Liposuction, also known as lipoplasty, is a surgical procedure to remove stubborn excess fat deposits in various areas of the body. Popular sites for liposuction include the buttocks, abdomen, thighs, neck, and back. The procedure can be used as a stand-alone for treating a specific area, or it can be paired with complimentary procedures for more comprehensive change to your appearance.
There are some fat deposits on the body that prove to be resistant to diet and exercise. Even if you work out regularly and eat healthily, these spots never seem to slim down like you want them to. This is usually because your body has a genetic predisposition to hang onto the fat in these spots. For some people, it can be the love handles or the inner thighs. Others might have stubborn fat under the chin or on the undersides of the arms.
Liposuction will successfully remove these fat cells that refuse to shrink. It allows you to contour your body for a slimmer, more aesthetically pleasing line. It is a common and popular procedure- in 2011, it was the second most popular procedure for women (just after breast augmentation), and it was the single most popular procedure for men.
Since liposuction is done on areas that do not generally respond to exercise, even when you’ve tried, there’s no reason to look at it as an “easy way out.” A newly slimmed silhouette will actually be a more accurate reflection of the hard work you have put in to having a healthy, fit body.
There is no “right” age for a good liposuction candidate, but older patients whose skin has lost some elasticity might not have the tight results a younger patient will have. Liposuction is appropriate for both men and women.
A good candidate will not be overweight (or will be just slightly above average weight) and will not be a smoker. Liposuction patients must have realistic expectations of the results of the surgery. It is not a weight-loss method, and cannot be used to treat obesity. The patient should have diet-resistant areas of fat that are out of proportion with the rest of the body.
A good candidate for liposuction will also have firm skin. Patients with cellulite might not be good candidates because of the skin quality of the area.
During your initial consultation, the Board Certified Plastic Surgeon performing the liposuction will review your medical history. He will discuss your expectations and your desired results, and will evaluate the problem area. The surgeon might also take pictures of the area you want treated.
There will also be an evaluation of your skin elasticity, and possibly a discussion of your weight and exercise program.
Your surgeon will probably order some lab tests beforehand to make sure you are well enough to proceed with the surgery. You will need to stop smoking at least six weeks before and after the procedure, and will stop eating and drinking at an instructed time the night before the surgery. Your surgeon may need to adjust any medications you’re taking so they don’t interfere with your recovery.
Review any paperwork and post-operative instructions beforehand to make sure you don’t have any questions. You will also need someone to drive you home after the procedure.
Once you arrive at the surgical center, you will be prepped for the procedure and given anesthetic. The type of anesthesia you get depends on the type of liposuction you are getting and the volume of fat that will be removed. It may be local or general anesthesia.
Very small incisions will be made in the surgical site, which is then flushed with a sterile solution to minimize bleeding. The solution may also contain painkillers, which will help with post-operative discomfort.
Liposuction is performed using a stainless steel medical device known as a cannula, which resembles a thin tube. The cannula is used to loosen the fat, which is then suctioned out. The suction can come from a syringe attached to the cannula, or with a vacuum device.
In some situations, the cannula will be attached to a small motor that makes it vacillate. The vacillation helps the surgeon break up the fat. This is known as power-assisted liposuction. Another option is the use of ultrasonic waves or a laser to break down the fat, which is then removed with the cannula.
If you are having more than five liters of fat removed, you may also need to have excess skin removed. Your surgeon will discuss this with you, if it is the case in your situation.
After the procedure is over, you will be taken to a recovery room. There will be a compression garment over the surgical site to encourage the skin to tighten over the newly-smooth area. Some patients will also have drains in place to help with fluid build-up. These will be removed in a few days. Most patients who get liposuction on an outpatient basis can go home the same day.
You might experience some soreness in the area- some patients say that it resembles the soreness from working out. You will notice some swelling and bruising that will dissipate after about a week. Avoid bending over or lifting during your recovery period.
Most patients are able to go back to work and resume their other usual activities within ten days of liposuction recovery. Continue avoiding vigorous physical activity until your surgeon gives you permission. Keep the compression garment on until your surgeon tells you that you can remove it
The results of liposuction might not be immediately visible after surgery because of the compression garments and swelling. After the garments are removed and the swelling has gone down, you will be able to see your results. Your tissues may continue to shift and the skin may continue to tighten for a few weeks after surgery.
Once the liposuction procedure is done and fat cells are removed from an area, they will not grow back. However, liposuction won’t prevent you from gaining weight, so you will need to continue to diet and exercise properly after the surgery. If you do gain dramatic amounts of weight, the distribution might be disproportional because of the removal of the fat cells in your selected areas.
Liposuction is one of the most frequent plastic surgery procedures performed every year, and complications are very rare. However, there are some risks, including reactions to anesthesia, bleeding, infection, hematoma, changes in skin sensation, dissatisfaction with the results, and skin discoloration.
The best way to ensure that you are minimizing risks is to select a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon for liposuction. Board Certified surgeons have the proper training and are up-to-date on the latest surgical techniques.
Following all your pre- and post-operative instructions will also minimize the risk that you will have complications.
Most insurance plans will not cover a cosmetic procedure like liposuction. Contact your insurance company if you have questions about your coverage.
Nova serves liposuction in Mclean and other Northern Virginia areas.
If you would like to schedule liposuction in Northern Virginia, or if you have questions for our plastic surgeon, please call the office at (703) 574-2588. Dr. Nukta will be happy to answer any questions you have.