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    Liposuction (suction-assisted & ultrasound-assisted lipectomy) is a technique used by plastic surgeons to remove unwanted subcutaneous fat deposits on various parts of the body. Suction lipectomy can be used to target stubborn fat deposits that are otherwise unresponsive to diet and exercise. Although liposuction can enhance the effects of diet and exercise, it is not a viable substitute for these practices.

    This technique is also not a viable solution for obesity or cellulite. Dr. Rottler or Dr. Hulsey can find a more suitable procedure plan should those be your aesthetic concerns.

    Before & After Liposuction Photos
    Before & After Liposuction Photos

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    What Is Liposuction?

    Liposuction, also referred to as suction-assisted and ultrasound-assisted lipectomy is a cosmetic technique used by plastic surgeons that combines a sterilized cannula and a surgical vacuum device to break up and remove unwanted fat deposits. This technique can be used to target fat deposits in a variety of areas, including:

    • Hips
    • Lower and upper back
    • Outer thighs

    Surgical fees start at $5,000 per area. This price is based on time in the O.R. and how many areas of the body are being treated. It also includes the surgeon’s fee, hospital fee, anesthesia, and the cost of two compression garments (to be worn post-operatively).

    Procedure Information

    Liposuction is an outpatient procedure that generally lasts two to four hours. The exact time it will take depends on the number and size of the target areas.

    On the day of the procedure, Dr. Rottler or Dr. Hulsey will first map out the specific procedure sites, and confirm them with the patient. Before the fat removal procedure in St. Louis, an anesthesiologist will administer general anesthesia to ensure your total comfort.  Dr. Rottler and Dr. Hulsey’s experience and expertise allows them to accurately target different zones of the body to ensure the best results.

    Tiny, inconspicuous incisions are then made at or near the site to be targeted by the liposuction. Diluted local anesthesia is administered to minimize bleeding and trauma to the procedure site.

    A thin, sterilized, hollow tube called a cannula is inserted at the incision site. Using a controlled back-and-forth motion, the cannula is used to dislodge the targeted fat deposits. Once broken up, the fat can then be removed through a surgical vacuum or syringe that is attached to the end of the cannula. The entire procedure takes one to two hours, depending on the extent of the procedure.

    Once the subcutaneous fat has been removed, the body’s natural contours can be more readily seen. It is common to experience some swelling and fluid retention immediately after surgery. Within a couple of days, these effects will subside and you will be able to appreciate your new, slimmer figure.

    This technique can be used on multiple areas of the body at once or in conjunction with additional procedures such as breast augmentation, tummy tuck, breast lift, facelift, and more. Discuss your procedural options with Dr. Rottler or Dr. Hulsey for the best results and safe combinations.

    Liposuction Candidacy

    The ideal candidate is near or at their ideal weight. Liposuction is not a viable solution for those who are moderate to severely overweight. Our surgeons advise that patients have a BMI of less than 30 and be close to their ideal body weight before undergoing liposuction. If substantial amounts of fat are removed from the body, the results can be less than ideal. This technique is best for fine-tuning stubborn areas resistant to diet and exercise.

    When large amounts of subcutaneous fat are present, the skin loses elasticity in order to accommodate the extra mass. When that fat is removed, the skin may not be tight or smooth. Consequently, it is advised that patients lose weight prior to liposuction surgery using diet and exercise. Subsequent surgeries can be performed to remove excess skin if necessary. Dr. Rottler and Dr. Hulsey can advise you on the best plan of action during your consultation.

    St. Louis patients who have not had any luck reducing excess stubborn body fat through consistent diet and exercise are ideal candidates for liposuction surgery. Patients with realistic expectations are excellent candidates.

    In addition to being near or at their goal weight, patients are advised to establish and maintain healthy dietary and exercise habits. If, after liposuction, the patient returns to poor health habits, the effects of the procedure can be negated.

    Dr. Rottler and Dr. Hulsey also advise that patients be otherwise healthy, with no life-threatening illnesses or medical conditions. Patients should not smoke for an extended period of time before and after the surgery in order to limit risks for complications and promote proper healing during recovery.

    Although there is no age cap on liposuction in Missouri, the ideal results require good skin elasticity. With older patients with inelastic skin, the skin may not redrape well and a secondary skin tightening procedure may be necessary.

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    Your Liposuction Consultation

    Come to your consultation prepared to discuss your medical history. Our plastic surgeons will want to consider any preexisting medical conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease. They will also ask for information about previous surgeries, treatments, or current medications. It is crucial that the information be accurate, comprehensive, and up-to-date.

    Our plastic surgeons will also take this time to discuss your future weight loss goals and the effects of previous weight loss. They will then assess skin elasticity in order to provide a clearer idea of the results of your surgery. If you plan on losing additional weight in the near future, Dr. Rottler and Dr. Hulsey may advise that you postpone liposuction until after you have reached your goal weight.

    Risk of Complications

    As with any surgery, there is some risk of complications. Thousands of people undergo liposuction every year and are pleased with their results. However, Dr. Rottler and Dr. Hulsey believe patients should be fully informed of the benefits and risks before consenting to the procedure. Some risks include:

    • Anesthesia risks
    • Slight bruising
    • Irregular pigmentation
    • Altered skin sensation near or around the incision site, which may persist
    • Nerve, blood vessel, muscle, lung, or abdominal organ damage
    • Deep vein thrombosis
    • Cardiac or pulmonary complications
    • Accumulation of fluids
    • Infection
    • Poor healing
    • Skin rippling or worsened cellulite
    • Thermal injury from ultrasound or laser-assisted lipoplasty

    Dr. Rottler and Dr. Hulsey will fully discuss each of these risks and any additional concerns you may have during your initial consultation in our St. Louis office.


    The patient can typically go home right after the lipo procedure. We may recommend that our patients arrange for a friend or family member to drive them home. We may also recommend hiring a healthcare professional for the first day or two of their recovery process.

    Moderate swelling, bruising, and fluid accumulation are normal immediately following surgery and can persist for weeks, and rarely up to six months or longer. Our surgeons will instruct you on how to use compression garments to mediate swelling and promote proper healing. As a general timeline, Dr. Rottler and Dr. Hulsey suggests that patients:

    • Wait one to two weeks before returning to work (depending on the nature of the patient’s profession)
    • Wait two or more weeks before engaging in more strenuous activity
    • Wear postoperative compression garments for four to six weeks

    A follow-up appointment will be scheduled to monitor the recovery progress of the patient. The treated areas will also be examined to determine if an additional liposuction procedure is necessary to achieve optimal results. The treatment plan may be adjusted according to the results and how the body adapts after the procedure.

    During your lipo consultation in St. Louis, our plastic surgeons will be able to provide a more accurate, individual timeline depending on your health and the extent of your procedure. Effects may be prolonged when liposuction is used in conjunction with an additional procedure.

    Beautiful female body on white background

    Cost of Liposuction

    The cost of a liposuction procedure depends on the treatment plan and the targeted areas. The overall price of the lipo procedure may be impacted by prescription medications, the cost of anesthesia, post-surgery garments, medical tests, and facilities used during the procedure in St. Louis.

    We also offer financing options to our patients through CareCredit and Alphaeon Credit. We want to make the procedure affordable to all of our patients.


    Book Your Consultation

    If you have any additional questions about liposuction in St. Louis, feel free to ask Dr. Rottler and Dr. Hulsey during your consultation. To schedule your consultation with Paul Rottler, MD, FACS of St. Louis, MO, at 314-966-8880.

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