Liposuction procedures can vary widely in cost. Because these procedures vary between treatment type, extra add-ons, and even between surgeons, a hard-and-fast price can be hard to pin down. For that reason, in this article, we’ll clear up some of the pricing mysteries around liposuction for you. Read on to discover why the price of liposuction can vary so significantly.
How Much Does Liposuction Cost?
Liposuction procedures will start at around $1,000, and most procedures max out around $7,000, but add-ons and fees can push this figure even higher. Regardless of the procedure you’re getting, you’re unlikely to find anything below this price that’s done by an experienced, licensed professional. From there, the costs tend to go up based on several factors:
- Who is doing the procedure (i.e., larger, better-known facilities will charge more)
- What type of liposuction treatment is done
- Additional treatments that are added onto the liposuction procedure
- The amount of liposuction done
- How many liposuction treatments are done
- The level of anesthesia received
- Whether the patient needs a hospital stay or not
The above list isn’t by any means exhaustive, but it covers the most common factors that contribute to varying prices. In the sections below, we’ll go over the different types of liposuction and how they can affect cost.
There are four main types of liposuction procedures, and they all bring something a bit different to the table. Tumescent liposuction is the first and most common type, and thus, the cheapest. Tumescent liposuction involves a medicated solution that is injected into the fatty areas to be operated on.
The solution is part lidocaine, an anesthetic, part epinephrine, a drug that contracts blood vessels, and part IV saline, which helps to break up the fat for extraction. The cannula then vacuums up both the solution and the fat. While tumescent liposuction is inexpensive and simple, it has the longest procedure time. It also promotes the most comfortable recovery and has the lowest chance of complications.
The next liposuction technique is the wet technique. Contrary to what the name implies, this version uses less fluid to achieve similar effects to tumescent liposuction. However, wet liposuction usually requires sedation or anesthesia where tumescent liposuction may not.
Despite sometimes requiring anesthesia, the wet technique typically saves patients and doctors time since it uses less solution. Typically, wet liposuction averages between $3,000 and $5,000.
UAL, or ultrasound-assisted liposuction, uses an ultrasonic machine to assist in the fat extraction process. Ultrasonic waves emitted by the machine liquefy fat cells, making them easy to vacuum out. These ultrasonic waves can be applied from outside the body with a special device or inside the body with a heated cannula.
UAL is especially useful for removing fibrous fat areas that may be difficult to access with tumescent or wet techniques alone. Usually, UAL is paired with tumescent or wet liposuction for greater accuracy and efficacy. It’s also thought to help the skin contract after the procedure, and it results in less post-procedure numbness resulting from nerve damage.
Since ultrasound-assisted liposuction is typically considered an add-on procedure rather than a standalone one, it presents an added cost. UAL can typically range between $1,500 and $10,000.
LAL, or laser-assisted liposuction, works on the same premise as UAL, but it uses a laser to help liquefy and loosen fat cells instead of an ultrasonic device. Laser assistance is another addon to the typical liposuction procedure, meaning it will add a fee on top of that of normal liposuction. Since laser liposuction is preferred for small areas, a typical laser liposuction procedure tops out around $5,000.
Laser-assisted liposuction is said to stimulate collagen and elastin production in the skin, but this claim is not well-backed by scientific results. In fact, there is significant disagreement among the scientific community on whether laser-assisted liposuction is worth the additional risks it presents. LAL has a higher chance of burning the skin, which can produce lasting scars and other complications.
What’s Included in Liposuction’s Cost?
Liposuction, on average, costs about $3,500. However, this isn’t the full cost of liposuction; this fee only covers the procedure itself. Additional charges that can be added onto this figure include:
- Surgeon’s fees
- Medical tests
- Post-operative prescriptions, such as painkillers and antibiotics
- Fees for anesthesia
- Charges for a hospital stay
- Post-surgery compressive clothing
The fees listed above, when combined, can leave you with a rather hefty bill. On top of that, facilities that exist in more affluent areas will generally charge more, as will more successful and well-known surgeons. Obviously, how much liposuction you have done will make a difference, too, but surprisingly, where on your body the procedure is done can also affect the cost.
Make sure to discuss the entire fee for your procedure and subsequent care with your doctor before moving forward with any process.
Can Liposuction Be Covered by Insurance?
In short, the answer to the above question is complicated. In most cases, insurers will not cover liposuction or similar procedures because they are considered to be “cosmetic.” However, there are two cases where liposuction might be considered for insurance coverage:
- If the liposuction is being done for “reconstructive” purposes; i.e. after an accident or to correct a congenital disability that impairs function
- If the procedure is being done for health purposes, such as when the procedure is necessary for the patient to live properly
This is a general rule of thumb, but this is still complicated further by the fact that different insurance companies will define things differently. Something that one insurer might consider reconstructive might be deemed cosmetic by another. Your coverage can play a part in what your insurance will pay for, too.
The cost behind a liposuction procedure can be much higher or much lower than you might have thought depending on what you need, extra add-ons, and who your doctor is. Fortunately, many facilities offer payment plans for liposuction procedures, so it’s now possible for almost anyone to afford the cosmetic changes they want through liposuction.