Why do some get burned from lipo or aggressive lipo? I'm a bit nervous now.

Doctor Answers 9

Liposuction and Techniques -- SmartLipo Versus VASER Versus Traditional Versus WAL Versus ThermiRF

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I suggest you post photos and give more of an explaination of what you had done and are experiencing.  If you are concerned, please speak to your physician.  Laser or energy based treatments like ultrasound can cause burns over traditional approaches.  Best, Dr. Emer.

Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 207 reviews

Liposuction injuries

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These are typically associated with laser liposuction, or occasionally ultrasound - when the probe is very close to the skin, or held there for a long time.  Skin injuries of that type are not seen with traditional tumescent liposuction.

David A. Lickstein, MD
Palm Beach Gardens Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Liposuction burns

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Burn injuries are extremely rare from liposuction.

There are a few situations where skin injuries can happen.
Actual thermal burns generally only happen from inappropriate laser liposuction.

In order for this to happen the power level on the laser is generally set for too high and the laser fiber is put much too close to the skin.

VASER has the potential to cause skin damage that may look like burns but are actually mechanical injuries and not thermal burns.

Overly aggressive liposuction can damage the blood vessels to the point where the skin loses its blood supply and skin necrosis happens.

All of these are very rare and complications.

Of the ones mentioned overly aggressive inappropriate VASER is probably the most common reason for patients to develop skin problems.

any plastic surgeon who has experience with liposuction should not have a problem with skin injuries.

Certain people such as morbidly obese people or cigarette smokers are at higher risk for having skin complications because of changes in blood supply.


Mats Hagstrom M.D.

Mats Hagstrom, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Burns during lipo

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Hi SapoiledbyMallol

Traditional liposuction techniques do not burn patients.  Burns only result with heat producing techniques such as Vaser, Laser, Ultrasound.

If great care isn't taken, a burn can result if the temperature is allowed to get too hot in the liposuctioned area or if the instrument is aimed at or gets to close for too long to the under-surface of the skin.

It is best, always, to use a board certified plastic surgeon with experience and good results/technique, and avoid doctors who are not so certified (e.g., avoid "board certified cosmetic surgeon", which imo is a sham credential).  Look at pre and post op pics also.

Why do some get burned from lipo or aggressive lipo?

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The burns do not come from standard or tumescent liposuction, only from the laser or ultrasonic machines. 

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Thermal burns

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Thermal burns can happen with ultrasound assisted liposuction for a number of reasons including a probe that becomes to close to the skin surface. Deep thermal burns are possible too. Safety is the most important thing when it comes to plastic surgery and having your procedure done by a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery is key. 


Terence M. Myckatyn, MD

Burns from Liposuction

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There are many liposuction methods including Laser and Ultrasound. These emit heat and, thus, if not used properly, can cause burns, either at the entry point or under the skin. Traditional liposuction which uses no power can cause a friction burn, though much less likely. Your best protection is to choose a board certified plastic surgeon who was trained for at least 2 years under supervision to do liposuction and who has significant subsequent experience, since there are many physicians doing liposuction who are not even surgeons and with minimal training. If you are concerned, ask about the method used and whether they have ever had burns.

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon

Liposuction - what causes burns

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Thank you for asking about your liposuction.

  • A liposuction machine that uses heat can cause skin burns and internal burns.
  • This includes laser, vaser and RF liposuction machines.
  • Most plastic surgeons avoid these machines - and use PAL/Microaire or other cold machines.
  • Those that do not avoid them, take exceptional care to make the procedure safe.
  • Results are not improved with heat - and risks are higher.
  • Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
Best wishes - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

Liposuction burn

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Thank you for your question.

Skin burns can happened with a particular type of liposuction call ultrasonic liposuction. During this technique, it is vital to keep the skin protected and to keep the cannula moving to prevent burns. And, not all liposuction burns patients. With this, it is important to choose the right surgeon with the best experience. I recommend consulting with a board certified plastic surgeon.


Manish C. Champaneria, MD

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.