What is Liposuction?
Traditional liposuction involves removing excess fat from select parts of the body. Liposuction is one of the most requested cosmetic procedures in the United States. It is important to remember that liposuction is not a substitute for weight loss. It is a tool for contouring.
The surgery has developed over years to include much more such as liposculpture and fat grafting. It is most useful for patients who have localized areas of fat and good quality skin that will retract after removal of the fatty volume. These tend to be younger patients of normal or near normal weight and who have not recently lost a considerable amount of weight. Liposuction can be useful for almost any area of the body. The areas often addressed with liposuction include the hip and thigh regions, lower abdomen, and flanks. We also use liposuction with great success in areas of the face and neck such as the lower chin/upper neck region. One added advantage of liposuction is that it provides fat that can be used to fill areas that require more volume. In the facial region this is often the areas of the nasolabial folds and cheeks. Large volume liposuction can provide enough fat to graft areas such as the buttocks and breasts.
What can Liposuction do?
Liposuction can remove localized fat deposits from virtually any place in the body. Common areas treated with liposuction are the thighs, hips & buttocks, abdomen and waist, upper arm, back, inner knee, and chest area. It can be performed alone or in combination with other plastic surgery procedures. Additional technologies such as laser, ultrasound, or radiofrequency are used to apply heat or energy to the tissues. These can increase the amount of skin retraction after liposuction enhancing the effects of fat removal.
The results of liposuction range from vary from subtle to profound. But they are often significantly more profound than less invasive options such as Cool Sculpting or other non-invasive fat reduction procedures. Liposuction can make a big difference in your appearance. However, the results are often not evident immediately as there is swelling and inflammation after surgery that must resolve. In addition, for a good result a compression garment must be worn sometimes up to 4 to 6 weeks.
What can Liposuction NOT do?
Liposuction is not a substitute for weight loss. It also does involve the removal excess skin. In some cases it can leave the overlying skin deflated or loose. Skin is elastic and often retracts, but in some cases with skin fat the skin has been stretched and has lost its younger “elasticity.”
Who is a Good Candidate?
Ideal candidate are those within 30% of their idea weight with firm, elastic skin and good muscle tone. They should be healthy individual without life –threatening illness or medical conditions that can impair healing. Non-smokers are preferred, and patients should have a positive outlook with specific goals in mind for their body contouring procedure.
During your Consult
At the time of your consultation we will review your goals. Dr. Brown will evaluate your medical conditions, drug allergies, current medications/herbal supplements and prior surgical history.
He will examine your areas of concern, take measurements, and finally take photographs. From that information Dr. Brown will recommend a course of treatment, likely outcomes, and discuss potential complications as well as the type of anesthesia.
Prior to Surgery
To get ready for surgery there are a number important steps. We will obtain recent blood work and sometimes obtain medical clearance from your primary doctor.
You must stop smoking. There are limits to how much fat can be safely removed at the time of surgery. You must avoid taking Aspirin, anti-inflammatories and herbal supplements for 3 weeks prior to surgery as this increases the risk of bleeding. Certain hormones must also be stopped as these increase the risk of Deep vein thrombosis.
How is Liposuction Performed?
The technique of liposuction involves injection of a large volume of dilute local anesthetic. This can be done under a mild to moderate sedation. Most patients are quite comfortable after surgery. Small incisions are made around natural folds or creases. Metal tubes or cannulas are used to then remove that fat. The fat cells are permanently removed and that area of skin is left with a more aesthetic contour.
How is the Recovery?
Some mild to moderate soreness persists for a few days or week but light activity and exercise is encouraged in the early post op period. Finally, most people can return to work within a few days or a week.
- Anesthesia Risks
- Fluid Accumulation (seroma)
- Poor Wound Healing
- Skin Loss
- Numbness or changes in skin sensation
- Skin discoloration
- Unfavorable scarring
- Recurrent looseness of skin
- Fatty tissue
- Deep Vein thrombosis
- Cardiac and pulmonary complications
- Suboptimal Aesthetic result
- Possibility of revision surgery
- Persistent pain