Do you work out and eat healthy, but still struggle to lose fat in some areas of your body? Dr. Kim offers liposuction in Chicago for patients that want a smoother, more attractive figure. Liposuction is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures nationwide, and its purpose is to reshape and slim the body contour in targeted spots. It removes excess fat deposits, which improves body proportions and contour. Liposuction has been very rewarding for many of Dr. John Kim’s patients, as it has the ability to greatly improve one’s confidence and self-esteem and improve contour.

Abdominal liposuction and diastasis repair
Abdominal liposuction and diastasis repair
Abdominal liposuction and diastasis repair
Abdominal liposuction and diastasis repair
Arm liposuction
Arm liposuction
Arm liposuction
Arm liposuction

Our body’s fat stores are distributed in two layers under the skin: superficial and deep. The localized fat deposits that Chicago plastic surgeon Dr. Kim removes via liposuction are from the deep layer. It is safer to remove deep fat than superficial fat, so there is less chance of damaging the skin.

Some of the excess fat we have on our bodies isn’t there because of lack of weight control or commitment to fitness, but is instead related to hereditary traits. It is common for excess, stubborn fat to accumulate on our face, hips, buttocks, abdomen, and thighs. Dr. Kim’s goal when he uses liposuction is to remove some of the fat stuck in these areas to help achieve the better proportioned contours that you’ve been unable to achieve through exercise and diet.

Arm liposuction
Arm liposuction
Arm liposuction
Arm liposuction

Choosing Liposuction

You are the only one who can ultimately determine if liposuction is a good fit for you, so you should not choose to undergo this procedure to meet any expectations but your own. Liposuction is not a method for treating obesity, and it should not be viewed as a weight loss strategy. Patient should aim to maintain healthy diet and exercise habits prior to and after surgery. Liposuction is a reshaping and re-contouring procedure — it is not a weight loss surgery.

Liposuction can be used on stubborn fat deposits in a host of body areas, including the ankles, calves, cheeks, chin, chest, inner knee, waist, back, neck, hips, thighs, and arms. Sometimes, Dr. Kim performs liposuction surgery alone, and other times, he performs this surgery in conjunction with other procedures. Many patients choose to have liposuction in conjunction with a facelift, breast reduction, or tummy tuck (abdominoplasty). It is important to note that liposuction will remove fat from the targeted body areas, but it will not remove cellulite.

If you are contemplating liposuction, you should be in good physical health, should not smoke, and should have realistic goals and expectations for surgery. The best candidates are within 30% of their ideal weight, and those with firm, elastic skin will likely see the best results. Thus, younger patients with relatively tighter, firmer skin may experience better results than older patients with decreased skin elasticity.

Liposuction of the arms
1 week post op

When you meet with Dr. John Kim of Northwestern Plastic Surgery for your personalized liposuction consultation in his downtown Chicago office in Galter Pavilion, he will carefully examine the areas on your body that you wish to change. He will examine your skin elasticity and your fat distribution to determine if you are a good candidate for liposuction surgery. Dr. Kim will walk you through your treatment options as well as the risks and benefits of the procedure, so you can make the best, most informed decision possible as to whether liposuction will fulfill your goals and desires.

Liposuction Procedure

First, Dr. Kim makes several small incisions within the areas that are to be treated. In these incisions, a sterile liquid solution is infused, followed by the insertion of a hollow, stainless steel tube (called a cannula). The cannula is inserted through the incisions into the fat layers of the target area. In a controlled, rapid back and forth motion, fat cells are loosened from their positions and removed via suction using a vacuum device hooked up to the cannula. The fat is collected in a flask. In removing the fat, small tunnels will form in the fat layers underneath the skin where the fat used to be. As you heal, these small tunnels will collapse, leaving you with a tighter body contour.

If Dr. Kim deems it necessary, he may recommend you undergo certain other procedures at the time of your liposuction. For example, if the fat removal leaves you with extra skin, he may recommend you have an abdominoplasty procedure to further sculpt your abdomen. These additional procedures are often necessary if you are having large amounts of fat removed via liposuction (typically >5 liters).


Liposuction is commonly done as an outpatient procedure, meaning your hospital stay will be 23 hours or less. Directly after surgery, Dr. Kim may choose to apply a compression garment or elastic bandage to your surgery site in order to reduce swelling and compress the skin to your new body contour. He may also opt to place small, thin drains underneath your skin temporarily to drain any excess blood and fluid that wants to accumulate. He will meet with you in the post-op area to give you specific instructions on how to care for your surgical area following surgery (ie: medications) and when he’ll need to see you for follow-up visits in his clinic in Galter Pavilion on the Northwestern campus in downtown Chicago. He will also explain what you can expect during your individual recovery period, including activity and driving restrictions as well as pain expectations. It is crucial that you do not subject your incisions to excessive force, motion, or abrasion while you are healing.

Liposuction of the abdomen
10 months post op

For the first several days or weeks after surgery, you will likely have some pain, soreness, and/or burning at the treated sites. Bruising and swelling will gradually subside after about 4-6 weeks, at which time you will really start to notice your new and improved body contour.

To maintain the results Dr. Kim achieves for your body through liposuction, it is important that you are in control of your weight and remain healthy. The liposuction procedure is permanent, but it is unable to prevent obesity. If you gain too much weight after surgery, the treated areas may begin to ripple, and fat will likely appear in other body areas. It is crucial that you engage in a healthy lifestyle of proper eating and adequate physical activity.

Liposuction FAQs

When Will I Be Able To Return To Work After Liposuction?

Liposuction patients will typically return to work in less than a week. However, the amount of time you will need to recover will depend on your specific treatment and the type of work that you perform.

Can I Get Pregnant After Liposuction?

Patients can get pregnant after liposuction surgery. However, pregnancy can change the body and cause weight gain, so having liposuction before pregnancy does not guarantee that another procedure won’t be required after having a baby.

How Long Will My Results Last?

The number of fat cells that you have after liposuction surgery will remain the same, but this does not prevent weight gain from increasing the size of the fat cells that are left. It is important to continue working out and eating healthy after the procedure to maintain the integrity of your results.

Which areas of the body can be treated with liposuction?

Liposuction can remove unwanted fat from many different areas of the body, including the hips, thighs, flanks, legs, buttocks, abdomen, arms, face, neck, and back. The procedure can also be combined with other treatments, such as tummy tuck.

Is liposuction for me if I am very overweight?

Liposuction is not recommended for very heavy people. Only moderate volumes of fat can safely be removed during liposuction.

Who is a good candidate for liposuction?

The best candidates for liposuction are at a stable, normal weight but experience an uneven distribution of fat cells. They may be unusually “thick” in certain parts of the body, and may find it very difficult to lose weight in these areas.Can liposuction be used to lose weight?

No, liposuction is not a weight loss surgery. It is a contouring/reshaping procedure.

Will liposuction reduce cellulite?

Cellulite is a collection of fat beneath the skin that results in a lumpy, dimpled appearance. Liposuction will not treat or improve cellulite.

Can liposuction be do more than once?

If necessary, liposuction can be done several times. However, patients must bear in mind that maintaining a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise will greatly enhance the results achieved with liposuction and make them lasting.

Are my liposuction results permanent?

While liposuction is permanent, it cannot erase or prevent obesity. If additional weight is gained following liposuction, the treated areas may begin to ripple, and fat will appear in other areas of the body. To maintain your new shape and contour following liposuction, you are encouraged to lead a healthy lifestyle with a proper diet and exercise.

Where are my incisions located? Are there any visible scars? Will people know I had liposuction?

The incisions for liposuction are very small, and will fade over time. The incisions are made near the area that will be treated; however, only a few are necessary as the cannula is long and can reach the target area.

How painful is liposuction?

Liposuction is not particularly painful, but patients may experience soreness and bruising following the procedure. Medication will be prescribed as necessary so patients are not too uncomfortable.

Is liposuction done on an outpatient basis?

Typically, patients undergoing liposuction procedures are able to return home the same day. However, this depends on the extent of the surgery.

What types of fat can liposuction effectively target?

Patients commonly seek reductions in the abdomen, thighs, hips, buttocks, arms, neck or back. Men may also choose liposuction as a way to treat “male breasts”. Liposuction is sometimes used to treat jowls and cheeks, although Dr. Kim may advise an alternate technique for those areas.

Is liposuction a weight loss strategy?

Liposuction is not a remedy for obesity, a substitute for exercise and a healthy diet, or a cure for some of the imperfections that often appear as we age. In fact, it is important that you give diet and exercise a chance before you consider the procedure. Overweight patients should be within 20 pounds of recommended weight.

Liposuction is ideal for those areas of the body that seem immune to traditional lifestyle approaches. If you exercise regularly and lose weight through a balanced diet and still retain excess fat in the hips or thighs, liposuction may be an appropriate option.

Will liposuction eliminate skin imperfections?

If skin is already sagging or loose in a certain area, liposuction will not improve its appearance. Cellulite and stretch marks are also not likely to improve significantly, although there may be a slight smoothing of the area, depending on the firmness of your skin.

The elasticity of a patient’s skin is a key factor in how the skin will look after the procedure. If skin is elastic and muscle tone is good, the skin will conform well to the new body shape. With skin that has been stretched and is less elastic, folds of skin may be apparent after removal of fat.

Will the fat return?

There is indeed a chance that pockets of fat could become plump again, but it is definitely not inevitable. If you change the behavior that led to obesity, you will not need to worry about significant amounts of fat returning. The cells that were removed during liposuction are gone, and will never grow back. But if your weight begins to rise again, adjoining fat cells will expand to store the excess caloric intake.

What is tumescent liposuction?

Tumescent liposuction is a safe, effective surgical variation during which a surgeon injects a fluid into the target area that aids in loosening pockets of fat. The surgeon then inserts a narrow, hollow tube through small incisions to suction out fat cells. The artistry of a surgeon is key at this point. With an eye to the beauty of your new profile, Dr. Kim removes fat with precision and balance, being carefully not to over-correct.

Are there less invasive options?

When it comes to removing stubborn pockets of fat, there are several highly effective alternatives, such as SculpSure and CoolSculpting. SculpSure uses laser-generated heat to disrupt fat cells. CoolSculpting relies on the opposite end of the temperature spectrum, freezing cells in the flabby “pinchable” areas of body fat. These crystallized cells are then absorbed by the body over a period of weeks or months. The gradual reduction of fat in targeted areas allows your skin to progressively shrink to cover your new profile.