Liposuction, also called suction-assisted lipoplasty, is a common cosmetic procedure that removes excess fat deposits in targeted areas of your body.

Knee liposuction is one such area that may be of interest. While not a viable weight loss treatment, this procedure is ideal for targeting small collections of fat that are difficult to reduce by diet and exercise alone.

Still, knee liposuction isn’t right for everyone. It’s important to meet with a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss all the potential benefits, risks, and costs associated with this procedure.

Keep reading to learn more about the procedure, whether you’re a good candidate, and how to find a qualified provider.

Knee liposuction is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of fat deposits from the inner knee. The procedure is often done in conjunction with liposuction of the thighs to achieve a more contoured look.

Overall, the results of a knee liposuction procedure are considered permanent as long as you maintain your weight and fitness level. Depending on your contouring goals, more than one session may be necessary.

You may be a good candidate for knee liposuction if you have good skin elasticity and are at a weight that’s healthy for your body type. This procedure is designed for people who already follow a healthy lifestyle plan but are having trouble with fatty deposits in certain areas of their body.

You may not be a good candidate for this procedure if you experience weight fluctuations or if you’re currently trying to lose weight. It’s recommended that you be within 30 percent of your ideal weight before getting liposuction.

Knee liposuction doesn’t completely get rid of cellulite or saggy skin. While these skin concerns are more common around the thigh area, they can sometimes occur around the knee, too. You can discuss other removal options with your plastic surgeon.

Liposuction also isn’t recommended for people who smoke or have any serious chronic illnesses.

You can expect the following process for knee liposuction:

  1. First, you’ll be given anesthesia so you won’t feel pain during knee liposuction. This may come in the form of a local anesthetic or general anesthesia that puts you to sleep for the entire procedure.
  2. Your surgeon will make small incisions around the inner knee. Next, they’ll insert a small tube called a cannula, which is designed to loosen fatty deposits. This excess fat is then suctioned via an attached vacuum-like device.
  3. Once the desired fat is removed from the knee area, your surgeon will close up the incisions and cover the area with compression bandages. These are designed to control excessive bleeding and swelling during your recovery.

The procedure itself is done in an outpatient hospital or another surgical facility. No overnight stay is required, but you may ask a loved one to stay with you at home for the first night of your recovery. You’ll also need a ride to and from your scheduled liposuction procedure.

Swelling (edema) of the entire leg is normal following this procedure. You can help minimize the swelling by elevating your leg and wearing compression garments.

You may be advised not to exercise or go back to your other usual activities for a couple of weeks.

For healthy candidates, knee liposuction is safe overall. Swelling is to be expected, and it may peak at 2 weeks following your procedure. Compression garments may be needed for up to 6 weeks to keep swelling at bay.

Other possible side effects include:

  • bruising
  • thermal burns
  • excess fluid accumulation (seromas)
  • irregular pigmentation
  • loose skin
  • worsened appearance of cellulite
  • numbness or pain

In some cases, a separate surgery may be needed to remove excess skin in the legs following knee liposuction. Talk to your provider about the likelihood of this scenario.

You should also ask your doctor about your risk for more serious side effects, such as the following:

  • infections
  • excessive bleeding
  • nerve damage
  • blood vessel damage
  • deep vein thrombosis

You’ll be asked to temporarily stop taking anti-inflammatory drugs and other types of medications or supplements that may increase bleeding during your procedure.

Follow your doctor’s instructions for aftercare, as you may be advised to refrain from strenuous activities for several weeks.

Another possible complication is the removal of too much fat during knee liposuction. This can create an uneven contour, which may be difficult to correct.

Before booking your knee liposuction, you’ll want to have a consultation with a qualified doctor. During your initial consultation, your doctor will discuss your overall goals for leg contouring, as well as any underlying health conditions you might have.

This is also a good time to ask the doctor about their credentials and to see a portfolio of previous work. You can also inquire about any potential risks or side effects of the procedure based on your medical history. Be sure to tell them about any medications and supplements you take.

This procedure should be performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon. To find a qualified surgeon in your area, use the online search tool via the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

As with other cosmetic procedures, knee liposuction isn’t considered to be medically necessary, so it isn’t covered by insurance. The nationwide average for liposuction procedures is $3,518. Your overall cost will vary depending on your location and your provider’s fees.

Aside from your plastic surgeon, you may need to consider other costs such as anesthesia and outpatient facility fees, as well as supplies and medications required after your procedure.

To offset the overall costs, many plastic surgeons offer payment plans, financing, and possible discounts. Be sure to ask about your options before booking your procedure. You may also need to take time off work.

While studies have shown that liposuction is safer compared to other cosmetic procedures, there’s a risk for side effects with any type of surgery. This includes knee liposuction.

It’s important to know all the benefits versus risks ahead of time, and that you discuss these thoroughly with a board-certified plastic surgeon.