condition along with disclosure of risks and alternative forms of treatment(s). The informed-consent process attempts to define principles of risk disclosure that should meet the needs of most patients in most circumstances.

If you have any questions regarding risks, or if you would like to meet Dr. Ronald Zelt, please contact us.