Liposuction myths that range from plausible to just plain silly abound. Even though liposuction is one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures in the US, there are a lot of misconceptions about what it is and how it works. Here are the top 10 liposuction myths:

1. Liposuction isn’t real surgery.

ometimes, it’s possible to get the impression that liposuction isn’t “real” surgery because the incisions made are very small and may not even require stitches. However, there is still a lot going on under the surface. Not everyone responds well to local or general anesthesia. Tumescent liposuction (the most common type of lipo) involves injecting large amounts of fluid into the body which may have unexpected consequences. The process of breaking up and suctioning out fat requires significant disruption of the tissue involved. Finally, the body may have adverse reactions during the healing process. This is a serious surgery and should be treated as such.

2. Lipo is a good way to get rid of excess weight.

Actually, lipo is not an effective weight-loss technique. The number of pounds of fat that can be safely liposuctioned is very modest. The more fat you have removed, the higher the risk of serious complications. Having multiple liposuction surgeries to keep taking off more fat carries its own risks. Lipo is only appropriate for removing discrete areas of fat that do not respond to healthy weight loss attempts.

3. After fat is gone, it won’t come back!

This one is only half wrong. The fat cells that are removed during liposuction aren’t regenerated. However, you will still have plenty of fat cells left. These cells are very stretchy and can easily expand as they store more fat. So, the original fat cells are gone for good and you don’t grow new fat cells. However, you can easily gain weight in your remaining fat cells that makes you look pretty much like you did before lipo surgery. This is a common occurrence for patients who don’t continue to manage their diet and exercise properly over the long term after liposuction.

4. Liposuction is always an outpatient procedure.

Not every patient needs general anesthesia. However, this is determined on a case-by-case basis. The less fat you are having removed, the less likely it is that you will need to be “put under.” Some patients can tolerate the procedure with just the local anesthetic and perhaps an oral sedative. But others do need general anesthesia. These patients sometimes need to stay in the hospital for observation overnight. Either way, you should never drive yourself home after lipo. It is definitely not a “lunchtime” cosmetic procedure.

5. Liposuction is a good substitute for a breast lift.

At this time, there is little evidence that liposuction provides the type of firming needed to make a substantial difference in the appearance of drooping breasts. Some skin tightening may occur, but this is not guaranteed and is likely to be limited. A patient with the degree of breast sagging that makes her a candidate for a breast lift will probably not see a satisfactory improvement with liposuction alone. That’s because skin laxity and the loss of tone in connective tissue is often unrelated to the presence of excess fatty tissue in the breast (breasts of all sizes start to droop with age). Making the breast smaller doesn’t mean it will automatically be perkier.

6. I can return to work in just a couple of days after lipo.

While some patients do go back to sedentary jobs within two to three days of this surgery, others need to take substantially more time off. Again, a lot of this has to do with the extent of the surgery. There’s also no telling how your body will respond during healing. You might be in more or less discomfort than the average patient. It’s a good idea to plan for more time off than you think you will need.

7. Lipo is just for women.

Actually, liposuction is among the top five most popular cosmetic procedures for men (according to ASPS, 24,000 men had lipo in 2010). They can have their love handles reduced, excess breast fat taken out or pockets of fat removed from their thighs. Some men also choose to have fat removed from their neck and jawline as an alternative to a neck lift.

8. Liposuction will get rid of my cellulite.

Unfortunately, there is no “cure” for cellulite. The fat that is just under the skin is what causes the appearance of cellulite. These fat cells are thoroughly mixed with connective tissues that make them pretty much impossible to remove without causing massive skin damage. Liposuction targets pockets of fat deeper below the skin.

9. Liposuction will make my skin look better.

In cases with good results, liposuction does smooth the contours of the body. However, the final texture of the treated area has a lot to do with your skin elasticity. Some patients end up with smoother results than others. Skin flaws such as scars and stretch marks may look a little smaller, but they will usually not be improved much by liposuction.

10. Ultrasound and laser assisted lipo are more effective than regular liposuction.

The jury is still out on this one. So far, there are no large-scale, multi-center comparative clinical trials to demonstrate if these techniques are superior to standard tumescent liposuction. Small scale studies show mixed results and are often funded by the manufacturers of ultrasound and laser lipo devices. The most reliable way to get the best outcome is to choose a very experienced plastic surgeon. Any liposuction equipment used is likely to perform better in the hands of someone who knows exactly what he is doing.