Liposuction is a fat removal procedure that provides a slimmer, more defined body contour by ridding the body of stubborn fat bulges that don’t disappear despite proper diet and regular exercise. If you are a man or woman with extra weight on your stomach, thighs, hips, back or another area on your body, this body contouring procedure may be just right for you. Not only does the procedure remove excess fat, it also removes the fat cells in the area, meaning that any weight gained afterwards will not return as a fat pocket, but will instead be more evenly distributed around the body. The body sculpting effects of liposuction are therefore permanent. Patients considering liposuction have a variety of techniques to choose from, some of which are less invasive and offer a shorter recovery time than others.
Would you like to know your liposuction options, whether the procedure is right for you and where you can find the best plastic surgeons that perform liposuction body contouring in your area? Read on to find the answers.
Is Liposuction Right for You?
If you are within a healthy weight range for your build, but wish to smooth out fat bulges and rolls for a slimmer physique, you might benefit from liposuction. A person is generally considered a good candidate for liposuction if they:
- Are healthy and have no serious medical conditions
- Have unwanted fat on their stomach, back, thighs, hips or another area
- Are within 20 percent of a healthy weight for their build
- Have maintained a stable weight for several months
- Have firm, elastic skin (not loose or hanging)
- Are not currently pregnant or breastfeeding
- Are not looking at liposuction as weight loss surgery
- Are looking at liposuction to supplement (not replace) healthy lifestyle habits
Types of Liposuction
Traditional liposuction is a procedure that uses a small, hollow tube called a cannula to suction fat from a small incision or incisions in the treatment area.
Tumescent liposuction is a similar procedure to traditional liposuction, with the exception that tumescent liposuction involves anesthetic fluid injected into the treatment area in order to numb it and cause the area to swell, allowing an easier and more precise fat removal to occur. This type of liposuction also results in less bleeding during and after treatment.
Power-assisted liposuction (PAL)
Power-assisted liposuction (PAL) is the same procedure as traditional liposuction, with the exception that the cannula used to break up and remove fat is mechanically powered, allowing the surgeon to perform more precise body contouring that leaves the area smooth and without lumps under the skin.
Ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL)
Ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL) uses ultrasound waves administered through a handheld device to melt fat, which is then removed by suction using a cannula. This type of liposuction allows for a larger volume of fat to be removed than other techniques.
Laser-assisted liposuction (LAL)
Laser-assisted liposuction (LAL) is one of the latest liposuction techniques, and uses laser energy that is focused onto the treatment area via a thin laser fiber inserted into the incision site. This laser fiber administers bursts of laser energy which break up and liquefy fat, after which it is removed with a cannula.
More about the Liposuction Procedure
Liposuction is an outpatient procedure that can take anywhere from one to several hours, and will largely depend on the type of liposuction being performed, the area (or areas) being treated and the amount of fat being removed. The surgeon will create one or more small incisions around the treatment area, and will place the ultrasound or laser probe (for UAL or LAL liposuction) through these sites, in order to break up the fat and (for all liposuction techniques) suction the fat out using a cannula. Once the desired amount of fat is removed, the incisions are closed with sutures.
Planning for Your Liposuction Recovery
After a liposuction procedure, the treatment area will be swollen and there may also be some bruising present. Your surgeon will place you either in a compression garment or bandages in order to help reduce swelling and protect the area while it heals. He or she may also place drainage tubes in the area for the first few days, for the purpose of removing excess fluids. If you experience discomfort, you can use pain medication prescribed by your doctor during this time. Walking and other gentle exercises are encouraged as early as the day after surgery, as this promotes circulation and helps with swelling. Typically, patients can drive and perform other daily tasks a week after surgery. They can also return to work at this time. Light exercise can be resumed after two weeks. For more detailed post-operative instructions that take into account your individual needs and rate of healing, talk to your surgeon.
Your Liposuction Results
You will see the majority of your results from your liposuction procedure within the first three months of your surgery. And since liposuction destroys and removes fat cells (along with fat) from the treatment area, they are no longer available to store fat. The result is that the fat pockets removed through liposuction can never return as “problem areas.” Any subsequent weight gain will be more evenly distributed throughout your body. To maintain ideal results, keep your weight stable and stick to a healthy eating and exercise regimen.
What to Look for in a Plastic Surgeon
Since the liposuction procedure is a surgery that requires careful attention to detail as well as safe surgical practices, it is important to find a plastic surgeon that provides this level of care. In the Leading Medical Clinics of the World® network of plastic surgeons, all of them are:
- Well-respected by peers
- Positively reviewed by patients
- Ranked as a top medical practitioner in their field
- In good standing with their medical board(s)
- Operating from a clinic that upholds the highest level of healthcare standards
- Am I a good candidate for liposuction?
- Which type of liposuction procedures do you perform?
- How many liposuction procedures have you performed?
- What are the risks and complications associated with each liposuction procedure?
- How much time will I have to take off of work for recovery?
- What types of limitations (driving, exercising, etc.) will I have after surgery?
- Can you provide me with any more information (whether print or digital) to help me better understand the procedure?
- Will my results be permanent?
- What kind of scarring can I expect?
- Do you offer evening or weekend appointments?
- What do you charge for liposuction?
- What financing options are available to me as your patient?
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