Liposuction made its debut in the ’80s and has not looked back since. Removing stubborn fat deposits that diet and exercise just can’t help, in a single, simple, surgery, is certainly appealing. In reality, liposuction is usually an adjunctive procedure. That is, it is used in combination with some other surgical procedure (such as a tummy tuck, butt lift, thigh lift, or facelift). Although liposuction effectively removes fat, it cannot remove excess skin. So it’s rare that a patient can achieve her goals with a liposuction-only procedure. Furthermore, liposuction is not a weight-loss procedure, but a reshaping procedure. As such, it is best performed in patients who have isolated fat deposits, but are overall close to their goal weight.

As is common in plastic surgery, many different techniques for liposuction have been developed over the years, such as suction-assisted, power-assisted, ultrasound, laser lipo, “smart” lipo, and SAFE lipo. What is most important in any liposuction procedure is that care be taken to avoid any irregularities in your skin contour (which can occur if fat is removed too aggressively or in the wrong layer), and that the final result is symmetric and aesthetically pleasing.

To learn more about liposuction, and whether it is right for you, schedule a consultation with Dr. Nagarkar. He will have a comprehensive discussion with you about your goals, and after a detailed examination and photographic analysis, customize a surgical plan for your particular case.

Dr. Purushottam Nagarkar, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Plano and Frisco
Dr. Nagarkar on liposuction:

Patients often think of liposuction as a cure-all – just suck out the fat, and you can lose weight and get your younger body back. Unfortunately this is far from the truth. I think that liposuction is like good wine – it complements the food, but it wouldn’t be much of a meal by itself. Liposuction is a tool that can take a surgery like a tummy tuck and produce an absolutely fantastic result. It is probably the closest thing to sculpting in plastic surgery – moving or removing fat deposits in a controlled manner to reveal your underlying curves.

Who is a good candidate for liposuction:

Most patients without any major medical problems can be good candidates for liposuction when combined with another procedure. There are very few patients who are good candidates for a liposuction-only procedure. The best candidates are patients who are at their goal weight, have excellent skin tone, and isolated fat deposits in specific spots in the body.

How to prepare for surgery:

Dr. Nagarkar will let you know if any laboratory tests are required before your surgery. If you are a smoker, you must completely stop smoking and refrain from any nicotine-containing smoking cessation aids (such as patches or gums) for 6 weeks before and after surgery. This is critical as smoking increases the risk of significant complications. Finally, you will discuss with Dr. Nagarkar which medications and supplements you should stop taking before surgery, and which ones you can continue. It is very important to provide complete information to prevent any post-operative problems. You will get detailed written instructions for pre- and post-operative care. In addition, you will receive any postoperative prescriptions you might need so that you can have them filled by your pharmacy in advance.

What to expect on the day of surgery:

Liposuction procedures vary in length based on the amount of fat to be removed, and whether other procedures are being performed at the same time. You should plan on having nothing to eat or drink after midnight the night before surgery. Some patients may stay overnight at the hospital for observation depending on the exact procedure performed. You will need to have someone drive you to and from the surgery, and to help around the house for a few days while you get your energy back.

What to expect after surgery:


In the operating room liposuction is performed to achieve the perfect contour and shape. Unfortunately, in the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery, significant swelling occurs. It will take 2 to 3 months for the swelling to resolve and for you to see your final result.

The first few days

The first night after surgery, it is critical that you are up and out of bed and walking, to reduce the risk of forming blood clots in your legs. Dr. Nagarkar will call you the day after you go home to check in with you and to answer any questions you might have.


The aftermath of liposuction feels a bit like you were the punching bag for a particularly vigorous kickboxing class. You will be sore in all the areas where liposuction was performed, but rest, and anti-inflammatory over the counter medications like Tylenol and Ibuprofen, are often adequate. Narcotics are usually not required at all.

Incision care

Liposuction incisions are quite small, and will be closed with absorbable sutures. For the first few days after surgery, you may have a bit of saline ooze out from the incisions. This is completely normal and expected. You can generally start showering the day after surgery. Bathing, swimming, or getting in a jacuzzi should not be done until at least 3 weeks after surgery. We will provide you with a special garment with foam inserts that compresses your new curves and helps maintain their shape. You should wear this garment night and day for the first 2 weeks after surgery, and then at night for the next 2 weeks.


Most patients do not require surgical drains.


You can return to your regular diet after surgery, but for the first day or two, stick with lighter meals. Anesthesia can make your digestive system a bit sensitive, so having a double cheeseburger right after surgery is not recommended. You should refrain from high-sodium foods because these will prolong the time required for your swelling to resolve.


Most patients will require 1 to 2 weeks off work.


You will be able to go back to non-strenuous activities such as walking, using a computer, writing, and so on, immediately after surgery.


You can resume driving once you are no longer taking narcotic medications, and when you feel that you are in full control of your car. This often takes a week or two.


Aerobic exercise such as yoga, running, cycling, barre, etc., must be stopped for 3 weeks to allow the skin to heal.

Follow-up visits

You will see Dr. Nagarkar in the office usually 7 – 10 days after surgery to examine the incisions and ensure that you are healing appropriately. We will see you again at the 4-6 week mark. At that time Dr. Nagarkar may clear you from activity restrictions if you are healing appropriately. Finally you will have appointments around 3 months, 6 months and 1 year after surgery.

To meet Dr. Nagarkar in person, schedule your consultation or call us.