Tulsa Surgical Arts • Board Certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery • 7322 E 91st Street • Tulsa, OKlahoma 74133

Angelo Cuzalina, MD


If you struggle with localized areas of fat that you can’t seem to get rid of even with diet and exercise, you may benefit from liposuction. This procedure is great for taking off inches and contouring the body to a much more proportional and aesthetic appearance. Overall, it has a very high safety record, it is very effective, and very popular among both men and women. In fact, year after year, it continues to be the number one cosmetic procedure performed in the United States and most place in the world.
A woman measuring her waist with a tape measure after undergoing liposuction

Keep in mind that liposuction is not a tool for weight loss. You may drop a pant size or two, but the number on your scale will not drop significantly. We encourage everyone who is thinking about liposuction to commit to a healthy lifestyle in order to maintain results.

If you are interested in having liposuction done, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Angelo Cuzalina at 918-392-7900 to schedule your consultation at our Tulsa office.

What Is Liposuction?

Liposuction involves physically suctioning out fat using a small device called a cannula. It can be performed under local anesthesia for isolated small areas of fat, and has a relatively short recovery time. Dr. Cuzalina more often performs most of his liposuction cases under general anesthesia for improved patient comfort when his patients have large amounts of fat or more than one isolated area to be treated. 

Liposuction incisions are very small (1/4 inch on average), and while you will end up with some scarring, it is very minimal and barely noticeable.  One should know that the more volume that is removed and the more areas treated at one time can increase recovery significantly.  Be prepared for swelling that can take as long as 6-8 months for fully resolve especially when removing large amounts of fat. 

Liposuction is best for smaller, targeted areas of fat, and it won’t do a lot for significant skin sagging. If you have mild to moderate skin laxity, then adding various energy devices during the liposuction such as Vaser® Ultrasound or Renuvion®. Plasma energy devices may help break up the fat and tighten the skin.

However, typically, if you have significant amounts of sagging skin you’ll be better off having a lift with your liposuction.  Your surgeon will be able to help you select the best option based on your exam.  Be careful if the clinic is not able to offer various options.  For example, performing liposuction only when someone actually needs a full tummy tuck can cause major problems such as major wrinkles and irregularities.

What Is SmartLipo, Vaser Ultrasound and Renuvion J-Plasma Treatments?

SmartLipo is a laser-assisted liposuction system. It works the same way as traditional liposuction, but with the addition of a laser fiber inside the cannula that helps to heat and break up the fat so that it can be suctioned out more easily.

Benefits of SmartLipo include:

  • The laser allows for more precise removal of fat in small areas such as the knees, bra bulge, armpit, and chin
  • Recovery time may be faster because the laser promotes blood vessel coagulation, reducing the amount of bleeding and swelling
  • Laser technology allows for skin tightening, perfect for patients who have both excess fat and mild to moderate skin laxity
Benefits of Vaser include:
  • Allows more control for area or scar or previous operations
  • Great treatment for male gynecomastia of the fibrous chest tissues
  • Can be used for ‘high definition’ liposuction for creating ‘six pack’ abs or other areas of high definition
Benefits of Renuvion include:
  • The Plasma energy helps skin contract
  • Areas that may be borderline for a skin excision may now tighten enough to avoid the large scar

Dr. Cuzalina will be happy to discuss all 3 technologies with you during your consultation, and help you to determine whether Vaser, Renuvion, SmartLipo or regular liposuction is the best option for your personal needs.   

Benefits of Liposuction and Various Energy Devices

Liposuction is one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures for a reason. It doesn’t require a ton of downtime, and results can last for a lifetime as long as you maintain a nutritious diet and active lifestyle.

Some of the key benefits of liposuction include:

  • Obtain a better body contour
  • Enjoy very natural looking results; people will think your new diet is really working
  • Minimal recovery period when small areas are treated
  • Safe and effective
  • Permanent results (as long as you take care not to become a couch potato)

Most patients who undergo liposuction are very happy with their results, and are able to maintain them because having the body they’ve always wanted gave them motivation to lead a healthier lifestyle.

Dr. Cuzalina always says, once the fat cells are gone that are gone for good, but you can gain weight just the same as always. Weight gain will increase fat deposition, but it will likely accumulate in different areas than it did prior to liposuction.  That is why it is important to maintain a stable weight, which gives more permanent results following liposuction.

Candidates for Liposuction

In general, the best liposuction candidates:

  • Are at or near a healthy, stable weight
  • Are committed to maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle
  • Are not obese (BMI over 30)
  • Understand that liposuction will not help them lose weight
  • Do not have significant amounts of loose, sagging skin
  • Are in general good health
  • Are non-smokers, or are willing to quit

Your results from liposuction will be best if you are already at or within 30 or so pounds of your goal weight. However, even if you still have a way to go to reach your goal weight, you may still be a candidate. For some patients, having liposuction can help to kick-start their drive to lose weight in a healthy manner, since they can see the beginnings of what their body could look like.

If your BMI is over 30, though, you may consider losing weight prior to liposuction unless your fatty deposits are very isolated to 1 or 2 main areas. If you have been struggling to lose weight, we may recommend seeing a nutritionist and/or personal trainer to help you out.

Liposuction vs Tummy Tuck

Liposuction and tummy tucks are both body contouring procedures, so it makes sense that sometimes people are unsure which one is best for their goals. You may be a more suitable candidate for a tummy tuck instead of liposuction if:

  • You have significant amounts of loose, sagging skin in the abdominal area
  • You have stretched, protruding abdominal muscles, whether from pregnancy or a long term beer belly

A tummy tuck can take care of loose skin and tighten up the abdominal muscles, which liposuction can’t do. A tummy tuck can be combined with liposuction for more comprehensive results, if you’d like to flatten your stomach and also contour other areas of the body at the same time.

What Areas Can Liposuction Treat?

Liposuction infographic showing which parts of the body lipo can treat
Liposuction can treat many different areas of the body, including:

  • Abdomen
  • Back
  • Love handles
  • Thighs
  • Upper arms
  • Hips
  • Buttocks
  • Male breasts (gynecomastia)
  • Knees, calves, and ankles
  • Armpit
  • “Bra bulge”
  • Double chin
Basically, almost any area that has fat below the skin but above muscle can be liposuctioned.

While there are non-surgical body contouring treatments available, liposuction is often the more cost-effective and efficient option. Liposuction requires only one treatment for dramatic results, and multiple areas can be treated at the same time. Non-surgical body contouring treatments, on the other hand, often require multiple treatments spaced out over a few weeks or months before you can begin to see results.

Recovery After Liposuction

Liposuction recovery is usually relatively quick and smooth. Most patients can return to work after just a long weekend, and are back to their normal activities within a week or two. You’ll need to limit the amount of strenuous activity you perform for the first month or so, however. No lifting at the gym or intense cardio until Dr. Cuzalina gives you the go-ahead.

Don’t be concerned if you notice that your weight seems to have gone up. You’ll have a lot of swelling for the first week or so, and this can affect the number on the scale. We recommend not even looking at your scale until 3 months after your treatment.

After your liposuction treatment, you’ll experience some swelling and bruising. Patients sometimes get concerned because they think their results are lumpy or asymmetric. This is just swelling, and is perfectly normal. Be patient, and you should be beach-ready by the second or third month after treatment.

In general, a typical liposuction recovery timeline goes something like this:

  • Start walking around and performing minor daily activities the day after surgery
  • Return to work within a few days
  • Wear a special compression garment for the first few weeks in order to help provide support and minimize swelling
  • Increase your activity level gradually until you’re back to full speed after 2 to 4 weeks
  • Avoid the sun until bruising has subsided; you can take arnica to help speed bruise healing, and we also offer laser services that can help with bruising
  • Consider going to a lymphatic massage specialist one week prior and each week after liposuction for 6 weeks to significantly speed recovery and decrease edema

Results are visible immediately after liposuction, but can get obscured due to swelling. The majority of swelling should subside within a few weeks, but you may experience residual swelling for a few months. Most patients are ready to show off their new body by the second month, but some may take a bit longer.

Cost of Liposuction

The cost of liposuction will vary depending on how many areas you need treated and how much fat you want removed. Removing large amounts of fat may require general anesthesia and is more complex than removing smaller amounts, so it will cost more.

If you are concerned about the cost of your liposuction procedure and don’t want to pay it all upfront, we offer cosmetic surgery financing plans through CareCredit. This service gives you the following benefits:

  • You can have your liposuction procedure right away, without needing to wait to save the full amount
  • 0% APR plans are available for qualified customers
  • Pay off your treatment with flexible payment plans tailored to every kind of budget

In addition to CareCredit, we also accept major credit cards. If your card gives you points or has a promotional low or 0% APR, this could be a better option than CareCredit. We’ll be happy to discuss payment options with you during your consultation after giving you an exact quote for your desired procedure.

Schedule Your Liposuction Consultation

If you are interested in having liposuction, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Cuzalina today at 918-392-7900 to schedule your consultation. We serve patients in Tulsa and surrounding areas of Oklahoma.