Exercise and a proper diet aren’t always enough to get rid of unwanted areas of fat. Plastic Surgery Associates provides treatment with liposuction to contour body features in a way that’s natural-looking and aesthetically appealing. The procedure can resolve trouble-spots in a variety of areas, with the most popular being the abdomen, love handles, hips, and thighs.

Our doctors are board-certified plastic surgeons who each bring more than twenty years of experience to the care of San Francisco patients. Stanford University-trained and leaders in their field, our doctors leverage their expertise and technical skill to sculpt a slimmer, more proportionate appearance. The doctors perform S.A.F.E. liposuction as well as power-assisted liposuction.

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Liposuction Explained

A popular procedure at Plastic Surgery Associates in San Francisco, liposuction is an effective way to eliminate stubborn pockets of fat that do not respond to diet and exercise. During liposuction surgery, your doctor will insert a small, flexible tube called a cannula into the skin through a narrow incision. The cannula works by melting solid fat into a malleable form that is then carefully sucked out of the body through the tube.

Throughout the procedure, your surgeon will slowly move the cannula back and forth across targeted areas to dissolve fat cells and permanently remove them from your body, resulting in a more contoured figure.

What Should I Do in Preparation?

Implementing preparation steps before your liposuction surgery is essential for reducing the risk of complications during the procedure, optimizing your results, and ensuring your liposuction journey goes as smoothly as possible. In preparation for your surgery, here are some things our doctors recommend.

  • Maintain a stable weight.
  • Eat a healthy, nutrient-rich diet.
  • Avoid alcohol and smoking.
  • Avoid certain supplements and medications, including anti-inflammatories.
  • Get all the lab tests your doctor recommends, such as blood tests.
  • Plan ahead and get the following before your procedure: bandages, antibacterial packs, hot and cold packs, OTC pain medication, and anything else you may want to make your recovery more comfortable.

During your consultation, the doctor will discuss the preparation recommendations with you in more detail.

How Long Does the Procedure Take?

At Plastic Surgery Associates in San Francisco, our liposuction surgeries typically take between one and three hours. Procedure time varies depending on the patient’s size, areas being treated, and the number of treatment areas.

What is Surgery Like?

Liposuction is a relatively straightforward procedure. Here is what you can expect to occur during the procedure.

  1. Anesthesia is administered to ensure you are comfortable during surgery. This may include local anesthesia, intravenous sedation, or general anesthesia.
  2. Your surgeon will make small, inconspicuous incisions where the cannula used for liposuction is inserted.
  3. Once inserted, your doctor will move the cannula back and forth to loosen the fat.
  4. After the fat has been dislodged from the nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue, your doctor will suction out and remove the fat.


Shortly following the procedure, you will wake up as the anesthesia wears off. In most cases, liposuction is a quick and easy procedure in which you can go home afterward to start your recovery period.

What are the Key Benefits of Liposuction?

Liposuction provides a variety of benefits to patients who have areas of unwanted body fat.

  • It’s a targeted procedure. Our doctors can perform liposuction to remove fat from sites that diet and exercise may not have reduced.
  • Improvement is immediate and noticeable. Where diet and exercise may have minimal effect even after months of effort, liposuction can eliminate this fat immediately.
  • Surgery can treat many different features. Our doctors typically use liposuction to get rid of fat around the midsection and neighboring areas like the hips and flanks. They can also combine liposuction with surgery to remove excess skin in the abdomen (abdominoplasty) or arms (brachioplasty).
  • Liposuction is a safe and effective way to remove fat. During liposuction, our doctors make small, careful incisions and the cannula only removes pure fat. This minimizes bleeding and complications, and contributes to beautiful results.

Before & After Photos

Liposuction is an ideal way to beautifully sculpt and shape your body. View our before and after liposuction photos of real-life patients to see how you can transform your figure.

Candidates for Liposuction

Liposuction can be an ideal solution for San Francisco patients who are already at a good weight but who have trouble-spots that they want to treat. During the initial consultation, our doctors will discuss each patient’s aesthetic concerns, review different options, and advise a course of treatment to achieve the patient’s goals.

Note that liposuction is not a weight-loss surgery, and patients who want to drop a large amount of weight should consider alternative treatments. Also, because liposuction removes fat, patients who have the surgery should already have good skin elasticity. Someone with excess skin, stretch marks, or poor skin tone may be a better candidate for a tummy tuck.

Plastic Surgery Associates also provides non-surgical solutions for targeted fat reduction. Options such as CoolSculpting® are non-invasive and require no downtime, but liposuction will provide a much more noticeable difference. Our doctors can review both treatments during the consultation.

How Old Do I Have to Be?

Since liposuction is an elective cosmetic procedure, the minimum age for liposuction is 18. While there is no maximum age limit, most plastic surgeons want to ensure that patients are old enough to understand the risks.

What Areas Does Liposuction Target?

When considering liposuction, it is important to examine what areas of the body you want to shape and contour. At Plastic Surgery Associates in San Francisco, our experienced plastic surgeons can target the following areas of the body with liposuction to help individuals achieve their desired figure.


Using liposuction to contour the abdomen is ideal for those who struggle to shape this area with diet and exercise alone. You can achieve a more toned and tight abdominal area you are proud to show off at the beach.

Love Handles

With liposuction, our experienced surgeons can specifically target and remove fat from this area to give you a stunning hourglass figure.

Upper Arms

If you have been trying to tone up your arms with exercise but aren’t seeing noticeable results, liposuction is an ideal way to remove fat and help you achieve tighter, more slender arms.


Stubborn fatty deposits around the hips and flanks are common. Liposuction is an effective way to eliminate unwanted fat to effortlessly help you lose inches and slim down.


Whether you are interested in removing fat from the outer or inner thighs, liposuction can specifically target this area for leaner, slender legs.


If you have persistent back fat that does not budge with diet or exercise, liposuction may erase fat from the lower, mid, and upper back for a beautifully sculpted figure.

Under the Chin

Do you have fatty deposits around the chin, neck, and jawline? Use liposuction to remove an unwanted double chin for a more defined and contoured appearance.

Common Liposuction Techniques

There are several different liposuction techniques used to remove fat and help patients achieve their aesthetic goals. At Plastic Surgery Associates in San Francisco, our experienced plastic surgeons use two advanced liposuction techniques, Power-Assisted Liposuction (PAL) and SAFELipo®, which have better control compared to the traditional liposuction technique and are more effective at targeting stubborn fatty deposits for exceptional results.

Power-Assisted Liposuction

With traditional liposuction, it can be difficult for a plastic surgeon to manually maneuver the cannula through the dense fat and effectively remove all the targeted deposits. Power-Assisted Liposuction was created using the latest body sculpting technology to address this limitation.

Power-Assisted Liposuction utilizes a special cannula that rapidly, but gently vibrates to help break up stubborn fat cells for easier removal and improved targeting potential. Compared to traditional liposuction, this liposuction method is faster, safer, and more effective, delivering better results, a shorter recovery period, reduced risk of complications, and quicker procedure time.


SAFELipo® is a cutting-edge liposuction technique that stands for separation, aspiration, and fat equalization, which are the three steps involved in the technique. Similar to Power-Assisted Liposuction, SAFELipo® uses a specialized cannula that gently vibrates to separate the fat from the nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue.

Next, the surgeon aspirates the fat by using a much smaller cannula to remove the loosened fat. Unlike traditional liposuction, which uses larger cannulas to manually remove fat, the smaller cannulas used during SAFELipo® minimize bruising, bleeding, and any potential damage.

The last step is fat equalization, which involves fat shifting and fat grafting to prevent any post-surgical contour irregularities. This final step of SAFELipo® addresses common concerns associated with traditional liposuction techniques, primarily the uneven distribution of fat after the procedure, so you enjoy beautiful, natural-looking results.

Liposuction Recovery in San Francisco

Our board-certified plastic surgeons perform liposuction procedures in our AAAASF-certified facility at Plastic Surgery Associates. This allows patients to receive all of their care at one location in San Francisco and in a professional, private, and safe environment.

If a patient has only one or two areas of concern, our doctors can conduct the procedure using local anesthesia only. We may recommend general anesthesia for liposuction that addresses both the back and front or for large-scale treatment.

As part of the recovery from liposuction:

  • Patients should wear a compression garment for 4-8 weeks. This will encourage the skin to shrink and conform to the patient’s new figure.
  • Most people can return to non-physical work after 48-72 hours.
  • Patients who have had extensive liposuction or who have physically demanding jobs will need more time off.

Once the surgical site has healed, patients can expect that area of their body to have a slimmer, more aesthetically sculpted appearance.

How Long Will My Results Last?

This depends on the steps you take to maintain your results. While fat removal with liposuction is meant to be permanent, if you gain weight after the procedure, new fat cells may form in different parts of your body.

For long-lasting results, it is important to implement healthy daily habits. This generally includes:

  • Eating a nutritious diet packed with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein-rich foods.
  • Regularly exercise.
  • Drinking enough water.
  • Reducing stress.
  • Not sitting for too long during the day.

Following your liposuction procedure, your doctor will discuss their lifestyle recommendations for you to ensure you have the best chance of maintaining your beautiful results.

Other Things to Consider Before Getting Liposuction

If you are considering getting liposuction in San Francisco, here are a few additional things you should know before the procedure, including how much time off work you will need, what other surgical procedures can be combined with liposuction, and if insurance covers liposuction.

Will I Need to Request a Lot of Time Off from Work?

While the liposuction recovery period looks different for everyone, our experienced doctors recommend patients take off at least two weeks following the procedure. If you have a physically demanding or particularly stressful job, you may want to take off additional time for rest and recovery.

Can Liposuction Be Performed in Combination with Other Procedures?

At Plastic Surgery Associates in San Francisco, our plastic surgeons are experienced in combining liposuction with tummy tucks, breast lifts, and breast augmentation. In many cases, combining procedures is not only cost-effective but a more efficient, effective, and often safer way to achieve your aesthetic goals.

Liposuction Costs in San Francisco

Factors that can affect the cost include the amount of time that a procedure requires and the number of sites that our doctors liposuction during the surgery. Patient safety is our top priority, and we will discuss the maximum amount of fat that we can remove as part of the initial consultation.

Plastic Surgery Associates welcomes the opportunity to explore treatment options. We encourage patients to schedule a visit so that we can discuss their procedure, answer their questions, and help them achieve their aesthetic ideal.

You’re In Good Hands with Plastic Surgery Associates in San Francisco

If you struggle to slim down with diet and exercise alone, liposuction is an effective solution to removing stubborn fat deposits and achieving a more contoured, hourglass figure. When you choose to have liposuction in San Francisco, you can trust you are in good hands with the experienced plastic surgeons at Plastic Surgery Associates. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation at (707) 504-3277. We are ready to help you look and feel your best!

Dr. Heather Furnas is a skilled and caring plastic surgeon with over 20 years of experience helping patients attain their aesthetic goals.
Meet Dr. Furnas
Dr. Francisco Canales is a seasoned plastic surgeon adept in aesthetic treatment for the face, body, and breasts.
Meet Dr. Canales
Dr. Culbertson specializes in aesthetic surgery and is double board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Surgery.
Meet Dr. Culbertson