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The Average Cost of Liposuction

You’ve been thinking about liposuction as a way to reshape those areas of your body that need some fine-tuning. But will the cost of reducing your tummy or thighs do more of a reduction on your budget than you’re comfortable with? What is the going rate for a surgical slim-down? According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons 2011 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report, the national average fee for a surgeon or physician performing liposuction (also known as lipoplasty) is $2,859. But the cost can vary depending on a variety of factors.

Where the procedure is performed 

Liposuction can be done in the doctor’s office or in a hospital. Generally speaking, if more than 5 liters or 5,000cc’s is removed, an overnight stay or observation by a medical professional may be indicated, says Gary R Culbertson, MD, FACS.

How many medical professionals are involved 

In addition to the physician’s or surgeon’s fee, the following fees will probably be incurred: facility fee, anesthesia fee, medications, surgical garments and medical tests.

What type of liposuction is used 

Liposuction methods include suction-assisted liposuction (SAL) (also known as Tumescent liposuction), wet or super-wet liposuction,
power assisted liposuction (PAL), ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL) and Laser Assisted Lipolysis (LAL) or laser-guided lipo. From a price perspective, suction-assisted liposuction can cost more than $2,800 while the ultrasound version can exceed $2,900, according to 2008 figures from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. 

What part of the body is treated 

National average costs can run from $4,250 for thigh liposculpture or abdominal liposuction to $5,250 for facial or neck liposuction and $6,250 for body contouring.

Where you live can also influence what you’ll pay for a lipo procedure. 

Making the right choice

Liposuction can represent a major expense, especially since, as an elective surgery, most health insurance plans won’t cover the cost of your lipo or any complications that may develop. 

But, while you need to be mindful of the costs involved, you shouldn’t base your choice of doctor or lipo method on price. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons recommends the physician preforming the liposuction should:  

  1. Completed at least five years of surgical training with a minimum of two years in plastic surgery 
  2. Be trained and experienced in all plastic surgery  procedures, is board certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or in Canada by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.®
  3. Fulfills continuing medical education requirements, including standards and innovations in patient safety and adheres to a strict code of ethics as well as operates only in accredited medical facilities. 

Bottom line? You want a physician who is trained and experienced in the type of lipo you’re going to undergo and one with whom you can establish a comfortable rapport. During the consultation, your physician should not only evaluate your overall health but also provide options, recommend the appropriate treatment and discuss any risks or potential complications.

For example, a survey conducted of its membership by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) reflected that from a preference and safety standpoint, more than half of respondents preferred suction-assisted or “traditional” liposuction, followed by power-assisted liposuction (PAL) and ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL), while laser and external ultrasound ranked as least popular on the preference list.

What else to remember

While lipo can treat stubborn fat pockets, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons notes that it’s not a treatment for obesity and shouldn’t replace good habits such as eating healthy foods and exercising regularly. 

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