Liposuction, which has been around and popular since the 70s, is a remarkable, creative procedure that physically removes excess and unwanted fat from the patient’s body. Due to the fact that liposuction is simple compared to other forms of plastic surgery and body modification, it has gain a positive reputation around the world. If there is an area on your body that you believe has fat deposits that should go, there is most likely a liposuction procedure to address it.
Liposuction is renowned and trusted because it works for so many people from all walks of life. If you have excessive fat buildup under your skin that seems to never go away, no matter how hard you exercise or how strictly you control your diet, liposuction can target it. If your desire is simple to better the contours of your own body, liposuction can once again be put to good use.
Liposuction can work in the following areas and more:
Contrary to popular belief, liposuction is not meant to be used for instant and dramatic weight loss, such as a way to control morbid obesity or reduce loose skin. Instead, liposuction is meant to sculpt a person’s body that is already near their target weight. Healthy, elastic skin that can recover quickly from modification is a must if liposuction is to be beneficial to the patient.
Unfortunately, less experienced plastic surgeons performing liposuction may not have the experience to recognize that a different procedure (such as a tummy tuck) may provide a better result for the patient. At Pacific Center Plastic Surgery, our doctors may perform liposuction (a.k.a. Suction Assisted Lipectomy (SAL)) or laser assisted liposuction in conjunction with other body contouring procedures, such as tummy tuck, thigh lift, buttock augmentation, facelift, neck lift and chin augmentation. In order to ensure you are getting the right cosmetic procedure, contact our trusted Newport Beach plastic surgeons. Call (949) 565-2121 today for more information.
Improved liposuction techniques allow plastic surgeons to remove larger amounts of fat at a time. Even precise liposuction, known as liposculpture, can be utilized to contour the shape of a heavier individual. Newer techniques such as Power Assisted Liposuction, Laser or Ultrasonic Assisted Liposuction techniques are available and may be recommended by your plastic surgeon.
Suction Assisted Lipectomy (SAL) or liposuction is a surgical technique in which the removal of fat deposits reshapes a specific part of the body, such as the face, neck, arms, abdomen, hips, or thighs. It has become the most requested aesthetic surgical procedure in the United States in recent years. The popularity of this operation is based on its relative simplicity, which requires only a small incision, usually well-hidden in a normal fold of skin.
Liposuction has been labeled as a way for a patient to reduce their weight from obese to normal or healthy in one afternoon. This is not the intent or the typical usage of liposuction. In fact, instantaneous and significant weight loss can create health complications. For a patient that needs to lose a great amount of weight, it is always recommended that exercise and diet be followed until liposuction would be more effective. One way to view liposuction is as an advanced way to sculpt portions of the body, allowing people to lose inches off their frame but not necessarily pounds of fat. Furthermore, the fat removed through liposuction is gone for good and, if the patient does put on weight in the future, the fat buildup will look more natural and less obtrusive.
Liposuction can be performed in an outpatient session, such as the surgeon's office or Outpatient Surgery Facility. The procedure can last from 30 minutes to several hours, depending on how many body areas are being operated upon. The type of anesthesia will also vary. Local anesthetic with sedation can be used for small areas; however, more extensive procedures usually require general anesthesia. Through a small incision, usually less than one-half inch, a blunt-tipped instrument called a cannula is passed back and forth, essentially vacuuming out the fat. The cannula is connected to rubber tubing which in turn attaches to a machine which generates high vacuum pressure. Following surgery, a firm elasticized garment is used to provide compression and reduce swelling and discoloration to the surgical site.
COMPRESSION GARMENT: If you have had suction of the knees, thigh, or abdomen, the doctor will have put on a compression garment at the end of the surgery. The extra pressure this garment provides helps reduce swelling and discomfort. You should not remove this garment at all until the second or third day after surgery. After that, feel free to remove the garment temporarily for laundering. We want you to have circumferential pressure for 4-6 weeks, but you may switch to an exercise garment (Lycra or Spandex) whenever it feels comfortable to slip it on or off, as you will have to do so in order to go to the bathroom.
SHOWERING: You may shower three days after surgery.
TAPING: The doctor may decide to cover some or all of your suctioned areas with elastic tape or adhesive foam. On the third or fourth day after surgery, you may peel these off in the shower or bath. This is easier than taking them off "dry."
MASSAGE: If you desire, feel free to have a gentle massage after surgery.
POSTOPERATIVE VISITS: We wish to examine you 3 or 4 days after surgery, once the tape or foam has been removed.
EXPOSURE TO SUNLIGHT: Protect the bruised area from the sun until the bruising fades completely.
ACTIVITY: You must start walking immediately. You may continue the activities of daily living as you feel able. Do not return to strenuous activities or aerobic exercise for 2 to 3 weeks.
BRUISING AND SWELLING: Bruising and swelling are normal in the suctioned areas and usually increase slightly after the removal of any tape or foam. The bruising will decrease over 3-4 weeks, but may last as long as 6 weeks. The majority of the swelling will be gone within the first 3-4 weeks. However it may take 6-9 months to disappear completely. The compression garment helps reduce the swelling, and the longer it is worn, the more quickly the process will proceed.
NUMBNESS: Scattered numbness in the suctioned areas occurs occasionally and will disappear within a few weeks.
LUMPINESS: As you heal, the suctioned area may feel "lumpy" and irregular. This, too, decreases with time, and massaging those areas will hasten their softening.
ACTIVITIES: If your work keeps you sedentary, you may return whenever you feel up to it. If your work is strenuous, wait until your work activity does not cause pain. Wait at least 3 weeks to begin aerobic exercise.
As with all operations, pain and discomfort varies greatly from patient to patient. Generally, one should expect that pain medication will be required for the first several days. Continuing discomfort can last varying amounts of time.
Much of the swelling and bruising will be improved by two weeks; however, some will persist for 6 to 8 weeks. It is often difficult to see significant changes in the body shape before this time.
Additional procedures that may enhance the result are a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), breast reduction, breast lift, breast augmentation, thigh lift, or buttock lift.
Are bandages applied?
As discussed earlier, compression garments are worn after the operation to assist in the retraction of the skin and to prevent swelling. Early results are seen 10-14 days after surgery, but improvement continues for 4-6 months.
When can you return to work?
In general 3-5 days after the operation for office work, and 14 days for more active employment.
When can you do exercises?
Usually, 2 weeks after the operation you may exercise, in order to modify and diminish the adhesions between the skin and the tissue. Walking, swimming, or a stationary bicycle can usually begin a few days after surgery.
Should you follow a special diet?
In order to have the best results, it is good to have a well-balanced diet, including carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, and proteins. You should be careful not to overeat.
When can you get out in the sun again?
When all the bruises have disappeared. This takes about 2-3 weeks. Use a sunscreen with a SPF of at least 30. Decreased sensation in the first few weeks or months after surgery may result in accidental sunburn. Be careful.
Are the results permanent?
In general, yes. If you gain a large amount of weight, however, the operated area will also increase but not as much as would have occurred before the operation.
Can the operation be repeated?
Yes, in certain cases. It is preferable to operate in stages on heavier people.
What about incision sites? Following surgery, your surgical incision sites will go through a maturation process. For the first few months they will be red and possibly raised and/or firm. As the scar matures, after 6-12 months, it becomes soft, pale, flat, and much less noticeable. You may experience numbness, tingling, burning, "crawling", or other peculiar sensations around the surgical area. This is a result of the healing of tiny fibers which are trapped in the incision site. These symptoms will disappear. Some people are prone to keloids, which is an abnormal scar that becomes prominent. If you or a blood relative has a tendency to keloid formation, please inform the doctor.
What happens to the excess skin? Depending upon the age of the patient, the skin (because of its elasticity and retraction) will shrink over the reduced area of the body. Liposuction is meant to reduce volume, not to tighten skin although some tightening may occur.
Why is it important to have pre-operative pictures taken? Pictures help in the analysis of the problem in pre-operative planning, as a guide during surgery, and in evaluating results. Consequently, they are necessary prior to all plastic surgery procedures.
Contact our office for a consultation to learn more about liposuction and whether it is right for you. Our Newport Beach plastic surgeons can answer all of your questions about how to achieve your ideal body shape.
We can be reached at (949) 565-2121.