Liposuction FAQ

Liposuction is perennially one of the top cosmetic surgical procedures performed. Its popularity stems from its effectiveness and demonstrated track record of safety. Because there are several different liposuction techniques, San Diego-area patients who consult with Dr. Chaffoo often have a lot of questions. Here, you can find Dr. Chaffoo's answers to many of the most common questions patients ask about liposuction at his La Jolla practice.

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If you're considering liposuction, it's important to find an experienced plastic surgeon who understands the benefits of each technique. Patients choose Dr. Richard A. Chaffoo because he's a body contouring specialist who answers questions clearly in a way that is easy to understand. Request your cosmetic complimentary consultation online or call (858) 997-0096 for an appointment.


Dr. Chaffoo

Triple board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Richard Chaffoo provides exceptional results and patient care.

  • What is traditional liposuction?

    what is liposuction

    When you see the phrase "traditional liposuction," it typically refers to a surgeon manually removing fat using a cannula, which is a thin tube that's inserted during the procedure. Most liposuction techniques begin with the injection of tumescent fluid, which saturates the targeted area with a solution that includes epinephrine (adrenaline), causing the tissue to swell and become firm and making it easier to remove.

    In some cases, Dr. Chaffoo enhances this traditional, manual method by using power-assisted liposuction or laser liposuction.

    How much weight can I lose with liposuction?

    It's important to remember that liposuction is not a weight-loss procedure so much as a way to contour areas of stubborn fat. You should be close to your ideal weight before undergoing the treatment. That said, there is no specific limit to the amount of fat that can be removed through liposuction. It's important to distinguish between the total amount of fluid and fat that is removed (called aspirate) and total fat removed. Plastic surgeons typically refer to aspirate when discussing volume. In general, if more than 6 to 8 pounds of fat need to be removed, Dr. Chaffoo will perform separate procedures.

    Will fat cells grow back after liposuction?

    Fat cells removed by liposuction never come back. However, if a patient gains significant weight, the body's remaining fat cells will still enlarge. Small weight gains (less than 10% of a person's body weight) are not a major health concern typically, but they do usually result in existing fat cells enlarging. This is why it's a good idea for patients to stick to a healthy lifestyle and maintain a fairly consistent weight after the treatment.

    Does liposuction help reduce cellulite?

    No, liposuction is a fat-reduction procedure. Cellulite is caused by fibrous bands that pull the skin downward and cause surface dimpling. Liposuction does not address these bands. Patients concerned about cellulite may combine a liposuction procedure with Cellulaze™ treatments.

    Do I need liposuction or CoolSculpting®?

    Dr. Chaffoo evaluates the specific body contouring needs of each patient during the complimentary consultation. CoolSculpting offers our San Diego-area patients a non-surgical method of reducing stubborn pockets of fat that don't respond to diet and exercise. Liposuction can get more dramatic results. In some cases, liposuction combined with CoolSculpting is the best way to achieve the patient's cosmetic goals. If you're unsure which choice is best for you, Dr. Chaffoo can discuss all the factors at a complimentary consultation.

    Are there scars after liposuction?

    Because liposuction uses a fine cannula to suction away fatty tissue, the necessary incisions are very small — usually just a few millimeters. These do not leave any significant scars. Dr. Chaffoo also works to place these incisions in the most discreet locations possible, and our team provides you with detailed aftercare instructions to ensure quick, beautiful healing.

    How much does liposuction cost?

    The cost of liposuction procedures varies widely at our La Jolla practice based on which areas Dr. Chaffoo treats, how much fat is removed, whether other procedures are involved, and other factors. Therefore, it's difficult to provide a quote online. Dr. Chaffoo and our team offer various financing options, and we're happy to provide a customized quote at a complimentary consultation based on your goals.

    What's the difference between traditional liposuction and Smartlipo®?

    Smartlipo is a minimally invasive, laser-assisted liposuction method that is typically associated with shorter procedure time and a faster, more comfortable recovery than traditional liposuction.1 The advanced Smartlipo TriPlex™ system Dr. Chaffoo uses tightens skin and can treat cellulite, benefits not available from traditional liposuction. Unlike tumescent liposuction or power-assisted liposuction (PAL), Smartlipo uses a laser fiber to liquefy fat cells before they are suctioned from the body.

    By offering multiple types of liposuction, Dr. Chaffoo can recommend the treatment he believes will get the best results based on a thorough physical exam and your cosmetic goals. In some cases, Smartlipo can complement tumescent liposuction to get the optimal results.

    Can liposuction reduce the amount of fat around my neck?

    Even though liposuction is often thought of as a body contouring treatment, it's also effective for enhancing the definition of your neck. Smartlipo especially is an excellent tool for targeting the fat deposits in the neck and along the jawline that result in a double chin. In addition to removing fat with precision, Smartlipo can tighten loose neck skin.

    1 McBean, Jason C., Katz, Bruce E., Laser Lipolysis: An Update, Journal of Clinical Aesthetic Dermatology: 2011; 4(7): 25-34.