(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 the surgeon are more important than type of liposuction device
How do I know if I’m a good candidate for liposuction?
Your weight should be stable and appropriate for your height. If you are planning to lose a significant amount of weight then perhaps you should defer undergoing liposuction. Schedule a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon (certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery). During your consultation discuss your goals and expectations. She/he will then examine you, assessing your overall body contour, your skin quality, and elasticity. Based on the physical examination and a discussion of your goals, a treatment plan will be made.
What type of anesthesia is used?
Liposuction can be performed under local anesthesia or general anesthesia. This depends on a variety of factors including surgeon preference, patient preference, and the number of body areas being treated. The type of local anesthesia most commonly used is referred to as tumescent anesthesia, a dilute solution of lidocaine with epinephrine that is injected into the areas where fatty tissue is to be removed. Lidocaine numbs the area. The epinephrine shrinks blood vessels which minimizes blood loss.
Advantages when liposuction is performed under tumescent local anesthesia:
- 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
Disadvantages when liposuction performed under tumescent local anesthesia:
- Effectiveness of tumescent local anesthesia dependent on surgeon technique and experience
- Patient tolerance varies
- Surgeon may not be able suction as aggressively and maintain patient comfort
- As number of liposuction areas increases, tolerance under local anesthesia may decrease
- Optimal outcome more difficult to achieve under local anesthesia
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 any 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 to vibrate loosening the fat which is removed by suction. Laser assisted liposuction (Smart Lipo, Slim Lipo, Cool Lipo, Pro Lipo) use 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 then removed by suctioning. Both ultrasonic liposuction and laser assisted liposuction have the potential to cause serious burns. It is particularly important that the surgeon utilizing these techniques is well trained and experienced. Water Jet Liposuction uses a high-pressure water spray which “loosens” the fat cells before suction. It is important to remember that a good outcome can be achieved with any of the liposuction technologies performed by a well trained, experienced plastic surgeon.
When can I resume normal activities?
It depends on how many areas are treated and how you tend to recover. Most patients return to work that is not physically demanding within one week or less. 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 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 and satisfactory skin elasticity. This includes not only the areas most commonly treated—abdomen, hip rolls, inner thighs, outer thighs but also the arms, under bra area, pubic area and even the top of the feet.
When will I see my results?
While some patients may see results as early as the first week. Generally, improvement becomes apparent at three to six weeks as swelling resolves. It may take several month for all of the swelling to resolve before you can appreciate the final result.
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.