What is the "Safest" Area of the Body to Perform Liposuction?

I recently got a quote from my PS for lipo to flanks, inner/outer thighs. However after discussing with a friend who had the same procedure done, she said avoid the thighs because they tend not to come out smooth. I've heard the same thing about the stomach. Would I have better chances of smooth results in just doing the flanks and hips alone? Are there any techiniques in lipo that can minimize a lumpy outcome? I'd rather have my fat pockets than a smaller lumpy body :-(

Doctor Answers 9

Liposuction-getting the best results

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The general idea behind liposuction is that we are removing excess fat in specific areas of the body that have been resistant to diet and exercise, and then relying on the skin in that area to tighten over time.  So if a patient is younger, not overweight and has excellent skin quality, they tend to do better and get smoother results.  It's also true that different parts of the body have better, thicker skin that responds better to liposuction-- for example, the skin of the hips or low back is quite thick and elastic, while the skin of the inner thigh is usually thinner.  So while you can get a great result in any area, it really depends on the skill and judgement of the surgeon more so than the technology of the lipo equipment-- he needs to decide if you are a good candidate overall, if the specific areas of concern on your body will react well to the procedure, and then be very honest with you about your options and the kind of results you should expect.  Sitting down with a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon in your area and going through an evaluation and consultation in detail is key to this process and will give you the best chance at a great result.

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 155 reviews

Liposuction: Ensuring Smooth Results

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Liposuction can be very safe and extremely effective when done skillfully and with caution. It is not a mere suctioning of loose fat.  A good result starts with the proper assessment of your dimensions and figurative proportions. Your surgeon must use an artistic eye and a gentle hand when sculpting your result rather than remove any fat that can be pinched.  Some fat may need to be left in place if it is supporting overlying loose skin.  The rule is not to deflate an area and leave it more aged or dimpled in appearance.  If an area is to be treated the overlying skin must have good tone and allow for contraction after the underlying fat is removed.  Full but firm is always more youthful and attractive than lean and loose, which is in fact what we see with natural aging.
The upper inner thighs tend to have much thinner skin than the outer thighs and hence must be approached cautiously.  Overtreatment of this area may lead to dimpling or rippling of the skin.  It is the least forgiving area for liposuction and in some a 25-50% improvement is considered an acceptable result.  In others, more improvement can be obtained if the fatty deposits are localized to a smaller are and the skin has thicker texture.  The outer thighs, hips, and flanks are much more forgiving and more aggressive lipo-sculpting can be performed.  The abdomen must also be approached with caution as there can be horizontal irregularities if the skin is too loose prior to treatment.  These individuals may be better candidates for an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck).  If the abdomen is treated then caution must be used in avoiding tight waistline garments or prolonged sitting positions in the early weeks following.  I always instruct our patients of the proper ways to manage their results post-operatively to ensure the most positive outcomes.
Overall,  liposuction success is always linked to your surgeon's sound judgement and technical skills.  Before and after photo galleries should give you insight to every surgeons skills and judgment.

Marc Malek, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon

Smooth Results after Liposuction

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This is a very good question. In general, the younger you are, say under 35, the more fat can be taken out and still have smooth skin that is not lumpy. Even someone who is older than that age, can have smooth results as long as less is taken out and small instruments are used with an overlapping and crisscrossing technique. 

During the consultation, ask to see the instruments that are to be used. When lumpiness could be a problem, I like to use an instrument that is about as skinny as a coffee stirrer, i.e. much smaller than a normal drinking straw.

Tightness of the skin is very important. If the skin is loose as is sometimes the case on the tummy, a good goal might be to only remove half of the fat in that area, so that you get a smooth result.

After all the above ideas are considered, some areas do tend to be the best to see smooth results: the neck, upper arms, waist, hips, inner kees and outer thighs are places where one can expect the skin to lie flat after liposuction. Other areas require more care. Finally, the front and back of the thighs should NOT be liposuctioned.

Best wishes. 

T. Wayne Day, MD
Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon

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Almost all areas of the body is safe to perform liposuction with the right surgeon and technique.

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Using small canulas and tumescent local liposuction anesthesia, you can do most areas of the body with good results in the right patient.  There are limits how much can be removed safely at 1 procedure but your doc will advise you about this once they see you.  Sincerely,

David Hansen,MD

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Any location is safe with an experienced dermatologic or cosmetic surgeon

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Liposuction can be safely performed with smooth results in ANY location. The development of lumpiness is a result of poorly performed liposuction. Best results are obtained using tumescent liposuction with small cannulas performed by an experienced dermatologic or cosmetic surgeon.

Mitchel P. Goldman, MD
San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Varies by surgeon and area

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The quality of a liposuction result varies with the surgeon's technique as well as the area treated and the patient's overal health. Generally the abdomen and the lateral thighs are amongst the safer areas. Using a smaller cannula with better technique also reduces surface irregularities.


Best Regards,


John Di Saia MD

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon

Safer areas for Liposuction

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Each area of the body has its own unique charisterics of how it reacts to liposuction. The most problematic area is usually the upper inner thighs. However, with care and experience, even this area does well. A good, experienced surgeon should rarely get lumpiness or irregularity. When I started doing Liposuction (I was among the first trained by the Europeans in this country), I used to tell everyone that Liposuction was a two staged procedure. The second stage was to make sure everything was smooth. However, with newer, smaller cannulae, I have almost never had to go back to revise anything. The lesson in this is to pick a Plastic Surgeon who has significant experience with Liposuction. Demand to see credentials and before and after pictures. Beware of the non Plastic Surgeons who have started suctioning fat, expecially those with a new machine.

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon

Liposuction Outcomes

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With liposuction, it really depends on the experience and technique of the plastic surgeon and not necessarily the are of your body or the type of liposuction that you are having.  Without knowing what exact procedures your friend had or seeing before and after pictures of your or her, it really is impossible for us to comment specifically on what you can expect.  


Good Luck.

Smooth skin after liposuction

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The quality of the skin first dictates how things may look after liposuction. In addition, it also depends upon the amount of fat removed, the quality of the procedure, etc..

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

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.