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Everything You Need To Know About Liposuction


What Is Liposuction?

Liposuction is a form of plastic surgery that removes excess fat from specific body areas that store more fat cells yet can’t be successfully targeted with diet and exercise alone. 

Patients seek liposuction to slim down the areas that concern them and achieve a more proportional body frame.

People turn to liposuction to target and contour areas where they haven’t been able to spot and reduce fat, including:

  • Abdomen and waist as a whole
  • Hips
  • Thighs
  • Buttocks
  • Back
  • Calves
  • Arms
  • Neck, chin, and face
  • Around the inside of the knee
  • Chest 

What is achievable through liposuction, after all? How much weight can you lose with liposuction? Liposuction can sculpt the body and enhance your natural body shape, not shed pounds. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, liposuction can treat localized fat deposits in the areas mentioned but is not a solution for weight loss and should not be used to substitute diet and exercise.

Through tiny, unnoticeable incisions, liposuction uses a thin hollow tube, known as a cannula, to displace excess fat using a precise back-and-forth motion. The fat is then suctioned out of the body using either a syringe attached to the cannula or a surgical vacuum.

There are a variety of different techniques when using liposuction. The type of technique used depends on your surgeon’s preference and the extent and area of your concerns.

As mentioned above, traditional liposuction uses a cannula to break up fat beneath the skin before using a vacuum to remove the destroyed fat cells.

Power-assisted liposuction is a suitable technique if your surgeon prefers beaking stubborn fat into smaller pieces, as this uses a vibrating cannula that shreds the fat in a way that makes it easier to remove.

With ultrasound-assisted liposuction, ultrasonic vibrations deliver high energy amounts to stubborn fat to help dissolve it. VASER liposuction is the most popular, powerful, and cutting-edge form of ultrasound-assisted lipo.

Laser-assisted liposuction uses the energy of a laser to dissolve fat cells.

Water-assisted liposuction is also an option for breaking up fat cells and uses a high-pressure stream of saline,

You may be wondering, is liposuction safe and combinable? Liposuction can safely be performed alone or with other cosmetic procedures for more comprehensive results. For example, abdominal liposuction is often part of a mommy makeover, and combining chin/neck liposuction with a facelift is popular.

You should start to notice your slimmer body contour as the initial swelling and bruising gradually subside.

Liposuction costs vary depending on your surgeon’s experience, the geographic location of their office, and the areas you’re having treated. It is not covered by insurance as it is an elective cosmetic procedure.

Am I A Good Candidate For Liposuction?

Perfect liposuction candidates are within 20-30 pounds of their ideal weight and have firm, elastic skin and good muscle tone. If the aging process or weight loss has left your skin soft, weak and thin, removing the fat beneath may mean your skin will not reshape well. In this case, we recommend combining your liposuction with skin removal surgeries.

Liposuction patients should be in good overall health with no underlying medical conditions or illnesses and non-smokers. 

The people who achieve the best results with liposuction are at a reasonable weight, are active, and follow a well-balanced diet but have some extra fat in stubborn pockets. As Mayo Clinic says, the best candidates for liposuction naturally carry a lot of fat in specific body areas but are otherwise at a stable, healthy body weight.

If you often find yourself experiencing substantial weight fluctuations, you may not be an ideal candidate for lipo.

What Are The Benefits Of Liposuction?

What is liposuction’s charm, you may ask? Liposuction results can be dramatic and long-lasting if you maintain a stable weight postoperatively. 

Benefits of liposuction include:

  • Permanent fat removal from stubborn areas that don’t respond to diet or exercise
  • Boosts confidence
  • Can motivate you to lead a healthier lifestyle long-term
  • Proven to be a safe and effective solution for spot-reducing fat
  • Improves your overall body shape and proportions
  • Leaves virtually invisible scars

What Are The Risks?

As with any cosmetic procedure, liposuction does include some risks to be aware of. You will receive details of these before your surgery. Most are rare or easily treatable in the hands of an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon, but it is advisable to know what to look out for just in case.

The usual side effects of liposuction, like swelling and bruising, usually fade on their own, but if they persist and appear severe, you should let your surgeon know.

Other possible risks associated with lipo include:

  • Problems with anesthesia 
  • Broken cannula
  • Persisting numbness or sensation changes
  • Hematoma (fluid accumulation)
  • Irregular contours
  • Irregular pigmentation
  • Asymmetries
  • Infection
  • Thermal burn or heat injury when using specific techniques
  • Rippling of thin skin or worsening of excess skin
  • Damage to underlying structures

What Is Liposuction Recovery Like?

Following your liposuction procedure, your surgical team may apply dressings or bandages to cover the incisions. Depending on the treated area, we typically ask patients to wear an elastic bandage, a supportive bra, or a compression garment during liposuction recovery time. This action can help reduce swelling and provide necessary support while healing.

You’ll receive detailed instructions on correctly monitoring and caring for your drains if your surgeon decides to use these following liposuction surgery, which helps to prevent fluid accumulation.

Be prepared to closely follow the detailed instructions given to you by your surgical team, as these are vital for supporting your body as it heals. These include information about medications, incision care,  the time to follow up with your doctor, and signs to look for both specific to your liposuction site and your overall health.

It’s normal to have some swelling for several months, but this will gradually diminish, revealing your new body contours and improved self-confidence.

Within the first week of recovery, you’ll need plenty of rest and limit physical activity while closely monitoring pain, swelling, and bruising. By weeks two and three, you’ll already start to feel significantly better and should be able to return to work, but you’ll need to continue limiting exercise more strenuous than light walks.

Typically, by week six, liposuction patients can gradually get back into usual activities like the gym.

How Long Do Lipo Results Last?

Provided you follow a balanced diet and an exercise routine that works for you to avoid weight fluctuations, your liposuction results should be permanent. 

In the areas where fat removal occurs during liposuction, your body can’t grow new fat, but be aware that substantial weight gain can still harm your results. Extra calories will cause other areas of your body not targeted during your body contouring surgery to store more fat cells, so try to maintain a healthy lifestyle postoperative to maximize your results.

It’s usual with age for the body to loosen up and lose its firmness, even after liposuction. If the natural aging process leaves you with sagging, you may eventually consider an additional body contouring procedure after lipo.

Are you in Dallas and considering liposuction to sculpt your body and enhance your curves? Request a consultation with Dr. David Liland, a board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in body contouring.