Many people seek liposuction because they want to improve contour and remove fat from specific areas, such as hips, buttocks, thighs, neck, arms, chest, and abdomen. The best candidate for this procedure is a normal weight person with firm, elastic skin, physically healthy, and with realistic goals and expectations.
The liposuction procedure can typically take between thirty minutes to four hours depending on the technique performed and the amount of excess fat removed. Various types of anesthesia can be employed for liposuction including local tumescent anesthesia, conscious sedation anesthesia, and general anesthesia. Your surgeon will discuss which type of anesthesia will best be suited for your specific situation. The two surgical liposuction techniques most commonly used are:
This is an advanced form of traditional liposuction that has been performed in the United States since the 1970’s. First, your surgeon fills the predefined areas with tumescent fluid which also provides anesthesia (saline mixed with adrenaline and lidocaine). Next, the fat is suctioned out using long thin rods. This entire procedure is done through tiny incisions that are well hidden by the creases of your skin.
This technique is similar to the tumescent liposuction technique in the fact that predefined areas are filled with tumescent fluid, but then ultrasonic energy is used to liquefy the fat before being removed. This energy is delivered via a rod that emits ultrasonic waves. Your surgeon next inserts the small rod through a tiny incision and massages the fatty tissue before suctioning it out.There are differences in time, costs, scars, and other risks.
Your initial consultation is extremely important. Be prepared to provide your complete medical history and inform your surgeon of any vitamins and medications (including over-the-counter) that you are taking. Make sure to tell your surgeon if you smoke, have uncontrolled high blood pressure, allergies, blood clotting problems, or tendency to form excessive scars, because these problems can affect the outcome of your surgery. Liposuction carries greater risks if you have diabetes, heart or lung disease, or have recently had surgery in the area you want contoured.
Work: Most patients are back to work within five to ten days. If your job requires you to lift heavy objects, you may need to wait two to three weeks.
Swelling and bruising: Swelling can peak within three days and gradually disappear in three to six months. Don’t be alarmed if swelling settles in your knees, ankles, labia, or scrotum. This is normal. Begin walking around as soon as possible to help reduce swelling and prevent blood clots in your legs. Bruising may last two to ten days. Numbness may occur on areas contoured during surgery. Sensation generally returns over the next three months.
Showering: You may shower per your surgeon’s instructions.
Discomfort: The morning after surgery there is some discomfort. However, if you begin to be active and walk around, it should diminish significantly. If you do feel discomfort, take the pain medication prescribed by your surgeon. If discomfort persists, contact your surgeon immediately.
Recovery: For the next several days, there will be drainage from your incisions. This is mainly leftover tumescent fluid. A drainage tube may be inserted underneath the skin to prevent fluid build-up. If your surgeon sutured your incisions, stitches may be removed or dissolved within five to ten days. You may be asked to wear a compression garment for two to four weeks depending on your surgeon’s recommendation. The garment helps your skin fit its new contour. Strenuous activity should be avoided for four to six weeks.
Results: Each patient heals and scars differently. It is vital to keep in mind that the results of this procedure vary from patient to patient. However most patients will enjoy their final result within six to twelve months.