Liposuction: Comparing Procedures And Costs

Liposuction is a plastic surgery procedure that involves removing deposits of fat.

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, more than 414,000 liposuctions were performed in the U.S. in 2016. Fewer procedures take place in the U.K., but the number increased by 20 percent from 2014 to 2015. Liposuction is on the rise all over the world.

Body image can have great bearing on confidence, motivation and overall happiness. Advances in medical technology make it more possible than ever to enhance your appearance and realize your full potential.

Keep reading to learn how liposuction is done, what it costs and if it’s worth the risks.

What is liposuction, and how does it work?

With weight gain, fat cells increase in size and volume. Simply put, liposuction breaks up fat so that it can be suctioned from the body.

In the most conventional procedure, the patient is put under general anesthesia. A small, hollow suction tube called a cannula is inserted beneath the skin and attached to a powerful vacuum. As the surgeon manually manipulates the cannula throughout the area, the targeted fat cells are permanently removed.

Doctors may opt for less invasive methods depending on the individual.

Vaser liposuction, for example, incorporates a tumescent solution of saline mixed with local anesthetics. Once the solution is injected, high-frequency ultrasound is delivered to break up fat cells. Gentle vibrations emulsify the fat, and the cannula removes it. Since some of the anesthetics permeate body tissue, postprocedural pain is reduced. Vaser liposuction is also designed to protect and preserve the surrounding tissue in targeted areas.

Laser-assisted liposuction works in a similar way by delivering heat and laser energy to melt the fat and get the job done.

The water jet-assisted method uses a pressurized stream of saline to loosen and dislodge fat cells from connective tissue rather than destroy them. The cannula is used to gently irrigate the area and suction the fat. Using water results in minimal trauma to body tissue, less bruising or swelling and a speedier recovery.

It’s important to note what liposuction is not. It is not a treatment for obesity or a weight-loss solution. Ideal candidates are healthy for the most part. They eat well and get plenty of exercise, but they still have stubborn areas that resist these noble efforts. The procedure is strictly cosmetic and has no health benefits.

Liposuction enhances the contour of the body for a more attractive physique. Patients who take care of themselves and maintain a healthy weight after surgery enjoy permanent results.

How much does liposuction cost?

Costs vary depending on where you have the procedure done, what areas of the body you target and how much fat must be removed. Also, liposuctions of areas that are easily accessible, such as the waistline, typically cost less than procedures in hard-to-reach spots.

Prices, in Euros, start at around 3,300 in the U.K. and 2,700 in the U.S. Expect to pay about 2,200 in Turkey, 1,900 in Mexico, 1,500 in Poland, 900 in the Czech Republic, 500 in Lithuania and 250 in Hungary.

Below an overview of the average cost of liposuction across different countries:

Country Price p.a. (EUR) Price p.a (USD) Price p.a. (GPB)
UK 3 300 3 900 2 950
US 2 700 3 200 2 400
Mexico 1 900 2 200 1 700
Turkey 2 200 2 900 2 000
Poland 1 500 1 800 1 300
Czech Republic 900 1 100 800
Lithuania 500 600 450
Hungary 250 300 250

Where can liposuction be performed?

Liposuction can subtly correct everything from love handles to saddlebags to muffin tops.

Women usually target the abdomen, breasts, buttocks, hips, thighs, knees, upper arms, cheeks and neck. Men, who account for 15–25 percent of liposuction patients, typically focus on their chins, necks, abdomens, flanks and breasts.

Is liposuction painful?

The degree of pain depends on the type of anesthesia used, the extent of the suction and the elasticity of the skin.

In general, local anesthesia used for a small area lasts for close to 24 hours. Once its effects have worn off, the intensity of pain is similar to that of a bad sunburn or sore muscles. It is at its worse two to four days following the procedure with discomfort gradually subsiding over four to eight weeks. Some patients report numbness. That, too, will disappear over a few weeks.

Pain is usually greater when general anesthesia is not accompanied by local anesthesia.

As with all surgical procedures, some degree of soreness, tenderness and swelling are present during recovery. Special elastic compression garments that aid drainage may be recommended to alleviate pain.

How long does recovery from liposuction take?

Recovery time depends on whether the procedure was inpatient or outpatient and how extensive it was. Under most circumstances, recovery is quick. Patients usually return to work after a few days and resume normal activities in a couple of weeks.

What are the risks or complications of liposuction?

No surgery is without risks, and liposuction is largely safe.

You can reduce your chances of developing complications by being in overall good health, sharing your medical history with your doctor and following both preoperative and postoperative instructions to the letter. Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Be sure to inform the doctor of any prescription drugs, over-the-counter remedies or nutritional supplements you take.

You should not undergo liposuction if you have circulatory problems, diabetes or a weakened immune system.

There is always the danger of having an adverse reaction to anesthesia. Other risks are largely linked to the amount of fat removed. Two common concerns are bruising and inflammation. Disappointing results include irregular contours or pigmentations of the skin, but you can avoid these by choosing a reputable, experienced surgeon.

Rarer, more serious risks are excessive bleeding, infection, blood clots, scarring, kidney or heart problems, pulmonary embolism, pulmonary edema or death.

Where should I have liposuction?

Traveling abroad for liposuction may be an effective solution to more affordable options. This doesn’t necessarily mean compromising on quality. The importance of choosing a skilled surgeon can’t be overstated, but by all means, shop around for the best price.

In any country, do thorough research. Look for someone who has done an impressive number of liposuctions with good results. Verify credentials. Read online reviews and testimonials by people who have had a few months to evaluate their outcomes. After you’ve narrowed it down to a handful of surgeons, conduct phone interviews if possible.

Your health, personal satisfaction and overall well-being come first, but it’s nice to save money along the way to a more attractive you.

Find the right specialist at a fraction of the cost.

Qunomedical lists only the top clinics and doctors in the world. Contact us for your free quote.

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About the author

Dr. Alexandre Figueiredo, Medical Content Manager

Alex is a medical doctor by training. He feels strongly about the current shortcomings of our healthcare system and thinks it’s about time that patients started benefiting from first-class, yet affordable treatment.

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