Liposuction is one of the most common plastic surgery procedures and has been for decades, partly due to its effectiveness and ease of recovery. Liposuction is intended to remove fat below the skin in problematic areas of the body and is sought after by both men and women, although usually targeting different areas. In general, women tend to store fat in the lower abdomen, hips, thighs, buttocks and occasionally arms. Men, on the other hand, store fat in the abdomen, chest and flank areas.


Although liposuction can dramatically change the contour of your body, it is not a weight loss procedure and is different from abdominoplasty or tummy tuck. Removing fat from these problematic areas can improve your shape and appearance, but one limitation of liposuction is that it cannot improve changes in the skin such as cellulite and stretch marks. Because liposuction is not a weight loss surgery, it is not advised to undergo the procedure if you’re overweight.

Liposuction has significantly improved in recent years with the advent of the tumescent technique where a numbing solution containing adrenaline is injected before liposuction, which limits pain and bruising. In addition, fat can be “melted” with ultrasound or laser to make it easier to remove:  laser assisted or ultrasound assisted liposuction. Examples of these advances would include laser devices: SlimLipo and  Smart Lipo ™ and ultrasound: VASER Hi-Def®.

Liposuction is a highly technical procedure requiring meticulous technique and precision.  Dr. Burns utilizes the latest technology and techniques including LipoSculpture, 4D High-Definition technique, Etching to accentuate muscle anatomy, and post liposuction skin therapy such as Endermologie and BodyTite.

Before Liposuction

Liposuction is a sculpting procedure that is meant to remove discrete areas of fat below the skin that are resistent to diet and exercise such as lower abdomen, saddlebags, bananna roll, bra fat, neck fat, arms, and inner thighs.  Because it’s not a weight loss procedure, it’s important to be close to your goal weight prior to the procedure.  Intra-abdominal fat below the abdominal wall muscles cannot be removed with liposuction.  Ideal candidates will be at or near their goal weight with a Body Mass Index (BMI) less than 30.  

After Liposuction

Liposuction results are largely dependent on aftercare and closely following recommended protocols. Compression garments are paramount in achieving a smooth result.  A STAGE I compression garment will be provided with your surgery and you will go home dressed in this garment.  A stage I garment is designed to apply maximal compression to help with swelling and shape.  After 3 weeks, patients can transition to a looser fabric STAGE II garment.  Compression should be worn for a full 6 weeks after the procedure.

Stage I Garment Stage II Garment


After liposuction, patients are encouraged to massage the liposuctioned areas to prevent scar tissue formation and adhesions.  Initial massage involved moving the skin over the underlying muscles.  Manual lymphatic massage, MLD, can be utilized early in recovery to minimize swelling speed recovery.  As soreness subcides, more aggressive massage can be done to break up scar tissue.  One useful technique is foam rolling where liposuctioned areas can be rolled using body weight.

One particularly beneficial post liposuction treatment is  Endermologie®.  Endermologie is a non-invasive treatment that uses patented roller, suction, and pulsation technology to manually manipulate the skin surface and disrupt the build-up of scar tissue in the deeper tissue which can be a problem after liposuction.  Endermologie also stimulates the body to produce collagen and elastin which helps smooth and tighten the skin.  Patients are put into a soft, full-body stocking and then a hand-held device massages the liposuctioned areas.


 In summary, properly done liposuction will address discrete problematic areas of the body to yield a smooth, natural result. After procedures, patients should work with their surgeon to maintain the result with diet and exercise. 

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Patient Focus 1

Procedures: Abdomen, Flank (Love Handles), Inner Thighs

*All patients are unique and results may vary

Patient Focus 2

Procedures: Liposuction:  Abdomen, Flanks (Love Handles), Limited Thighs

*All patients are unique and results may vary 

Patient Focus 3

Procedures: Liposuction:  Abdomen, Flanks (Love Handles), Limited Thighs

*All patients are unique and results may vary



Length: 1- 3 hours (depending on the extent of the procedure and number of areas treated)

Anesthesia: General or Local with Sedation

In/Outpatient: Outpatient

Side Effects: Temporary swelling, bruising, and some pain

Risks: Pain, bleeding, infection, incomplete improvement, contour irregularity

Recovery: Back to work: 1 week.  More strenuous activity: 2 - 3 weeks

Final Appearance: 1-2 months for swelling to resolve

Duration of Results: Permanent if stable weight maintained 

Liposuction is an outpatient procedure that can take anywhere between one and three hours, depending on how many areas you are having treated. You will be given general or local anesthesia for sedation. After your procedure you can expect temporary swelling, bruising and some pain. After liposuction, you’ll be instructed to wear conforming garments to avoid lumpiness or contour irregularities. This will also help with discomfort.

Risks include pain, bleeding, infection and contour irregularity. Most patients are back to work within one week and are cleared for strenuous activity within two to three weeks. Expect your swelling to minimize and your final appearance to be reached about two months after your liposuction.


About Dr. Burns

Dr. Burns’ philosophy is to achieve the finest possible result with the least risk. He believes that a person’s natural beauty should be enhanced, not altered, and because of this, his procedures don’t make a person look “fake.” Dr. Burns’ commitment to the field has led him to insist on using only physician anesthesiologists and he operates in an onsite and fully accredited surgery center, the Dallas Day Surgery Center, or at Medical City Dallas Hospital.

Dr. John L. Burns Jr. MD is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and President of the Dallas Plastic Surgery Institute, one of the largest plastic surgery group practices in the United States. Dr. Burns dedicates his practice to aesthetic or cosmetic plastic surgery in Dallas.

Raised in Dallas, Dr. Burns has been recognized for his work by many publications and organizations. In 2018 alone, he was named on the Best Doctor List by D Magazine, presented with a Dallas Award, named as one of America’s Top Breast Surgeons and became a distinguished inductee and top doctor for RealSelf Hall of Fame.

Schedule a consultation today to get started on a new you.

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Body Contouring Plastic Surgery and Your BMI

Peer reviewed plastic surgery research indicates that the complication rates from body contouring plastic surgery are much lower if your Body Mass Index is in the normal range. For obese or morbidly obese patients, complication rates such as deep venous thrombosis, wound healing problems and infection are much higher. We encourage all of our patients to know their BMI and, if at all possible, achieve a normal BMI or at least a BMI of < 30 before undergoing elective cosmetic surgery. 

Calculate Your BMI


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