Does Liposuction Hurt? Liposuction Pain Explained

Liposuction surgery is a procedure that removes fat cells in order to reshape the body. There may be pain after your liposuction procedure. Liposuction involves the use of anesthetic and surgical tools for melting or loosening the fat and then suctioning it out. Common treatment areas include the midsection, back, thighs, arms, chin, and face.

During consultations at my HD Lipo Center, many patients want to be prepared for how much liposuction pain they’ll experience during and after the procedure. Below I’ll answer some of the most common questions/concerns that I receive.

I’m Scared That It Will Be Too Painful

Pictured left: A “cannula” tool that is used to suction fat.

I realize that Liposuction surgery might sound scary and even painful, but “no pain, no gain” right? In all seriousness, Liposuction is an invasive procedure so there could be some pain involved. However, patients are always provided with top-notch anesthesia to manage potential discomfort. Vaser HD Lipo, like all other liposuction methods, requires the use of a cannula or rod with holes at the tip that allows your surgeon to carefully remove fat.

This process of fat removal, although less invasive than most surgeries, still involves irritation to nerves and blood vessels. This triggers a direct pain response, while injury to small vessels results in the oozing of blood triggering an inflammatory response and pain. Given these two phenomenons, it’s not surprising that HD Vaser Lipo, which melts fat before removal, causes less liposuction pain than traditional liposuction.

Traditional VS VASER

Notice the larger amount of fat removed with VASER

As such, let’s compare Vaser Lipo technology to traditional liposuction. The traditional method removes fat by piercing semisolid fat and ripping it out. This is a much more invasive and brutal method in comparison to Vaser which removes fat after it has been liquified to the consistency of melted butter. Now, which one of these techniques do you think creates more trauma to sensory nerves and vessels? The answer is traditional liposuction and this is evident by looking at the fat retrieval canisters evidenced by the photo below.

It is obvious that the level of trauma to vessels and subsequent blood loss is far greater in the traditional liposuction canister (on the left) versus the Vaser Lipo canister (on the right). This is exactly why at a 1:1 infiltration to fat aspirated volume, the Vaser method is not only going to remove more fat but also is much less painful and likely o reduce liposuction pain. One crucial thing to consider is that Vaser technology allows Surgeons to remove far more pure fat volume (superficial and deep fat) than traditional liposuction (deep fat only).

The ability to remove more fat, naturally, is going to result in more dramatic results. However, this can cause a bit more discomfort. Nonetheless, if you are looking for that “wow” factor, that “jaw-dropping” result, then experiencing some discomfort is a small price to pay. So, the answer to the question, does liposuction hurt? Is yes, but less than it used to with VASER and our skilled surgical team.

Does Lipo Hurt? Yes, but You Can Minimize Liposuction Pain and Discomfort after Surgery

Several steps are taken at our HD Lipo center in Newport Beach to minimize discomfort. First, we custom wrap our patients with a form-fitted circumferential foam and garment. The custom-fitted foam is on-laid with a form-fitted compression garment that is also tailored to your body. Check out this video on our HD Liposuction Page to show you exactly how we create a custom foam garment for perfect post-op compression. 

The application of both the foam and compression garment creates pressure on the body. This minimizes swelling and triggers pressure nerves that block sensory pain nerves from transmitting. We closely monitor patients on post-op days 2, 4, 6, 8 and again at weeks 1, 2, and 4. During this time we will re-tighten the foam inlay to accommodate and resolve the swelling. Finally, we utilize intraoperative Exparel, a long-acting numbing medication, which provides up to four days of numbness.

If you have been considering liposuction, now is the time to talk to Dr. Mowlavi about your concerns. Our Perfect Change Program takes you step by step throughout the procedure to put you at ease. You are welcome to talk with our previous patients about their experience and management of liposuction pain. Schedule your free consultation now. 

See also: Learn how HD Vaser Lipo minimizes bruising

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