Background: Liposuction is the most common cosmetic operation performed. To the authors' knowledge, no report has examined patients' attitudes and postoperative opinions, lifestyle changes, weight gain changes, and satisfaction with their liposuction procedure in general and by specific site. The authors report on data from a survey provided to patients by two plastic surgeons at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.
Methods: Six hundred questionnaires were mailed to all patients who had liposuction surgery performed between 1999 and 2003. There were 108 undeliverable surveys; 209 completed surveys were returned (34.8 percent of 600 and 42.5 percent of 492 surveys). Data were analyzed using the chi-square test. A p value of less than 0.05 was considered significant.
Results: The majority of patients (80 percent) were satisfied with their results. Fifty-three percent thought that their appearance was either "excellent" or "very good." With regard to satisfaction by site treated, 60 percent or more of the responders were "very satisfied" or "satisfied" with their results. Weight gain was reported in 43 percent of the responders, with 56 percent of them gaining between 5 and 10 pounds 6 months after their surgery. Fat return was reported in 65 percent of the responders. The abdomen was the most common location for fat return. As a group, 79.7 percent would have the procedure again and 86 percent would recommend the procedure to family or friends. Approximately 75 percent of responders described their postoperative discomfort as mild to moderate, with 60 percent indicating that their discomfort lasted less than 7 days (39.8 percent indicated their pain lasted longer than 7 days); 83 percent indicated that they only needed to use narcotics for 7 days of less. When responders were divided into groups, the great majority of patients were satisfied with the surgery and their results.
Conclusions: Despite postoperative pain, fat return, and weight gain, patients were willing to have the procedure again and recommend it to others. Those patients who were unsatisfied and were less likely to refer patients were those who had the lowest opinion of their appearance.