What is Liposuction?
Liposuction is an elective cosmetic surgery procedure that permanently removes areas of fat from the body. It can be performed almost anywhere, but the thighs, hips, love handles, flanks, buttocks, back and neck are the most common. If you have areas of fat that you can’t seem to lose with a good diet and regular exercise, liposuction can immediately eliminate that fat and—best of all—it won’t come back!
Am I a Good Candidate for Liposuction?
If you’re a healthy adult man or woman with realistic goals about the amount of fat that can be removed in one session of liposuction, you’re probably a good candidate. It’s best if you’ve been at about the same weight for at least six months before your liposuction procedure. Having said that, I have performed liposuction on patients that are in the process of losing weight and hope that the “jump-start” of liposuction will help them stick to their diet and exercise plans to further sculpt their figure.
Will I Lose Weight with Lipo?
Most patients lose only the weight of the fat itself. In other words, if I remove 4 lb. of fat, you’ll weigh 4 lb. less. The good news is that you will look like you lost more than 4 lb. because your shape will be different.
How Much Fat Can Be Removed with Liposuction?
Liposuction has been proven, when performed correctly, to be a very successful and safe method to remove isolated areas of fat, but there are limits to how much fat can be removed at one time. While not a hard and fast rule, the standard accepted practice among plastic surgeons is that no more than 5-6 liters (about 10-12 lb. of fat) can safely be removed during one liposuction session. This is due, in part, to the fact that a liquid, called tumescent fluid, is injected into the body prior to liposuction. This fluid contains epinephrine and a local anesthesia (Lidocaine), which keeps the area numb for about 24 hours. Surgeons must be careful not to inject too much Lidocaine, as too much can increase the risk of postoperative complications.
Liposuction and Skin Quality
Supple, youthful skin bounces back because it’s full of collagen and elastin. As we age, our skin becomes less elastic, and doesn’t “shrink” as well after liposuction as more youthful skin. Does that mean you should avoid liposuction if you’re a bit older? Quite the contrary! Individuals who have lost a great deal of weight, for example, have loose, hanging skin after their weight loss. They often come to me for liposuction to get rid of the fat that remains after their weight loss and, during the same procedure, we excise the extra skin for a more attractive post-operative appearance.
Remember, when you see me at one of my two Kalamazoo area plastic surgery locations for your consultation, I’ll discuss all your options with you. At Southwest Michigan Plastic Surgery, my staff and I are 100% committed to your awareness of all your options, so you can make an informed decision regarding liposuction—or any other—procedure. As with any elective cosmetic surgery, the goal of liposuction is to improve your body.
Where Will My Liposuction Procedure Be Performed?
All of my cosmetic surgery procedures, including lipo, are performed in one of two local accredited ambulatory surgical facilities near my Southwest Michigan plastic surgery office. I always work with board certified anesthesiologists. Many of the operating room staff at these centers have been working closely with me for the past 15 years. These same-day surgery centers offer you the safety of a hospital operating room without the exposure to hospital-based bacteria, plus the benefit of a friendly, caring, and personalized experience.
How Is Liposuction Performed?
Prior to your procedure, I will “mark” the areas where fat will be removed with a special pen (the marks are washed off before you leave the operating room). My anesthesiologist will give you general anesthesia, so you’ll be “out” during the procedure. After you’re sound asleep, I’ll inject tumescent fluid into the areas to be treated, followed by tiny incisions just large enough for me to insert what’s called a cannula, which is a thin tube attached to a machine that, literally, sucks out the fat. When the procedure is finished, I’ll put steri-strips on the incisions and you’ll be put into a compressive garment, which you’ll wear 24/7 for a few days or weeks, depending on where your liposuction was performed.
Recovery From Liposuction
Most of my liposuction patients stay home and rest the first 1-2 days, followed by some walking and progressing to more vigorous exercise about a week afterwards. You’ll be able to remove the compression garment to shower, but you’ll want to wear it consistently in order to help remove the tumescent fluid and to help the skin adjust to your smaller shape.
It generally takes about 4-6 months, (more for some people), to see your final results. The surface of your skin in the treated area(s) might be uneven, particularly if very aggressive lipo was performed, and it takes some time for the swelling to disappear. In general, however, my Michigan liposuction patients have been surprised by their rapid recovery and lack of discomfort.
If you have areas of fat that just don’t seem to go away with exercise and diet, let’s meet at one of my two offices to talk about your options. I promise to share all the options with you, and to help you make a decision that’s right for you.