Have you ever stood in the mirror with a look of frustration? Have you tried to smooth away a problem area with your hands and wished, “If only it were like this…”? Liposuction might be the way to go!
What is liposuction?
Liposuction, also called lipoplasty, suction lipectomy, or liposculpture, is a procedure that can help sculpt the body by removing unwanted fat from specific areas, including the abdomen, hips, buttocks, thighs, knees, upper arms, chin, cheeks and neck. While liposuction is not a substitute for dieting and exercise, liposuction can remove stubborn areas of fat that don’t respond to traditional weight-loss methods.
What are the benefits of liposuction surgery?
Liposuction and liposculpture is not a treatment for obesity nor is it effective in treating cellulite, the dimpled skin that typically appears on the thighs, hips and buttocks.
Also, if there is excessive skin or fat, other surgical procedures may be needed in addition or instead of liposuction. For example, a tummy tuck may more effectively meet your goal if there is abdominal skin overhang. Patients who are the best candidates for liposuction are within 30% of their ideal weight and have firm, elastic skin and good muscle tone.
Liposuction is a highly individualized procedure that requires careful consideration of your specific goals and desires. Your skin will be accessed for tone and elasticity and your body contour evaluated for fat density and distribution.
How much does liposuction surgery cost?
Cost of the surgery depends on the areas being treated. The smaller the area being treated, the smaller the cost. Some people choose to target only one part of the body while others want more complete body contouring. Because liposuction is a highly individualized procedure, it is best to come into our office for a consultation so we can work together on a plan that achieves your goals. At that time, our Cosmetic Coordinator will let you know how much your surgery will cost.
Liposuction is one of the most commonly performed cosmetic surgeries performed in the United States and many of these patients choose to finance part or all of their surgical costs. There are a wide variety of financing plans available. Our staff will work with you to find the best plan that works within your budget.
How is surgery performed?
The time required to perform liposuction depends on the location and size of the area, the amount of fat to be removed, and the type of anesthesia used. Small areas may be performed under local anesthesia while larger areas may be better suited under general anesthesia.
At the Advanced Institute for Plastic Surgery, we always inject a special “tumescent” solution under the skin prior to beginning liposuction to help decrease swelling and bruising. This method allows us to remove more fat by minimizing blood loss. It also provides anesthesia during and after surgery.
Liposuction is performed though small, inconspicuous incisions that are hidden as best as possible within the natural creases and contours of the body. Through tiny incisions, a thin hollow tube or cannula is inserted and used to loosen excess fat. The dislodged fat is then removed using a surgical suction device connected to the cannula.
After the liposuction is complete, the incisions may either be left open or closed with stitches depending on the location of the incision and amount of drainage present. A snug compression garment or bandage will then be applied to help the healing process.
How is the recovery process?
After surgery, you will wear a compression garment or bandage depending on the area. You will likely experience some fluid drainage from the incisions. The surgical areas will be uncomfortable after surgery, but the pain shouldn’t be severe. Pain can be controlled with medication. It is normal to feel a bit anxious or depressed in the days or weeks following surgery. However, this feeling will subside as you begin to look and feel better.
Healing is a gradual process. You should walk around as soon as possible to reduce swelling and to help prevent blood clots from forming in your legs. Activity that is more strenuous should be avoided for about a month as your body continues to heal. Although most of the bruising and swelling usually disappears within three weeks, some swelling may remain for six months or more.
Most patients are able to return to work or school within a few days following surgery. Patients with more extensive liposuction may require more time off.
What are the common risks & complications?
Liposuction tends to be a well tolerated surgery with good outcomes. However, as with any surgery, there can be complications. Because no surgery should be taken lightly, it is very important that you choose a surgeon that you truly trust, rather than simply go to a surgeon with low prices or flashy ads and hope for the best. You want a surgeon that is Board Certified in Plastic Surgery to ensure that the surgeon you entrust your body to has been properly trained in liposuction surgery.
The amount of bleeding with liposuction surgery has been significant reduced with the use of tumescent lidocaine solution. Significant bleeding, although rare, can still occur after any surgical procedure.
Even with the most careful technique, contour irregularities can occur. A large part depends on your particular healing and scarring that occurs over the weeks and months after surgery. In addition, people are often asymmetric prior to the surgery and this leads to asymmetries after the surgery, as well. Some areas of the body are more prone to contour irregularities than other areas.
Blood clot in the legs or lungs
In the past, people who had surgery might have been advised to just lie in bed during their recovery. Today, we know that not walking after surgery can contribute to the formation of blood clots. These blood clots usually form in the legs and are not usually dangerous in and of themselves. The problem arises when a piece of these blood clots breaks off and travels to the lungs.
We do everything possible to reduce the risk for blood clots. First, it is important to stay well hydrated around the time of surgery. Secondly, we advise that you wear special compression stockings for a full week after surgery. Third, we always use leg or foot pumps during surgery that act like your own body pushing blood back to the heart. Fourth, we encourage you to ambulate frequently after surgery to let your body do what it is supposed to do — keep the blood circulating so that clots do not form. Lastly, we may recommend a special medication that decreases your chance of blood clots.
As you can see, we put your health and safety paramount. We make every effort to reduce the possibility of risk and complication.
Frequently asked questions
Q: How much time is required for liposuction?
A: The surgery time varies greatly depending on the location and amount of fat to be removed. In general, liposuction takes 1 to 3 hours. As with all surgeries, the amount of time needed varies from patient to patient.
Q: Is liposuction an inpatient or outpatient procedure?
Q: What is “Body Contouring”?
A: In most cases, it is simply another word for liposuction. Liposuction improves the contours of your body by taking out the fatty deposits.
Q: What is “Body Sculpting” and “Liposculpture”? And do you do it?
A: As above, in most cases, it is simply a fancy word for liposuction. Yes, of course we do body sculpting and liposculpture because in all cases of liposuction, we are carefully sculpting the body to create a sleeker, more pleasing silhouette. Sometimes, the term “body sculpting” is used to try to confuse people or to try to “sell” something as “special”. Ask direct questions about what exactly is being done. You’ll find that it whatever they call it, it’s liposuction that’s doing the sculpting.
Q: What are some common side effects?
A: Most side effects of liposuction are temporary. They include discomfort, swelling, numbness, bruising, and limited mobility.
Q: What is the recovery time?
A: When small areas of liposuction are performed, most patients can return to work or school in a few days. More extensive procedures will take longer to recover from.
Q: How long do the results last?
A: The results from liposuction are permanent. However, significant weight gain can reverse your results. Liposuction surgery is not a “free pass” for life. But with the right care, you can enjoy your new body for years to come.