Treatment Options

Liposuction for Body Sculpturing

Possible Harm/No Value

Liposuction is the surgical removal of unwanted deposits of excess fat. A hollow tube (cannula) is inserted under the skin through one or more incisions. The cannula is pushed then pulled through the fat layer. Next a vacuum pump or a large syringe is used to suction out the deposits of excess fat. Small drainage tubes may be inserted into the surgical area to remove blood and fluid that may accumulate.

Liposuction is done in an effort to sculpt the body. It is the most commonly performed cosmetic surgery in the United States. Common locations for liposuction include the cheeks, chin, neck, upper arms, breasts, abdomen, buttocks, hips, thighs and calves.

Liposuction should not be used for weight loss. Liposuction should not be used as a replacement for behavior modifications, such as good eating and good exercise habits, which may lead to weight loss.

Things to Consider

  • Liposuction is the most commonly performed cosmetic surgery in the United States.
  • Liposuction should not be used for weight loss.
  • Behavior modification approaches may lead to a reduction in deposits of excess fat. Unlike surgery, behavior modification does not have the potential risks for complications.


Possible Harm/No Value

Will I live longer if I have this procedure?

Scientific evidence does not show that liposuction lengthens your life.

Will removing unwanted deposits of excess fat by liposuction improve my quality of life?

Scientific evidence has not confirmed that liposuction improves your quality of life.


Possible Harm/No Value

This is a surgical procedure and does have the risk of complications. 

Minor reported complications:

  • Discoloration (bruising)
  • Pain
  • Scarring
  • Soreness
  • Uneven fat removal (asymmetry)

Major reported complications:

  • Allergic reaction to the medication used for sedation/anesthesia – heart and lung complications
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots (thrombus)
  • Fat in the blood stream (fat embolism)
  • Fluid overload
  • Infection
  • Nerve, skin, tissue, or organ damage
  • Need for surgical revision
  • Numbness
  • Poor wound healing
  • Shock


Possible Harm/No Value

Comparisons to alternative treatments are not available. 

Alternative treatments include:

  • Physician/nutritionist directed diet for weight loss
  • Exercise


Possible Harm/No Value

The cost of liposuction for body sculpturing varies considerably based on the type of surgery performed. The average cost may range from $1,000 to over $100,000.

The cost may or may not be covered by your health benefits plan.


The following are off-site links off-site link : (2013, May). Liposuction. Retrieved January 8, 2014 from

MedlinePlus. U. S. National Library of Medicine. National Institutes of Health. (2013, May). Liposuction. Retrieved January 8, 2014 from

Next Review Date


This document has been classified as public information.

Table of Findings

results:  possible harm / no value

safety:  possible harm / no value

comparison:  possible harm / no value

cost: possible harm / no value

total: possible harm / no value



Page modified:January 31, 2014