Does Liposuction Hurt? Plus 3 Other Questions You Have About Fat Removal Surgery

faqs about liposuction surgery and anesthesia
So you’ve read all about what liposuction can achieve, and you’re ready to start interviewing plastic surgeons. Congratulations—now it’s time for a little “liposuction surgery 101” to better understand what the procedure involves and how you’ll feel during and after surgery.

We turned to our PSCHR plastic surgeons for answers to our patients’ top liposuction surgery questions.

When is the best time to have liposuction?

For the most part, this depends on your personal needs and preferences. Many patients try to have liposuction during the winter months, as it’s easier to conceal compression garments and post-op swelling and bruising beneath winter clothing, and results will be finalized by the time swimsuit season rolls around.

Others try to schedule their procedure right before a holiday or natural hiatus from work or school as a way to minimize PTO and keep their procedures discreet. Of course, there are a limited number of surgery appointments available for a surgeon before any given holiday, so if you want to apply this strategy, you’ll need to book your procedure farther in advance than you would if you have more flexible dates.

Many patients try to have liposuction during the winter months to get results in time for swimsuit season—but for patients who want to save on liposuction, the “best” timing might be very different.

For patients who want to save on liposuction, the “best” timing might be very different: you are more likely to get the best deal by scheduling surgery during the least popular times of year for liposuction. Ask a highly-rated, experienced plastic surgeon when their schedule is less busy and if you can get a better price by having the procedure during the summer, for example. This may help you save on fees without risking your safety or results (never compromise on surgeon experience or facility accreditation!). Some practices also run specials at certain times of year.

There are other personal timing factors to consider. If you have weight loss goals, you’ll want to get close to your goal weight several months before liposuction. This is because results are typically more satisfying for patients close to their ideal healthy body weight. Also, significant weight loss after surgery can cause skin to sag. Moreover, if you lose weight first, your plastic surgeon can help you address any skin laxity at the same time as liposuction, with BodyTite or another skin tightening procedure.

Who needs to come with me to my liposuction surgery? Or can I go alone?

We require patients to have a trusted adult drive them to and home from any plastic surgery procedure involving general anesthesia and/or sedation and for many involving local anesthesia. This is for your safety, as you will be sore, tired, and disoriented after anesthesia. This person also needs to stay with you for the first 24 hours as anesthesia wears off, to help you in and out of bed, the restroom, etc., and provide food and water to you.

If you want to keep your liposuction a secret from those you know, you can hire a home health nurse for these duties. Ask your patient coordinator for recommendations if you wish to pursue this option.

Will I be awake during liposuction?

The level of anesthesia you will receive during your procedure depends on the type and extent of liposuction procedure you’re having, your plastic surgeon’s recommendations, and to some degree your preferences.

Most patients just feel very sore after liposuction, as though they’ve completed a hard workout in the treatment area.

Many smaller liposuction procedures can be done safely using local anesthesia. Examples include lipo for very small areas such as the chin or armpits, as well as BodyTite procedures, which use radiofrequency-assisted techniques for a shorter, less invasive surgery. Your plastic surgeon should discuss anesthesia options during your consultation.

Does liposuction hurt?

The surgery itself will be painless, as the area will be numbed and/or you will be asleep during the procedure. After liposuction, most patients are not in pain, but they do feel very sore, as though they’ve just completed a very hard workout in the treatment area. However, this sensation is usually tolerable, and most of our Hampton Roads liposuction patients use pain medication for only 1 to 2 days to ease discomfort.

Liposuction surgery itself will be painless, as the area will be numbed and/or you will be asleep during the procedure. After, most patients feel very sore and take pain medication.

Have more questions about liposuction? Ready to meet with a plastic surgeon? At Plastic Surgery Center of Hampton Roads, cosmetic surgery consultations are fun, informative, and designed to help you make a confident choice. Call 757-873-3500 today to make an appointment.