Liposuction is most commonly recommended for men and women of normal weight who want to improve their body contour. The procedure can produce excellent results for people who have deposits of excess fat that make certain body areas appear disproportionately large. Liposuction can be used to slim the abdomen, hips, legs, face, neck, and arms.
Although liposuction is not a treatment for obesity, it can permanently alter body proportion and is sometimes the only way to eliminate fat deposits that do not respond to diet and exercise. People of almost any age may undergo liposuction; however, patients with good skin elasticity will achieve the smoothest contour after fat is removed.
A personal consultation is the first step for every patient considering liposuction. During this meeting, we will assess your physical and emotional health and discuss your specific cosmetic goals for the procedure. You will be asked to point out the exact areas where you would like to see improvement. The elasticity of your skin and the thickness of the underlying layer of fat in these areas will be assessed. If you are felt to be a good candidate for the procedure, the procedure and risks will be explained to you thoroughly and all of your questions answered. The doctor may also discuss options such as tummy tuck surgery or even a lower body lift with you at that time so that you are aware of all of your options.
To perform liposuction surgery, one or more small incisions are made near the area to be suctioned. We always try to place incisions within the natural folds or contour lines of the skin so that they are inconspicuous. We then place a slim, hollow tube called a cannula through the incision so that its tip penetrates the underlying fat. The cannula is connected by flexible tubing to a suction pump and is moved back and forth through the fat, which is then vacuumed into the tube. There are several variations of the technique that can be used. The technique that best meets your needs depends on a number of individual factors that we will discuss with you. We usually use a variation of the tumescent technique that uses infiltration of medications prior to the liposuction to decrease discomfort and bruising.
Soon after surgery you will see a noticeable difference in the shape of your body. Improvement will become even more apparent after a couple of months, when fluid retention and swelling has subsided. For most patients, the final result is evident after about three to six months. After your liposuction surgery, you will notice that clothes fit better and you feel more confident about your appearance. As long as you maintain your postoperative weight, your slimmer contour will be permanent. Many patients who gain a few pounds after surgery find that the weight distributes itself more evenly and does not bulge in the same problem areas once you have had them suctioned.
The “mini” abdominoplasty – This procedure may benefit you if you are primarily dissatisfied with the appearance of the abdominal area below the navel. A mini abdominoplasty requires only a short horizontal incision and no navel incision.
Day of Surgery
After your surgery you will spend 1-2 hours in the recovery room. A friend or family member will need to drive you home. There will be a mildly compressive garment over the liposuctioned areas to help reduce swelling. You will need someone to pamper you this first day, as you will be sore.
Day 1 (After Surgery)
We recommend you leave the garment on except for toileting. Try to walk a little but mainly just rest. It is not uncommon to notice a little drainage on the garment at the sites where the incisions were.
Days 2 – 7 (After Surgery)
Shower on day 2. The garment must be worn at all times except for showering and toileting. You will slowly feel better with discomfort gradually improving. You may gradually increase your activity. You will be asked to come to the office 5-7 days after your surgery for suture removal. Do not drive as long as you are taking pain pills.
After 1st Week
Pain and swelling continue to improve. Some people feel up to working, doing light activities after the 1st week. Continue to wear the garment unless you are in the shower, for a total of 4 weeks from the date of surgery. If your swelling is minimal some people do like to switch to snug fitting bike shorts or Spanx.
After 1st Month
You may resume activities. The garment can be left off. It may feel better wearing snug bike shorts for another month. You will be asked to come back to the office for another follow-up visit about 7-8 weeks from the date of your surgery.
After 2nd Month
After this visit, you will have no restrictions after 6 weeks. There will still be a small amount of swelling. It takes over 6 months for all of the swelling to go away.