Liposuction surgery sculpts your body, eliminating unwanted pockets of exercise and diet-resistant fat from the buttocks, hips, love handles, saddlebags, thighs, calves, ankles, breasts (including male breasts), back, arms and neck. Liposuction is often combined with other procedures to create a desired shape and is one of the safest and most popular cosmetic procedures.
You have a minimal amount of excess skin and good skin elasticity. Loss of skin elasticity with age can compromise liposuction results, but if your skin maintains elasticity, age alone is not a contraindication for liposuction surgery.
You have localized deposits of fat in your abdomen, arms, thighs and/or neck, which may be the result of heredity and do not disappear with exercise and diet.
You are physically fit, no more than 20 pounds overweight, and your weight is stable. If you are planning to lose a significant amount of weight or even gain weight (for example, due to pregnancy), this is not the time to undergo liposuction.
Keep in mind that liposuction does not remove cellulite and cannot tighten loose skin. Your surgeon will be able to recommend other procedures to improve those conditions.
If you are in good general health and have a positive attitude and realistic expectations, you are most likely a good candidate for this procedure.
How is a liposuction procedure performed?
Liposuction removes fat from your body using suction. In this procedure, small, thin, blunt-tipped tubes (cannula) are inserted through small cuts in the skin. Your plastic surgeon moves these tubes under your skin to target fat deposits and then suction them out. There are a variety of techniques that facilitate liposuction:
Tumescent liposuction describes a “wetting solution” with a local anesthetic, such as lidocaine and another medication in IV fluids, which is injected before surgery, causing blood vessels to shrink down or constrict. This allows liposuction to be performed with the patient under local anesthesia, minimizes blood loss and reduces postsurgical pain and bleeding.
Suction-assisted liposuction (SAL), the most traditional form of liposuction, draws fat out with a vacuum.
Power-assisted liposuction (PAL) is traditional SAL with the addition of a tool to increase the motion of the cannula, which speeds up fat removal.
Ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL) transmits energy through a special hand piece that helps to loosen and melt fat, enabling a greater volume of fat to be removed. This is best for larger areas, dense fat and male patients.
VASER, a variation of UAL, is an ultrasonic cannula with several grooves that evenly disperse the energy, improving fat disruption and removal.
Laser-assisted liposuction (LAL), such as Smartlipo and Slimlipo, is a relatively new technology. The theory is that the laser will work like ultrasound to disrupt the fat cells and make fat removal more efficient and less traumatic.
SAFELipo is a procedure that has been developed by an Aesthetic Society member that involves a 3-step process of separation, aspiration and fat equalization.
Separation – loosens, emulsifies and separates out the unwanted fat cells without generating heat, so essential blood vessels, skin and other tissues are unharmed
Aspiration – fat cells are gently removed through suction, without damaging supporting structures such as nerves, blood vessels, skin
Fat Equalization – smooths out the remaining thin fat layer, leaving behind a uniform layer of ‘local fat grafts’ that prevents contour deformities from forming
Originally developed to address the challenges of revision liposuction cases, the process removes a significant amount of fat without increasing chances of contour deformities or skin damage.
A.The surgeon will diagram treatment areas like the hips, abdomen, thighs and flanks.
B.A cannula is inserted through a small incision and fat carried away with suction.
C.Liposuction helps eliminate unsightly bulges by removing localized fat deposits.
D.It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle with diet and exercise to prolong results.
What are my options?
There are many techniques and new technologies associated with liposuction, as mentioned above under How is liposuction performed?
Some are traditional, such as suction-assisted liposuction (SAL), and others are relatively new. It is important to know that while some new technologies can improve your outcome, choosing a procedure based on “what’s new” is never a medically sound decision. Hearing about a brand name procedure such as Smartlipo or CoolLipo on television, through an advertisement or online does not necessarily mean it is the best procedure for you. Your board-certified plastic surgeon will determine what is best for you based on his or her experience, your body type and your cosmetic goals.
What will my liposuction incisions and scars be like?
Because liposuction incisions are small, the scars are also small.
The amount or degree of scarring depends on the surgeon’s technique and your genetic tendencies.
Most liposuction scars fade and are barely perceptible over time. Visible scars are more likely when large liposuction cannulas are used and in patients who have darkly pigmented skin.
There are two types of marks that can remain on the skin after liposuction. One is a true scar and the other is known as dyschromia, which is a dark (hyperpigmented) or light (hypopigmented) spot on the skin.
Generally, the incisions are very small and placed in hidden areas. Sometimes, depending on the area, the incisions cannot be hidden.