Even men and women who follow healthy lifestyles by exercising regularly and maintaining well-balanced diets may still experience problems with stubborn fat deposits that are resistant to diet and exercise. Other than the liposuction procedure, there is little anyone can do to impact these deposits. Liposuction is not intended to be used as a weight reduction solution for obesity or a cure for cellulite. However, liposuction is an excellent tool for sculpting, reshaping or slimming troubled areas to reduce resistant fat deposits and reshape and contour the body.
What is Liposuction?
Men and women deposit fat in specific areas of the body that may become resistant to healthy diet and regular exercise. Liposuction removes these localized collections of fat from various sites of the body, including the abdomen, hips, thighs, back and neck. Liposuction procedures thin the fat layer by removing a portion of the fat from specific areas of the body that are disproportionately thick or large. Areas of liposuction include the abdomen and waist, hips and buttocks, thighs, arms, back, knees, neck, calves and ankles. Hips and thighs are a common area of concern for women, while the abdomen and “love handles” are most commonly treated in men.
When suctioning the fat, the overlying skin is expected to tighten down over the area that has lost the excess fat. When the skin has good collagen, this is expected to happen. However, if the skin is thin and has stretch marks, it is not likely to tighten down well. For example, women who have had pregnancies and have significant stretch marks and loose skin of the abdomen will not do well with liposuction of the abdomen. A tummy tuck may be the better option. Dr. Parva will evaluate your skin quality, as well as the localized fat deposits, and discuss realistic results with you.
Who is a Good Candidate?
- Women or men with disproportionate fat deposits and relatively good skin quality and elasticity
- Desiring reshaping, not weight loss
- Someone near their ideal body weight with localized fat deposits that are resistant to diet and exercise
- Maintaining stable weight
- Healthy individual
- Realistic goals and expectations
“Thank you for giving me a painless surgery. You guys are great! You were all very helpful to me while my nerves were racked. Thank you for making me feel comfortable thru every step.”
The Liposuction Procedure:
Before surgery, Dr. Parva, board certified plastic surgeon, will make appropriate markings on the skin in the pre-operative holding area. Small incisions are placed in discrete areas as access points. In any liposuction technique, saline fluid with various amounts of Lidocaine (for local anesthetic effect) and Epinephrine (for local vasoconstriction to decrease blood loss) are used to infiltrate the treatment area prior to fat removal. Tumescent technique refers to the use of a specific amount of fluid that gives a very full, tight appearance to the infused area. Much of this fluid is removed with the fat and the remainder is absorbed and eliminated by the body. Small cannulas are then placed through the incision ports to suction the fat in a controlled manner to thin the fat layer evenly. Once the areas have been suctioned and contoured, the procedure is complete. A pressure garment is placed in the operating room. Keep in mind that skin quality is a critical factor in predicting the final results. Skin with good tone and elasticity will “re-drape” evenly over the area where fat has been removed. However, skin that has significantly thinned and stretched may “hang” from the body, giving an undesirable result. A skin tightening procedure (abdominoplasty, thigh lift, etc.) may be recommended.
Significant advances have been made in liposuction and have resulted in increased safety, more precise results and quicker recovery. Ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty (UAL) is a state-of-the-art technique using ultrasound waves to liquefy the fat prior to its removal. Although UAL does not replace the standard liposuction techniques, it can be a more effective tool in removing fat from more fibrous areas of the body, such as the male breasts, back or upper abdomen. Revisionary liposuction would also benefit from UAL. Power-assisted lipoplasty (PAL) and Laser-assisted lipoplasty (such as SmartLipo) are other techniques now available to patients.
Recovery and Healing:
- Initial healing takes 5 to 10 days
- Generally, recovery time is less than one week and return to work within several days.
- Avoid friction across the areas of liposuction for 2 weeks
- Recommended to avoid heavy lifting for 2 weeks
Noticeable results are seen immediately but it will take several months for swelling to settle and for the long term results to be evident.
A healthy diet and regular exercise will maintain results as the contour changes are long term.
Specific risks and long term effects may include uneven contours, rippling or loose skin, asymmetries, change in skin sensation and possible revision surgery.