(also called Liposculpture, Lipoplasty, Suction assisted lipectomy)
- Reduces or eliminates localized fat deposits
- Creates youthful, attractive body contours
- Safe procedure with minimal downtime
- Can be performed under local anesthesia
- Most effective in men and women near normal body weight
- Good skin elasticity contributes to best result
- Skill, experience and sculpting ability of surgeon are more important than type of liposuction device
How do I know if I’m a good candidate for liposuction?
Consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon (certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery).
The following characteristics are generally necessary to be considered a good candidate for liposuction:
- Good health
- Stable weight
- Weight appropriate for your height
- Satisfactory skin elasticity
- Localized rather than generalized fat deposits
- Comfortable at your current body weight; no plans for significant weight loss
- Realistic expectations
During your consultation discuss your goals and expectations. Your plastic surgeon will then examine you, assessing your overall body contour, your skin quality and elasticity, musculo-skeletal development, and body asymmetries. Based on the physical examination and a discussion of your goals recommendations will be made regarding whether or not you are a good candidate for liposuction. If you are a candidate an individualized treatment plan will be made.
Is there a difference in how liposuction is performed for men vs. women?
There is a difference in the desired body contour of men vs. women. Generally, men desire a more defined muscular look while women want a softer more curvaceous look. When contouring the back men desire a V-shape, while women desire a deeper curve giving the appearance of a narrowed waist.
Techniques and technology have evolved to make it possible to create remarkable improvement and change in body contouring. However, there are many unalterable factors that determine the outcome after liposuction. Underlying muscle development, skeletal shape, and genetic predisposition are unalterable factors that affect results after liposuction in men and women. Exercise and nutritional habits are also key factors.
What type of anesthesia is used?
Liposuction can be performed under local anesthesia or general anesthesia. Which type of anesthesia is used depends on a variety of factors including surgeon preference, patient preference, and the number of body areas being treated.
A type of local anesthesia commonly used is referred to as tumescent anesthesia. Tumescent anesthesia usually refers to a dilute solution of lidocaine, a local anesthetic, combined with epinephrine. The lidocaine anesthetizes the treatment area diminishing sensation. The epinephrine shrinks blood vessels minimizing bleeding. Tumescent anesthesia may be used in combination with general anesthesia or as a stand-alone local anesthetic. In the later case the formulation is modified to provide sufficient local anesthetic effect.
Advantages of tumescent local anesthesia without general anesthesia include:
- Eliminates need for general anesthesia
- Eliminates side effects/risks related to general anesthesia
- Minimizes blood loss
- Lidocaine has a bacteriostatic effect and may decrease risk of infection
- Effects of local anesthesia may last for at least several hours after the procedure
- Fine tuning of select areas (outer thighs) can be performed with the patient standing optimizing outcome
What is the best type of liposuction?
There are many different liposuction technologies available. While each technology may be touted to have certain unique advantages, the reality is that it is the physician who performs the procedure that matters most. Excellent results can be achieved with many of the technologies described below.
Power assisted liposuction is one of the most commonly used forms of liposuction.
- Power assisted liposuction uses mechanical energy which causes the liposuction cannula (the instrument that passes over the fat) to vibrate facilitating movment of the cannula through the fat and fat removal.
- Laser assisted liposuction (Smart Lipo, Slim Lipo, Cool Lipo, Pro Lipo) uses laser energy to heat and dissolve the fat cells.
- Ultrasonic liposuction (UAL—ultrasonic assisted liposuction) uses ultrasound energy to dissolve the fat cells.
- In both laser assisted and ultrasonic assisted liposuction the liquefied fat is removed by suctioning. Both ultrasonic liposuction and laser-assisted liposuction have the potential to cause serious burns. User experience and training is extremely important.
- Water Jet Liposuction uses a high-pressure water spray, which “loosens” the fat cells before suction.
- It is important to remember that a good outcomes can be achieved with any of the liposuction technologies when performed by an experienced board certified plastic surgeon
When can I resume normal activities?
It depends on how many areas are treated and how you tend to recover. Many patients are able to return to work that is not physically demanding within four days. Some gym activities can be resumed at two weeks while others are deferred from 4 to 6 weeks. After the first two or three days, discomfort usually resembles muscle soreness after a hard workout.
What body areas can be treated?
Liposuction can be used to treat almost any body area where there is localized excess fat deposits and satisfactory skin elasticity.
When will I see my results?
While some patients may see results as early as the first week, it generally takes several weeks before patients can begin to appreciate changes as swelling dissipates. At three months, most of the swelling will have resolved and marked improvement will become apparent. Additional improvement may become apparent between three and six months.
Will the fat come back?
Liposuction permanently removes fat cells. However, since it is necessary to leave some fat cells to ensure an even skin contour, the remaining fat cells can enlarge. If you maintain your body weight, exercise, and practice good nutrition, you should maintain your result after liposuction for many years.