|The Essential Facts*|
|Length of Procedure|
|General anaesthetic or light sedation (twilight anaesthesia) and local anaesthesia|
|Day case or 1 night stay|
|Time off work|
|Getting back to normal/sport|
|2+ weeks (Full recovery from swelling and bruising may take one to six months depending upon the amount of fat removed and the areas treated)|
Liposuction is the number one cosmetic procedure in the world. More than 500,000 liposuctions were performed in 2007 in the USA alone. Although diet, exercise and flattering clothing style help many look better, others remain dissatisfied because of stubborn, unsightly bulges. In women, those fat deposits occur most frequently from the waist down, on hips, buttocks and outer thighs (saddlebags). Fat deposits on men tend to accumulate above the waist, on the abdomen and sides of the waist (love handles) or around the breasts.
Liposuction surgery involves the removal of fat cells from the body, and may be used alone or in conjunction with other procedures, such as facelift or “Tummy tuck.” It is designed for those who have specific areas of localized fat deposits and who have tried unsuccessfully to eliminate them through diet, exercise and weight loss.
There are two kinds of liposuction procedures:
- Liposculpture: a procedure designed for sculpting a person who has a normal or slightly overweight person. They have distinct areas of localized fat that are disproportionate to the rest of their bodies. The procedure can be done with local anesthesia with or without sedation and is limited to removing 1-3 liters of fat.Recovery is quick and the person is expected to resume work next day. However a garment must be used for two weeks for best results. Technically this procedure is very challenging because the patient expects perfect results. It is far better to take out slightly less than what is needed than more since taking more can result in a depression that is hard to correct. The rule of “less is more” in esthetic surgery applies.A touch up session can easily be performed several months down the road if needed where the surgeon may take a little bit more fat.
The patient must have realistic expectations and must continue to watch his or her weight.
- De-bulking liposuction surgery: Here the aim is to improve the shape of an overweight person. The procedure is frequently done using spinal anesthesia with or without sedation. A maximum of 5-8 liters should be taken at any given session using a tumescent technique whereby at least an equal amount of fluids are injected in the areas to be suctioned to minimize bleeding, bruising and post operative pain.
Cosmetically speaking, successful liposuction is measured in centimeters rather than kilos. The weight removed is not as important as the improvement in your body contour. Most important is our patient’s improved self-image and self-acceptance and can be a stimulus to get back in shape, exercise and lose more weight.
Can I get rid of my wrinkles by re-injecting the fat removed from my body?
Absolutely. We can re-inject the fat to treat the wrinkles on your face or enlarge your lips (Lip Augmentation). This is a simple procedure that may save you from having more invasive surgery such as facelifts.
The fat can be stored in a freezer to be used when you need it.
What areas can be treated by liposuction?
The most frequent areas treated by liposuction in men are the “love handles”, breasts, abdomen and neckline. In women they include: thighs, hips, buttocks, stomach, knees, lower leg, cheeks, and double chins.
Can liposuction tighten up a loose neck?
If there is excess fat in the area under the chin and the skin is taught, liposuction alone can produce a more sculpted, angular, and youthful jaw line. If, however, the skin of the neck is loose, hanging, or creepy, even if there is excess fat, liposuction alone will not produce the desired result. Patients with loose skin usually require a face and neck-lift in addition to or instead of liposuction. In general, most patients who benefit from liposuction of the neck are under 45. Most patients over 45 will require some surgical skin tightening. We have now at our CosmeSurge® Centers the Acculift smart laser that can be used during the liposuction to simultaneously tighten the skin.
How about liposuction of the abdomen?
Liposuction of the abdomen can remove the fat under the skin, but some of the abdominal protrusion may be due to fat accumulating around the intestines and liver and is not amenable to liposuction. This fat can only be reduced with diet and exercise or gastric banding. This is especially true in men.
Do I need a Tummy Tuck?
If your skin is slightly loose, it may contract after liposuction especially if the Acculift smart laser is used around the belly button. However, when you have excessive skin such as after multiple pregnancies or after losing a lot of weight then a tummy tuck is the only solution which would require a long scar that usually become very thin after 6-12 months. At CosmeSurge®, we have performed thousands of combined tummy tuck and liposuction procedures safely using a special technique to minimize risks and achieve satisfactory results for our patients. Thank God, we have done at the CosmeSurge® centers thousands of tummy tucks over the last ten years and we never had a single death or an admission to intensive care. For more info on tummy tucks please click here.
Liposuction of the thighs.
External thighs are frequently the sight for accumulation of disproportionate amount of fat especially in women creating the so called cul de cheval or saddle bag appearance. This area is by far the most frequent area for liposuction in women and can give patients great improvement. The anterior thigh must be approached with extreme care as irregularities can easily develop when using aggressive suction especially if large cannulas are use.
Internal thighs can also improve with suction but the skin there is very thin and fine cannulas must be used to prevent waviness. It takes longer time to complete liposuction using fine cannulas but the results are better. When internal knees are suctioned the legs appear longer.
Liposuction of the legs.
This area is done only when absolutely there is a need to remove fat from it as recovery is long with edema or swelling lasting for several moth requiring prolonged wear of a garment.
Liposuction of the banana fold under the buttock. This area should be approached with care so as not to undermine the support of the buttocks which can result in a saggy buttock.
Liposuction of the arms.
Liposuction can be of great benefit for women with bulky arms and may also improve to some extent the saggy skin there provided the patient is less than forty year old and is not a smoker. Otherwise sagginess may not improve. The addition of the Acculift smart laser to assist in liposuction greatly improves the tightening effects.
During your consultation, you and your cosmetic doctor will discuss the areas of your body you’d like to change. You may undergo an examination to thoroughly assess your fat storage, skin elasticity, and review your medical and health history. Your doctor can discuss the placement of incisions and what other procedures may need to be performed to achieve the proper result.
Although you’ll be mobile immediately following your liposuction surgery, you will want to arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery, and to help out around the house for a day or so.
Ideally your weight should have been steady or declining over the previous six months. If you are in the middle of gaining weight, chances are that you need to enroll in a weight reduction program or risk gaining weight after the liposuction, thereby not benefiting from the surgery.
The Surgery- How it is done
Liposuction begins as your doctor makes small incisions, approximately one half centimeter in length or less, near the area where fat is to be removed. The incisions are frequently hidden in the groin or belly button when possible. A thin, hollow tube, called a cannula, is inserted and is attached to a machine or syringe that creates a strong vacuum. Your doctor will then strategically manipulate the cannula under the skin to remove the unwanted fatty deposits.
After Your Surgery
LiposuctionMost patients are mobile immediately after liposuction, although an extra day or two of bed rest may be needed when large amounts of fat are removed (De-bulking). Keep in mind that healing is a gradual process.
Your doctor will want you to begin normal activity as soon as possible to reduce post-operative complications, but in some cases you may be advised to avoid strenuous activity for a few weeks. Light exercise is usually permitted within a few days. The dressing is usually removed in two days.
You may not feel great just after your surgery. You’ve been given extra fluids during the procedure, and you’ll likely experience swelling and some bruising, but this is only temporary. You may feel a little bruised and sore as if you’d over-exercised that part of the body, but you should be able to resume work in a few days. It is important to limit empty calories such as juices and fizzy drinks in favor of tuna and fish and other sources of protein which promotes healing and give you the energy that otherwise you feel was sucked out of body in the first week after surgery.
Remember that liposuction is a surgical procedure, and your body has to heal before you see the full benefits. Your results will likely be visible within two or three weeks, but the full effect may not be fully evident for six months to a year after surgery in some cases.
You should maintain a balanced diet and exercise regularly to fully enjoy the new you for years to come. Many patients find that their liposuction is such a psychological boost that it gives them the incentive to exercise even more than before to improve other parts of their physique.
Is the fat removal permanent?
Yes! It seems that after puberty we do not create new fat cells. When you gain weight, you expand the fat cells that you have. Tumescent liposuction permanently removes fat cells to improve your body’s contour.
Will there be bandages?
There are no bandages. Special compression garments are worn day and night under clothing for one week. During the following two weeks the garment is worn only during the day time.
What will happen to the excess skin?
Skin is a dynamic organ which has elasticity and in most cases is able to shrink and re-accommodate to the new body contour. Dimples, ripples and stretch marks may remain unchanged following liposuction. Your new figure will be similar to what you would expect if you could lose an equal amount of localized fat through diet and exercise alone. However, if you are a good candidate for teh Acculift laser assisted liposuction then you may benefit from additional skin tightenning.
When will I notice the results?
Patients usually notice clothes fitting much better between 1-3 weeks. Within 1-3 months, clothing sizes usually decrease and patients feel much better in clothing they had previously avoided such as pants, skirts, leggings, pleated trousers and sleeveless shirts. However, improvement continues for up to six months.
Will I lose weight?
Weight loss may be minimal because fat weighs very little. The difference will be seen primarily in the way your clothes fit you. You will lose inches and look slimmer. As I said earlier results are measured in centimeters and not in kilograms. In general, body weight may remain the same if diet and exercise levels remain unchanged. This is not an answer to weight problems.
Will I need a second procedure?
Most likely one procedure will be sufficient. However, some patients require a fine tuning or touch up procedure at a future date.
Will liposuction get rid of cellulite?
Liposuction is not a treatment for cellulite, although many patients do notice an improvement in the appearance of cellulite after the fat cells are removed.
Depending on the type of anesthesia you may feel pressure, movement or an occasional stinging sensation during the procedure, but not actual pain.
Your doctor will determine the amount of fat to remove by feeling and pinching the skin throughout the surgery.
Can I get pregnant after liposuction?
You can get pregnant immediately after liposuction without any problem, on the other hand if you get a tummy tuck you should wait a year before getting pregnant.
Is this a dangerous procedure?
Liposuction is the most popular cosmetic procedure in the world. Like all surgery, any cosmetic surgery involves some level of risk. However, with the new tumescent technique, the respected New England Journal of Medicine reported a series of 32,000 cases done without a single death or a serious complication. Minor problems may occur infrequently such as temporary swelling, irregularities and temporary numbness.
To help ensure a successful outcome, the patient should be a good candidate, the doctor should be well trained in liposuction techniques, the surgical facility should be properly equipped and the patient should follow the doctor’s instructions and advice.
Can I use mesotherapy (Lipo-dissolve) as an alternative to liposuction?
The allure of shedding unwanted pockets of fat with a series of simple injections, known as mesotherapy or lipo-dissolve, sounds too good to be true – and it just might be. According to an ASPS Device & Technique Assessment (DATA) Committee report published in the April, 2005 issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), patients should be wary of mesotherapy until the safety and effectiveness of the procedure are confirmed. The promise of a non-surgical, permanent method for fat removal and body contouring is obviously very appealing, but mesotherapy is not proven to be the miracle cure to a thinner you. The problem with mesotherapy is the whole technique is shrouded in mystery. Liposuction remains the only proven method to safely and permanently remove fat.
Touted as a non-surgical alternative to liposuction, mesotherapy involves injecting medications and plant extracts into layers of fat and connective tissue under the skin. The injected ingredients may include agents that are used to open blood vessels, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, enzymes, nutrients, antibiotics and hormones. Mesotherapy may be used in conjunction with dietary modification, hormone replacement therapy, exercise and nutritional supplements. No drug is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in mesotherapy.
Although the practice of mesotherapy has been around for decades in Europe, it has only recently been introduced in the United States. There are no published scientific studies demonstrating if the effects are permanent, why or if certain ingredients work, or how safe mesotherapy is for patients. In addition, there is no standardization in mesotherapy. The types of drugs used vary from physician to physician as does the quantity and frequency of injections. We have been offering mesotherapy at CosmeSurge® for the last six years. The best results are seen on very small areas and are acheived in about 40% of patients.
Mesotherapy may cost $500 per treatment with three to six treatments required. This can prove costly for patients who may not receive the desired results.
Currently, liposuction is the only method that has been proven to safely and effectively remove fat. According to USA statistics, liposuction was the most popular cosmetic surgical procedure in 2007, with more than 500,000 procedures performed.