Dec 05 2018

10 Things to Know About Liposuction


1. What is traditional liposuction?

Liposuction is a surgical procedure that breaks down and removes fat just under the skin in parts of the body that are notoriously and stubbornly resistant to diet and exercise. This is not a weight loss procedure; instead, it is a way to remove a pocket of fat that is not responsive in otherwise healthy individuals.  VASER® LipoSelection is a form of liposuction that uses ultrasonic energy to assist the surgeon in the selective removal of fat in body contouring surgery.

2. Where can liposuction be performed?

Some common “problem” areas of the body where liposuction is performed includes:

  • Double Chin
  • Back of Neck
  • Bottom of Upper Arms
  • Female & Male Breasts
  • Outer Thighs
  • Bra Strap Area
  • Abdomen
  • Muffin Top
  • Love Handles

Less common areas include the ankles, inner thigh and upper back. The optimal area for each individual is unique, as each person responds to diet and exercise differently. Our board certified plastic surgeons, Dr. Hajjar and Dr. Lumley consult with patients to determine the areas of their body where liposuction makes sense.

3. What makes an ideal candidate for the procedure?

The best candidates for liposuction are healthy individuals at or close to their goal weight. They are also nonsmokers.

Ideal patients have stubborn subcutaneous fat. This is the pinchable fat between muscle and skin on the surface of your body.  Visceral fat in which the layer of fat resides internally around the abdominal organs is not treatable with liposuction, only diet and exercise.

Additionally, our board certified surgeons will evaluate the condition of the patient’s skin before recommending liposuction. Patients with good skin elasticity are good candidates for liposuction, whereas patients with loose skin or cellulite are not, as these conditions can result in sagging, uneven or dimpled skin.

4. Is liposuction a weight loss procedure? How much fat can be removed?

Contrary to popular belief, liposuction is not a weight-loss treatment. Instead, it is a fat reduction procedure. The amount of fat that can be removed in an area during a single procedure will vary depending on a variety of factors, including the surgeon’s assessment of the patient’s health and his or her aesthetic goals.  The goal being to smooth out the fat bulge and contour the trouble area.  You may not lose actual pounds but your clothing should fit better.

5. How does a patient prepare for liposuction surgery?

Certain medications like aspirin and blood thinners may need to be paused before the procedure. In some cases, blood work is done ahead of time to ensure that the client is in good health for anesthesia. You will be given a list of directions for your actual day of surgery.

7. What happens during the procedure? How is it performed?

Liposuction is a surgical procedure that involves making small incisions in the skin and inserting a tool called a cannula into the fat pocket. The ultrasonic energy pulses to gently break apart the fat cells with minimal side effects to adjacent tissue. The VASER® is not a laser, in fact VASER stands for Vibration Amplification of Sound Energy at Resonance. The ultrasonic energy is transmitted to the fat cells by small probes and the fat cells are “shaken” apart and then mixed with fluid, which is infiltrated by the surgeon at the onset of the operation. Then, small cannulas are used to suction and remove this fat/water mixture.  This cannula is attached to a suction device to extract the fat.  The energy introduced also causes a tightening effect in the skin. This is typically an outpatient surgery, so patients are allowed to go home the same day as the surgery.

8. What is the recovery like?

In most procedures, the patient can return to work in a few days and resume all normal activities, like exercise, within 2-4 weeks or less, though recovery and postsurgical care varies depending on the area treated and the amount of fat removed.

Following instructions is the best way to have a recovery that is short and as painless as possible. Some discomfort may be felt. However, lifestyle choices like rest, hydration and not smoking will make healing time faster and complications fewer. The most common postsurgical effects can include some swelling, bruising and tenderness in the area of the procedure. The surgical team will offer some options on pain relief after surgery as well as a list of pain relievers to avoid.

Common postsurgical instructions also include wearing compression garments in the areas that were treated. Modified activities may be recommended for a few weeks afterward to reduce strain on the target areas.

9. What sort of scarring is expected after the procedure?

The cannula is a small instrument, and because of this, the scars are small as well. The number of scars is based on the number of insertion points needed to address the area. Scarring also varies depending on the patient’s skin quality. The doctor will discuss location and the ways in which they can minimize the appearance of scarring.

10. What kind of results should a patient expect after the procedure?

Dr. Hajjar and Dr. Lumley can help you anticipate and visualize realistic results. Immediately after surgery, there will be some swelling and the skin may be loose. Because of this it can take 6 weeks to a few months to see the full extent of the results of the procedure.

The fat cells removed during liposuction are permanently removed. It is important to note, however, that patients can still fill their remaining fat cells, so following a healthy diet, lifestyle and exercise plan after treatment can help prevent new fat gain.

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