Liposuction for the Body
What is Liposuction?
As much as diet and exercise can help individuals lose weight, they are sometimes still left with stubborn fat deposits that are still resistant and will not go away. Liposuction is a surgical procedure that slims and reshapes parts of the body by removing excess fat deposits in order to improve contour and proportion. Liposuction can be performed on many areas of the body including the thighs, hips, buttocks, abdomen, waist, upper arms, back, chest, face and neck, as well as on the calves and ankles. Often liposuction is performed in conjunction with another procedure such as a face lift, a breast reduction or a tummy tuck after a complete evaluation.
The Liposuction Consultation
Patients interested in liposuction should schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified plastic surgeons. During the visit, the patient will meet with the plastic surgeon to discuss their medical and surgical history, the medications or supplements he or she might be taking, and the motivation for seeking surgical intervention. Liposuction surgery is not a treatment for obesity and is not intended to replace diet and regular exercise. The plastic surgeon will perform a physical exam to evaluate the problem area and will provide the patient with all of their surgical options and his or her recommendations. The plastic surgeon will discuss the risks, benefits and complications of the procedure
Preparing for Liposuction
Patients should begin preparing for the procedure several weeks in advance. Patients should avoid all nicotine sources and avoid taking aspirin or any other blood-thinning medication. The plastic surgeon will send the patient for pre-operative labs and testing to make sure that he or she is appropriate for surgery. Patients are prescribed medications to take following the procedure.
Before surgery, it is important that patients get plenty of rest. Patients are instructed to shower the night before the procedure and to refrain from eating anything until after the surgery. The day of the procedure, patients should arrive early to the surgery center, wearing loose, comfortable clothing. Patients should also arrange to be accompanied by a friend or family member who may drive them home after surgery. It is also important for patients to carefully follow any pre-operative instructions given to them by the surgeon to ensure an optimal outcome.
Liposuction is an outpatient cosmetic procedure that is typically performed in an outpatient setting. During the liposuction procedure, the plastic surgeon marks the areas to be treated. Then, the plastic surgeon creates several tiny incisions and injects a tumescent solution into the areas to be treated. This solution is infused to reduce the amount of swelling and bruising after surgery. The fat is then suctioned out using a thin vacuum tube called a cannula. In some instances, the plastic surgeon may use ultrasonic waves to convert the solid fat into a liquid (called Ultrasonic Liposuction or UAL). He or she may also perform a technique called Power Assisted Liposuction (PAL) which uses a vibrating cannula to make the procedure easier and smoother. The procedure time depends upon the area that is being worked on, but can take as little as one hour or as much as four hours if multiple areas are being done.
Liposuction Results and Recovery
Once the procedure is completed, the patient usually will be dressed in a compression garment. This garment will help reduce swelling after liposuction and compress the skin. Patients should expect some bruising during the first week and can experience swelling for a few months after the procedure; during this time, the patient’s new contours will continue to become more apparent. The incisions from the procedure are usually minimal and hidden from view and fade with time. Most patients experience little discomfort and return to work in a few days after the surgery. In order to maximize the results of the liposuction procedure, it is important to continue exercising regularly and follow a healthy diet. It is also important to follow the post-operative instructions exactly as given by the plastic surgeon to ensure the best recovery and results possible.