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Liposuction is a minimally invasive procedure that removes excess deposits of fat to sculpt and shape the body.

Should You Consider Liposuction?

Have you tried exercising and watching your diet but still don’t like the way you look in a dress or bikini? If this sounds like you, liposuction can reduce the unwanted deposits of fat and improve your body shape.

Are You A Candidate?

Our Body Contouring Cosmetic Self Evaluation can help you decide if liposuction is the right procedure for you.


Liposuction Overview

Get A Firmer and More Sculpted Body*

Liposuction is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures performed in the United States. Some patients want to look better in a swimsuit, while others want to find jeans that fit more comfortably. For men, liposuction can help achieve a fitter or more sculpted look.

There is a good reason that liposuction is so popular. Liposuction is safe, has a short recovery, and often can produce the best results for people who have exhausted other alternatives.

Typical areas that are successfully treated with liposuction include the abdomen, love handles, hip rolls, bra rolls, outer thighs (saddlebags), inner thighs, back, chest (especially in men), and neck.


During your consultation, San Francisco's leading plastic surgeon, Dr. Larry Fan, will address your specific goals and discuss your treatment options. He will determine if you are a good candidate for liposuction and review the results that can be realistically achieved. He will also help you determine which liposuction technique is right for you and which complementary procedures may benefit you the most. We believe that every patient is unique, and that your treatment should be customized to meet your specific condition and goals.


Two More Quick Questions


Do You Have Excess Deposits of Fat That Are Problem Areas?

You may be a good candidate for liposuction:

  • If you have excess fat deposits on your hips, belly, love handles, thighs, neck, or chest that won’t respond to diet or exercise
  • If you have one or two areas of your body that are out of proportion to the rest of your body
  • If you have good skin elasticity and sagging skin is not a problem
  • If you are at or near your desired body weight

It’s important to be in good overall health and to have realistic expectations. Although liposuction can produce substantial improvement, the results are rarely perfect.

What Liposuction Won’t Do

It’s also important to understand the limitations of liposuction. If either of the following apply to you, then liposuction can offer limited success in helping you achieve your goals:

  • If you have loose, sagging skin that you want to address: Since liposuction is designed specifically to address fatty tissue, it will not significantly improve the appearance of loose skin. Other body contouring procedures, such as a tummy tuck or lift, may be better options for you.
  • If you want to lose a significant amount of weight: Liposuction can improve your shape, which can help you look thinner and more fit, but it’s not a weight loss method. While some overweight patients can benefit from the reshaping effects, the most satisfied patients tend to be happy with their weight prior to surgery.

Read More: Liposuction vs. Tummy Tuck

Procedure Steps

Safe and Comfortable Performed Through One Fourth of an Inch

Liposuction is an outpatient procedure and can be safely performed under local anesthesia, intravenous sedation, or general anesthesia. Dr. Fan will recommend the anesthesia method that is most appropriate for your needs.

During the procedure, one or more small incisions about one quarter of an inch long will be made near the treatment area. Anesthetic fluid will be injected into the treatment area to provide comfort and safety. A cannula, or thin tube, will be inserted through the incisions to loosen excess fat beneath the skin. Then, the fat is suctioned out. The procedure can take less than one hour or up to 4 hours or longer, depending on the number of areas treated.

What is the Difference Between Types of Liposuction? It’s the skill of the surgeon, not the machine.

There are many different liposuction techniques available today. The main difference between each type of liposuction is the technology used to assist the fat removal process. The manufactures of each type claim to have unique advantages, and surgeons sometimes prefer a certain technique depending on the nature of the procedure. No matter what you read about a specific technology, remember that by far the most important factor is the skill and experience of the surgeon.

Here are some of the types of liposuction popular today:

  • Tumescent Liposuction: With this technique, an anesthetic “tumescent” solution is injected into the treatment area to minimize bleeding and discomfort. Depending on the patient, tumescent liposuction can sometimes be performed with local anesthesia.
  • Laser Assisted Liposuction: Known under brand names like SmartLipo and SlimLipo, this technique uses laser energy to help dislodge fat cells. SmartLipo has been aggressively marketed by its manufacturer. See our Blog Post “Is SmartLipo Smart?”
  • Ultrasound Assisted Liposuction: Known under the brand name VASER, this technique uses ultrasound energy to help break up fatty tissue.
  • Power Assisted Liposuction: This technique uses a vibrating cannula to help break up fatty tissue.
  • Suction Assisted Liposuction: This technique uses a vacuum like device to help remove the fat.

Modern liposuction techniques use tumescent and suction assisted techniques. A laser, ultrasound, or power assist may also be added.

What To Expect After Surgery

See Dramatic Results with Minimal Downtime*

Today’s advanced liposuction techniques are designed to minimize trauma and discomfort, and when the procedure is performed by a skilled plastic surgeon, recovery from liposuction can be remarkably quick. Most patients are up and about the day after their procedure, and most patients return to work just a few days later, depending on the physical requirements of their job and the extent of the procedure. While pain medicine may be prescribed, many patients find that over the counter pain options are more than enough to manage any post-procedure soreness.

Getting Back To Normal*

You should expect swelling and bruising after your procedure, as well as some lumpiness, numbness, and tingling. Garments are worn to help with recovery. Most bruising and much of the swelling is gone after two to three weeks, although small amounts of swelling may last longer. Dr. Fan instructs his patients on how to perform deep massage on the areas which have been treated which helps with the resolution of the swelling. Most patients return to normal activities in 10 to 14 days.

Choosing A Surgeon

Choose Your Surgeon Wisely

Liposuction is a procedure that requires a high level of skill, artistry, and experience, as well as attention to detail. Dr. Fan is highly experienced with liposuction and has performed hundreds of procedures.

Dr. Fan is an Expert with a Full Range of Body Contouring Treatments including Liposuction, Tummy Tuck, and CoolScupting

Dr. Fan is also highly experienced with the full range of body contouring procedures, including nonsurgical procedures like CoolSculpting, minimally invasive procedure such as liposuction, and open surgical procedures such as tummy tuck and body lift, so he will be able to help you understand the benefits, expected results, and risks of each type of treatment so that you can decide which is best for you.

Beware of “Awake” Liposuction

Beware of doctors who oversell the benefits of “awake” liposuction. Self Magazine recently published an extensive article exploring a new national concern (link to article): physicians who are advertising and performing complex liposuction procedures in their office under local anesthesia. In most instances, these doctors are untrained in plastic surgery and don’t have the credentials to perform procedures in a hospital or certified surgery center. With a shocking lack of concern for patient safety, they are setting up operating rooms in their office and performing liposuction, breast augmentation, and facelifts while their patients are awake.

“Awake” liposuction can be safely performed under carefully selected circumstances, typically in healthy patients who are undergoing a small amount of liposuction.

Beware of “SmartLipo”

There has been a ton of hype about SmartLipo and laser assisted liposuction (LAL). The public has been bombarded by heavy advertising from the manufacturer as well as many practices promising skin tightening, faster recovery, a safer procedure under “local” anesthesia, melted fat, and avoiding the need for a tummy tuck.

The truth is that these claims are unfounded, and they are not supported by scientific evidence. At a recent meeting of the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, there was a session discussing the how Smartlipo compares to other forms of liposuction. Out of 200 plastic surgeons polled, only 2 thought laser assisted liposuction made a difference.

All of us would like to have a method to tighten skin without removing it and creating scars. Unfortunately, it doesn’t exist yet. If you are seeking out someone to perform LAL because you have loose skin, you are likely to be very disappointed. We have seen this firsthand in many patients treated at other centers.

Perhaps even more frightening, many of the doctors who have purchased LAL machines are non-surgeons who have little experience with liposuction. Be careful.

Learn More About Dr. Fan 


Exact Costs Vary Depending On Your Specific Needs and Desired Results

The cost of liposuction varies from person to person and depends on a number of factors including your specific needs and desired results.

Factors that contribute to the cost of treatment include:

  • Your particular needs and goals
  • The extent and specific type of liposuction procedure chosen
  • The experience and reputation of the plastic surgeon
  • Any advanced technology or surgical techniques that may be used
  • The geographic location where the procedure takes place
  • The surgical facility used
  • The type of anesthesia a patient selects

Costs of surgery may include fees for the surgeon, anesthesia, operating room, facility, equipment, implants, garments, aftercare, lab tests, and medications.

The cost for liposuction in San Francisco ranges from $3,000 to $30,000.

We offer a range of patient financing plans including low monthly payment plans and plans for those with suboptimal credit histories.

You can find more information about our Financing plans here

See Your Results

Sculpt Your Body

Liposuction removes excess fat and can help you achieve a firmer, more shapely figure. The results of liposuction will become more and more apparent as the swelling dissipates. Final results take six to twelve months to visualize as the skin will undergo a natural tightening process.

Liposuction results can be lasting with proper care. Liposuction removes fat cells from your body, and these cells will not grow back. However, it is important to maintain a stable weight to ensure that your new look remains optimal. If you gain a significant amount of weight in the future, your overall appearance is likely to change as your body stores fat in other locations.

Dr. Fan is known in San Francisco, and internationally, for his artistic eye, expert hands, experience, and meticulous attention to detail. He is also known for his outstanding liposuction results.


Actual Patient Before & After Liposuction*


Liposuction FAQ

What is liposuction?

Liposuction is a surgical procedure that improves the body’s contour by removing excess fat deposits located between the skin and the muscle.

What is tumescent liposuction?

Tumescent liposuction is a technique of liposuction that uses tumescent local anesthesia. The tumescent anesthesia provides comfort and additional safety compared to more traditional forms of liposuction.

How does abdominal liposuction differ from a tummy tuck?

Abdominal liposuction can help contour the belly by removing unwanted fat while a tummy tuck also removes loose skin and stretch marks and tightens loose muscles. If you have loose, hanging skin, or loose, bulging abdominal muscles, it is very likely that a tummy tuck may be needed. You should seek out the advice of a Board Certified plastic surgeon who performs both liposuction and tummy tucks.

Read More: Which Type of Liposuction is Best?

Am I a good candidate for liposuction surgery?

You may be a good candidate for liposuction if you wish to improve the shape of your body, are in good overall health, and have excessive fatty deposits under the skin along with minimal sagging of the skin. If you have significant amounts of loose skin, a lift or tuck procedure may also be needed. It is also important to have realistic expectations. Liposuction can help improve the contour of your body, but it's not an appropriate nor effective treatment for weight loss or obesity. Although liposuction can often provide substantial improvement, the results are rarely perfect.

What are realistic expectations of my liposuction surgery?

Liposuction can often provide substantial improvement to the shape and contour of your body, but it is not a procedure for weight loss or obesity.

Which body areas can be treated by liposuction?

The most frequently treated areas are the abdomen, love handles, bra rolls, hips, outer thighs, inner thighs, arms, neck, chest, and knees.

What are the risks and complications of liposuction surgery?

Liposuction is generally considered a safe procedure. However, all procedures carry a small degree of risk. Risk of liposuciton include bleeding, infection, skin ulcerations, nerve injury, contour irregularity, and blood clots.


What questions should I ask before choosing a liposuction surgeon?

Choosing a good surgeon is one of the most important choices you will make. You should ask whether you a good candidate for the procedure and what results can be expected. You should also ask if your surgeon is Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Free eBook: 14 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Plastic Surgeon

Is general anesthesia or local anesthesia safer for liposuction surgery?

Both forms of anesthesia are considered safe in properly selected circumstances. You should ask your surgeon about the advantages and disadvantages of each.

What the important characteristics of a safe surgical facility?

The surgery facility should be clean, well-equipped, and, most importantly, certified by the AAAASF, AAAHC, JCAHO, or Medicare.

What is the safest form of liposuction?

Liposuction is generally safe when the procedure is performed by a qualified plastic surgeon and the patient is selected appropriately. The skill and experience of the surgeon performing the surgery is much more important than the technique.

Is Smartlipo better than traditional liposuction?

Smartlipo is a branded name for laser assisted liposuction. It is often marketed very aggressively by less scrupulous practices. It is sometimes suggested that the laser may help reduce bruising and help with skin tightening, but scientific evidence is lacking. Be wary of anyone promising significant skin tightening using a laser. The skill and the experience of the surgeon performing the procedure is much more important than the machine or technique. A good surgeon can obtain consistently good results with any of the commonly used machines.

Read More: Is SmartLipo Really Best?

How long is the liposuction post-op and recovery time?

Recovery times vary depending on your age, health, and procedure performed. Temporary swelling, bruising, and numbness are common. Compression garments are often prescribed. Most patients return to work in 2-7 days. Bruising usually resolves in 1-2 weeks. Swelling may persist longer. Final results are seen in 3-6 months.

Is there pain or discomfort after liposuction surgery?

Pain is generally mild to moderate. Most patients describe a sense of deep tissue soreness, tenderness, numbness, and/or tingling.

How does liposuction affect the appearance of the skin?

The appearance of the skin after liposuction depends on its elasticity. Skin with good elasticity should look smooth and natural after liposuction. The cannulas used for liposuction are very small, so the scars are very small and rarely a problem.

Can liposuction treat cellulite?

Liposuction does not treat or cure cellulite. There are other procedures designed to treat cellulite specifically, which you can ask your surgeon about.

Is liposuction a reasonable treatment for obesity?

Liposuction is not a good treatment for obesity. It is designed for body sculpting and shaping.

How does abdominal liposuction differ from a tummy tuck?

Abdominal liposuction can help contour the belly by removing unwanted fat while a tummy tuck also removes loose skin and stretch marks and tightens loose muscles. If you have loose, hanging skin, or loose, bulging abdominal muscles, it is very likely that a tummy tuck may be needed. You should seek out the advice of a Board Certified plastic surgeon who performs both liposuction and tummy tucks.

Read More: Liposuction vs. Tummy Tuck: Which is Best?



Related Procedures


CoolSculpting uses controlled cooling to freeze and eliminate unwanted fat cells without surgery or downtime. CoolSculpting does not remove or tighten sagging skin. The results seen with CoolScupting are more modest compared to those achieved with liposuction and tummy tucks.

Learn More About CoolSculpting

Tummy Tuck

A tummy tuck is a procedure that removes excess fat and skin and tightens weakened abdominal muscles to create a firmer, flatter abdominal contour.

Learn More About Tummy Tuck

Belt Lipectomy

A belt lipectomy, or lower body lift, removes excess skin circumferentially from the trunk.

Learn More About Belt Lipectomy

Mommy Makeover

A Mommy Makeover is a series of procedures designed to help you regain your pre-pregnancy figure. A Mommy Makeover often includes a tummy tuck, liposuction, and breast enhancement.

Learn More About Mommy Makeover


A year later I am THRILLED with my results! Dr. Fan is amazing and I love him!"*

— Ms. A

Why Dr. Larry Fan & 77 Plastic Surgery


Larry Fan, MD

Dr. Larry Fan is an award winning, Harvard educated, and nationally recognized plastic surgeon based in San Francisco. He is a progressive, compassionate thinker who is committed to achieving the highest levels of excellence and the very best aesthetic results. Dr. Fan is an expert facelift surgeon who is known for achieving natural beauty, never “overdone.”
Meet Dr. Fan

Harvard Trained & One of America's Top Plastic Surgeons

Dr. Fan is known for his elegant sense of artistry and refined surgical skills. He will perform your surgery with expert, world-class execution and has the results to prov


Exceptional Results & Award Winning Care

Dr. Fan and his team are committed to providing you with exceptional care, counseling, and support before, during, and after surgery. We take pride and joy in caring for you and have received numerous awards for our compassionate care.

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Ready For A More Sculpted Body?

During your consultation, Dr. Fan will take the time to address your specific goals and to discuss your treatment options. He will determine if you are a good candidate for tummy tuck surgery and review the results that can be realistically achieved. He will also help you determine which complementary procedures may benefit you the most.


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