Case of the Week Body Countouring

Body Contouring: Liposuction of the lateral thighs, medial thighs and hips

This is a 32 year old patient from Poway, California who had been interested in liposuction surgery for many years. She felt as if her upper body was dis-proportionately smaller than her lower body. She felt like “two different people”.

She was introduced to La Jolla Cosmetic Surgeon, Dr. Tom Pousti by a friend of hers and was very pleased with her consultation. Dr. Pousti discussed all of the potential risks and complications of liposuction surgery and reviewed her questions regarding liposculpture with her in detail.

The patient was very comfortable with Dr. Pousti and his staff and so she proceeded to schedule surgery. The morning of surgery, she arrived at Alvarado Hospital Outpatient Surgery Center and was met by very friendly staff members. Dr. Pousti met with her again and reviewed the procedure and performed some markings. The markings demonstrate what areas will be treated.

  • Skin re-draping problems: liposuction is not an exact science and so the skin may not re-drape exactly after surgery.
  • Asymmetry: differences between the areas treated may necessitate further surgery.
  • Scarring: small scars may form where the incisions are made to allow for the liposuctin cannula. Scar revision may be necessary after everything is healed.
  • Infection: rare and usually treatable with antibiotics.
  • Bleeding: rare but may require surgical intervention.
  • Deep Venous-Thrombosis/ Pulmonary Embolism: blood clots that form in the legs that may travel to the lungs causing difficulty with respiration and requiring hospitalization. Prevention is key using compression stockings and early ambulation.
  • Need for revisionary surgery: the above complications may necessitate further surgery.


Are there different types of liposuction?

Some offices use different names which mean the same thing. You may hear words such as “lipoplasty” “liposuction” or “suctioning lipectomy” — they all mean the same thing.

Can liposuction be used as a weight loss method?

No, liposuction is used to get rid of isolated areas of fat which are diet and/or exercise resistant NOT for weight loss.

Who is a good candidate for liposuction?

The best candidates for liposuction are people at their normal weight who have isolated areas of fat. Firm, elastic skin allows for a better outcome. The patient’s age is not a factor, however, older patients have less skin elasticity and may not achieve the same results as younger patients.

How long do I need to be off of work?

It is suggested that you take off of work for 3-5 days after surgery but continue to avoid strenuous activity for one month after surgery.