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Liposuction / Suction-Assisted Lipectomy

Liposuction / Suction-Assisted Lipectomy

Liposuction, also known as suction-assisted lipectomy, is a procedure that removes persistent deposits of body fat.  By selectively removing areas of fat that don’t go away after diet and exercise, your provider can slim down certain areas and improve your body shape.  Although liposuction can be performed almost anywhere on a person’s body, the procedure is not intended for overall weight loss.

Many other cosmetic procedures will involve liposuction.  For example, breast reduction, abdominoplasty, neck contouring, and arm lift surgery typically utilize some form of liposuction.

Are You a Candidate for Liposuction?

Good candidates for liposuction are healthy and have a stable body weight; they just need a little “extra help” to reduce fat in problematic areas.  Obese patients are not good candidates as they have an increased risk for complications and generally realize unsatisfactory aesthetic results.

You may be a good candidate for liposuction if you meet the following criteria:

  • Bothered by persistent areas of body fat
  • Good or adequate skin elasticity
  • In good health and physical condition
  • Stable body weight
  • Realistic expectations and able to understand surgery risks

To determine if you are a good candidate, your provider can evaluate your goals and answer your questions during a consultation.  To achieve satisfactory results with liposuction, patients need to have a certain level of quality in their skin tone.  Liposuction removes fat but does nothing to address loose skin.  If your skin tone is good, it will contract after surgery and exhibit a smooth contour.

How Liposuction Removes Body Fat

Tumescent liposuction is currently the gold standard for plastic surgeons performing liposuction.   There are many variations involving lasers, ultrasound and water-assisted methods, but the operator is always the most important factor for achieving great results.

During liposuction, your provider saturates the areas of body fat with a tumescent fluid, which contains lidocaine anesthetic for improved comfort.  Through small incisions, the doctor inserts a small tube (cannula) to vacuum out the targeted fat.  This process can be applied to the abdomen, buttocks, thighs, arms, chest, neck, back and elsewhere.

What Happens After Liposuction

Recovery time with liposuction varies. Small or moderate fat removal procedures will require a shorter recovery time than a large volume procedure.  Ask your provider for specific details about your liposuction recovery time.

After surgery, you will be discharged with special post-operative instructions.  A small drainage tube may be placed to remove fluid that accumulates after liposuction.  An elastic compression garment may also be worn to minimize post-operative swelling and promote optimal skin contraction.  To control discomfort, your provider can prescribe a pain medication.  Some numbness, swelling and changes in skin sensation commonly occur with patients recovering from liposuction.

After healing is complete and swelling subsides, the areas treated will be slimmer and fat will not return to these areas.  To further improve your liposuction results, we recommend that you maintain a healthy lifestyle with proper nutrition and regular exercise.

Possible Side Effects or Complications

The risk of complications is thought to increase with large volume liposuction procedures, so there is a limit to the amount of fat that can be safely removed.  Risks include infection, lidocaine toxicity, poor aesthetic results, delayed healing, clots, excessive fluid loss, trauma to surrounding tissues and unfavorable reactions to anesthesia.  Ask your provider for more information if you are concerned about risks involved with liposuction.

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