Liposuction has been around since the 70s and continues to be the gold standard for fat removal and body contouring. While there are many new devices being marketed for non-surgical fat removal, liposuction still remains the most predictable way of removing significant fat and improving body shape. Liposuction is a relatively simple and straightforward compared to other cosmetic procedures.
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.
If you are struggling with excess fat on your body and wish to improve your body contour, liposuction may be right for you.
Liposuction is performed on both men and women of all sizes and shapes. Some of the most common goals of having liposuction include wanting to look better in a bathing suit, being able to fit more comfortably in clothing, having more clothing options, feeling more comfortable in your own skin.
The ideal liposuction patient has localized fat deposits and good skin tone.
If any of the below apply to you, liposuction may be right for you.
Liposuction isn’t right for everyone. Your goals must be realistic about what the procedure can and cannot do for you. Liposuction alone may not be right for you if you have poor skin quality or if you want to lose a significant amount of weight. Liposuction will help improve your body shape, which can help you look thinner and lose inches, however it is not to be used as a weight loss method. If you have sagging skin, we may recommend a skin tightening procedure such as a tummy tuck.
Liposuction will only address subcutaneous fat, which is the fat located just below the skin’s surface. It will not remove visceral fat, also known as intra-abdominal fat, which is internal fat located around the liver, stomach and other organs. This type of fat can only be addressed through weight loss resulting from diet and exercise.
There are two maneuvers you can try to get an idea if the fat can be treated with liposuction. Lie down on a flat surface and see if your abdomen rises higher than your ribs. If it does, this is almost always visceral or internal fat, which cannot be removed with liposuction. The other way is to stand up, tighten your abs and try to grab your fat. If it is visceral, you will not be able to grab it. Visceral fat is also usually hard compared to subcutaneous fat, which is squishy.
A physical examination with a board-certified plastic surgeon and liposuction specialist is the best way to determine if you are a good candidate.
Liposuction can be used to treat the following areas:
At Pacific Center Plastic Surgery, our doctors may perform liposuction (suction assisted lipectomy (SAL) or laser assisted liposculpting) 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.
With improved liposuction techniques and surgical expertise, our plastic surgeons can remove larger areas of fat at one time and precisely sculpt and contour the treated area. Additional liposuction 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 Traditional 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.
Laser Assisted Liposuction is used to precisely sculpt and contour the treated area. It is a variation of traditional liposuction that uses low-wave laser energy to liquefy fat before it is removed. This technique makes it easier to remove the fat, resulting in a less invasive procedure with quicker downtime.
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.