Liposuction: procedure, price, techniques, risks

Thighs, belly... Liposuction is a cosmetic surgery procedure that selectively removes fat through suction (liposuction or liposculpture), using small cannulas inserted under the skin.

Before making the decision to undergo a liposuction , it is essential to have all the cards in hand. Who to contact for a safe operation, what it involves, what are the price , how to boost the results after the intervention and especially to have all the advice of a doctor to be sure that this surgical technique corresponds to your profile? We guide you.

What is liposuction?

Also called 'liposuction' or 'liposculpture', liposuction is a surgical procedure that consists of extract fat mass excess from a patient by aspiration using cannulas ( 3/4 millimeters ), inserted under the skin. This cannula liposuction technique was developed in the 1980s by French surgeon Yves Gérard Illouz. The handling of subcutaneous fat should be gentle and even to avoid unsightly ripples. To note that This operation leaves almost no scars. (otherwise, these disappear over time).

Liposuction: for whom?

This cosmetic surgery procedure is intended for women like to men . 'I receive a majority of women and sometimes men. The reason that drives them to want to try liposuction is more aesthetic than medical, explains plastic surgeon Dr. Pierre Nahon. This can range from simple complexes or ill-being to real psychological distress and this, at very specific periods of a woman's hormonal life. So I meet young girls from 16 years old who want to lose their rounded teenage belly. There are also women who have undergone a new distribution of fat on the hips and belly after childbirth and finally menopausal women, because of the fall in hormones and the storage of fat on the abdominal belt. Contrary to many popular beliefs, liposuction does not help you lose weight but only to remove localized fat cells that resist dieting. It is thus practiced as a second intention, in case of failure of the usual slimming techniques, in patients with fatty deposits with a sufficiently firm skin. It is not indicated in cases of general overweight or obesity.

Which address ?

Liposuction is a surgical procedure in its own right and must therefore be carried out with a qualified surgeon whom you trust completely. To find it, contact the National Council of the Order of Physicians. The first consultation allows you to judge the seriousness of the practitioner and it is up to him to evaluate your request. If he judges that this intervention is feasible, he then performs an in-depth examination using X-rays, photos and must submit two written documents, namely an estimate containing the qualifications of the practitioner, the place of intervention, the price and references to his professional insurance. As for the second, it is an informed consent, which must include all of the information (type of intervention, anesthesia, risks and post-operative consequences and result to be achieved). You should also know that there is no precise number of visits to respect, apart from the first made with the surgeon and another made with the anesthesiologist, between a month and a week before the intervention. A mandatory period of reflection of 15 days must also be held between the consultation and the liposuction. Finally, a post-operative consultation is recommended one week after the liposuction.

Before-After: how is the operation going?

  skin liposuction diagram
Diagram of a skin liposuction

Liposuction can be performed under local anesthesia if the excess fat to be removed is limited or under General anaesthesia if the liposuctions are more important and for more comfort. The duration of the procedure depends on the number of areas to be treated and the size of the operation. It is necessary to count on average 30 minutes for an intervention on one zone and up to 2h30 on several zones.

• Before surgery

Liposuction is a surgical procedure that must be organized several weeks in advance. 'It is necessary to realize the importance of such an act, insists Dr. Nahon. For liposuction to be successful and well experienced, it must first have been well indicated by the surgeon, that is to say consistent. It is also important for the patient to be realistic about the results, which will depend on the volume of excess fat to be removed, but also on her motivation to maintain this result thereafter. The entourage also has a big role to play: they must not show hostility in order to give maximum confidence to the person who is going to have the operation. And then in my opinion, it is not good for the psychological balance to do things 'in secret', nor to have deadlines, which only generate stress. Of course, the patient must be sure of her choice and convinced that liposuction remains the only solution. Finally, it is better to reserve a fortnight after the intervention, to recover and get used to the idea that your body will change.

Quotation, panty purchase: There is no given number of consultations, only the first with the surgeon and the one with the anesthesiologist are mandatory. During this first consultation with your surgeon, you will be given your estimate (cost of the procedure, fees, expected results, etc.) as well as your panty prescription, which can be purchased at a pharmacy or by mail order (but it is best to try it on the spot to make sure it fits you and avoid it becoming too tight). It is a kind of compression tights which is used to compress the treated areas and to bandage bruises. He costs from 50 to a hundred euros depending on the model. Take your usual size, so that you feel as comfortable as possible.

The appointment with the anesthesiologist: Between a week and a month after the first surgical consultation, you will also need to make an appointment with the anesthesiologist. He will establish a complete pre-operative assessment (blood tests among others) and will decide whether you should undergo general or local anesthesia. Once these two consultations have been completed, you can submit your hospitalization reservation form to the establishment where your plastic surgeon exercises.

• D-day

You must arrive at the clinic the morning of the operation, the time to settle in your room, to shower if necessary, to meet the medical team and to ask the last questions to your surgeon, before the operation. Most often, the nurses administer a pre-medication in the form of a mild sedative, to allow patients who are a little anxious to wait for the operation in a more serene way.

'For liposuction to be successful and well experienced, it must first have been well indicated by the surgeon, that is to say consistent.'

At the time of the intervention, you will be taken to the operating room, where the team is already present with the instructions to be followed: the disinfection of the equipment, the installation of the operating fields as well as the diagrams of the incisions to be made. The procedure usually lasts between half an hour and two hours, depending on the amount of fat to be removed. The anesthetist can then proceed with the anesthesia, injecting a product by infusion which takes effect after a few minutes.

• After the intervention: the postoperative course

When the operation is over, the medical team will take you back to your room, where you will then be in the recovery phase.

  • After a few hours, you can put on your panties. It is mandatory to wear day or night And this for 3 to 4 weeks .
  • It is also common to have an infusion in the 24 hours following the intervention, this one containing in particular analgesics and tranquilizers, to reduce any pain and improve the comfort of the patient. The pains are comparable to big aches and especially present the first week.
  • The bruises or bruises will persist for two to three weeks.
  • Regarding the duration of the stay, it is one day with the night of the intervention included. And when you leave the establishment (in the morning if all goes well), you will be able to move and walk but with some discomfort.
  • A week of recovery is usually necessary and recommended. There is no massage or special care to perform during the first month.
  • After this week, takes place the post-operative consultation , which allows the surgeon who operated on you to perform a check-up and remove the sutures.


The results are not visible from the first days. It usually takes a month to start observing them. 70% of the result is generally obtained at the end of the 2nd month, 100% after one year so be patient... To optimize them, Doctor Pierre Nahon advises:

  • to reduce the consumption of tobacco or even to interrupt it at least one month before the intervention as well as the consumption of alcohol and all medicinal supplements which could modify blood coagulation (aspirin, anti-depressants?).
  • to lose one or two kilos before the operation: 'Some patients tend to think they can eat whatever they want on the pretext that they are going to have liposuction and sometimes come back with two kilos more, at the time of the operation', explains the doctor.

70% of the result is generally obtained at the end of the 2nd month, 100% after one year.

  • to change his lifestyle after the operation if it left something to be desired. Watch your calorie intake: 'The objective is above all not to gain weight in order to maintain the result. Some patients are so motivated by the result obtained that they no longer have any difficulty in going on a diet' , says Pierre Nahon.
  • to return to sport (it is not recommended the month following the operation) in order to strengthen your body, by practicing for example the gym, jogging, swimming or cycling, two or three times a week. And, to do a minimum of exercise during the day, prefer walking to get home from the office or take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Liposuction: side effects and risks

Even if the liposuction was performed seriously by a competent surgeon, there are 'normal side effects' following liposuction such as edema and bruises so-called post-traumatic, impressive to the sight but which fade after a few weeks.


The main medical risk is phlebitis, which is the formation of clots in the veins deep in the leg. This risk, linked to immobility due to the operating conditions, is prevented by special precautions such as the prescription of anticoagulants in the postoperative period. This risk is made particularly low by a rapid resumption of activities.

Skin infections and necroses

Infections are extremely rare because this procedure never leaves liquid in stasis in the body. Similarly, cases of skin necrosis are part of the past and linked to a flagrant lack of experience on the part of the practitioner. They no longer see each other.


The scars are 3mm, just enough to fit the cannula that will remove the fat. There are one or even two of them per area treated. They are therefore negligible and almost undetectable after one year. The removal of excess skin is done by skin retraction after the operation.

'The patient is responsible for her health: she must think carefully and be aware of her state of health before taking action.'


'It is rare that one cannot perform liposuction, replies Dr. Nahon. However, it can happen in case of severe medical problems. It is then up to the surgeon and the anesthesiologist to decide on the feasibility of the intervention, during the preoperative assessment. For example, in the event of serious pathologies (leukaemia, seropositivity) or serious psychological problems, the surgeon can seek the opinion of the specialist who usually follows the patient. The goal is to ensure that she will bear the medical constraints related to the intervention and that it will be beneficial to her morale. I may also ask patients to suspend their use of antidepressants. But, again, the patient is responsible for her health: she must think carefully and be aware of her state of health before taking action.'

What prices and refunds?

The liposuction is not covered by social security unless it is justified by an illness or the sequelae of an accident. In this case, it is covered 100% by the Social Security (intervention costs, surgeon's fees and hospitalization only in a public institution). Disputed cases must be the subject of a specific request which will allow Social Security to verify the validity of the reimbursement.

A consultation with a plastic surgeon costs on average between 50 and 150 euros.

Be aware that a consultation with a plastic surgeon costs on average between 50 and 150 euros. Regarding the intervention itself, it will also depend on the anesthesia (local or general) and the areas to be treated. For example, count:

  • between approximately 1,500 to 3,000 euros for a saddlebag liposuction or thighs,
  • from 900 to 1,900 euros for the abdominal belt,
  • between 700 and 1,100 euros for the liposuction of knees ,
  • and for the face (chin and jowls), count between 1,200 and 1,800 euros.

To this, do not forget to add the care prescribed by your surgeon, namely a panty and some analgesics.

Reviews and testimonials

Claire, 32: 'Liposuction took away all my complexes!'

'Before my liposuction, in 2003, I had localized curves in the hips. As a result, it was impossible to be fashionable and to wear the low-waisted pants that I liked so much. I felt bad about myself, that one day, I said to myself that I could not stay like this any longer. I then made an appointment with a surgeon with whom the contact immediately went well. I was so motivated that I had no qualms to take out a loan which I repaid gradually. Shortly after, the intervention took place targeting the saddlebags, the thighs and the buttocks . And frankly, three years later, I'm still thrilled with the result! Today, I have more self-confidence, I can wear skirts without complex and I no longer hide with my sarong on the beach. I still lost two sizes, going from 44 to 40! And, to preserve this result, I don't follow a crash diet: I just try to eat sensibly and exercise twice a week. Apart from this really life-changing result, there is only one downside: the pain after the procedure. Surprisingly, but normal it seems, my bruises had gone all the way down to my feet! But, the pain and the bruises soon disappeared and I was able to go back to work, transformed!'

Michelle, 32: 'To lose my curves after my pregnancy , I only saw liposuction'

'I underwent my liposuction 6 months ago, following my pregnancy. In addition to the pounds gained during 9 months, I especially had an awful bulge and a skin that had become far too distended. And since the diet didn't work not either, I then thought of liposuction, targeting the abdominal belt as well as the buttocks, the knees, the calves and the hips. The result is very satisfying! I lost those curves that bothered me and I can today dress as I like. Even if I felt a little natural apprehension before the operation, it quickly disappeared. I didn't even feel any pain, apart from a few foreseeable aches. Today, I'm not on a diet but I still try to keep a balanced diet. And to optimize the result and build muscle, I'm going to start swimming soon. So, if I had any advice to give , it is to be really motivated and above all to be well informed about the prices and the reputation of the surgeon. Word of mouth can also be a good method. Me, it was a friend who recommended the surgeon who operated on me and I was delighted.'

Monique, 54: 'Liposuction left me with indelible aesthetic scars'

'I underwent liposuction 19 years ago because I really wanted to get rid of my curves and harmoniously redesign my figure. My ex-husband's brother, who was also a plastic surgeon, therefore offered me liposuction targeting both on the hips, thighs and knees. I thought it was going to change my life... It did, but not in a good way, on the contrary: first, waking up was difficult and above all very painful! For an entire month, I suffered from terrible body aches and felt like a 'walking hematoma! I was covered in bruises, not to mention nights spent without being able to sleep. For the record , my ankles were so swollen that they had to cut my panties off! Despite everything, I returned to my work quite quickly, with great difficulty in moving around. Even aspirins did not change anything. As for the result , let's not talk about it: I have one buttock higher than the other by about 5 centim beings, with a thigh flat and the other hollow. At the time, I was so horrified that I hastened to voluntarily regain the pounds, as if to punish myself for having had the idea of ​​this liposuction. Today, with age, I have learned to live with these aesthetic consequences. Having also subsequently undergone other operations for medical reasons this time, I refused a second liposuction. The moral of the story: I should have abstained... But after all, maybe the technique was, at the time, not yet sufficiently perfected?'

Thanks to Dr. Pierre Nahon, plastic surgeon.