Liposuction is one of the most common cosmetic procedures performed on both men and women alike. Liposuction should not be thought of as a method of weight loss, but rather as a procedure that can treat localized accumulations of fat. In women these areas tend to include the abdomen, hips and thighs, while in men these areas tend to include the chest and abdomen.
Young patients are generally better candidates for liposuction than older patients. This is because of the better skin tone noted in these younger patients. Likewise, the abdominal area of postpartum women is often not amenable to liposuction because of the stretching and loosening of the skin that occurs with pregnancy. The same phenomenon can be seen in patients that have had significant weight losses.
There are two types of liposuction that are popular today. The first is tumescent liposuction. This method of liposuction involves infiltrating a mixture of local anesthesia and a vasoconstrictor into the areas to be treated. This usually results in a less traumatic treatment with decreased postoperative pain and swelling. Another popular method today is liposelection made popular by Vaser®. This is a type of ultrasonic liposuction that is thought to be less traumatic because it melts the fat in a first step followed by suctioning of the melted fat in a second step. This is especially helpful in areas where the fat tissue tends to be more fibrous such as patient’s backs, chests, or in areas that have been previously treated with liposuction. Some physicians also think that there is better skin retraction after this type of treatment which may help in areas where skin tone is not as good.
Liposuction involves making small stab incisions near the areas to be treated and then passing a cannula back and forth in the area to remove fatty tissue. This is generally performed under a sedation type anesthesia. Patients for the most part can return home the day of surgery unless a large volume of fat is to be removed. Most surgeons require patients to stay overnight if several areas are suctioned or large volumes are removed.
Risks involved with liposuction include collections of fluid underneath the skin that require aspiration with a needle postoperatively. Traditionally this more commonly occurs with ultrasonic liposuction techniques such as liposelection. Another risk of both types of liposuction is contour irregularities. This is noted as “bumpiness” seen or felt in the areas that are suctioned. Finally, a risk somewhat unique to the ultrasonic liposuction is burns of the skin. These are relatively uncommon, but in melting the fat there is heat involved and sometimes this can result in minor burns of the skin.
The postoperative recovery for liposuction or liposelection requires the patient to wear a compressive garment for six weeks after the surgery. This garment is usually small enough that it can be hidden underneath the patient’s clothes. We also like to treat the patient with massage of the areas that were suctioned postoperatively. We generally recommend three treatments at the second, third and fourth weeks postoperatively. Patients can for the most part return to work within five to seven days of liposuction depending on their individual occupation. Exercise can be resumed at two to three weeks postoperatively. It does take about six weeks for a patient to have a true appreciation of their result after liposuction.
Dr. Perry would be glad to answer any questions that you have regarding liposuction.
Phone: (972) 981-7940
Fax: (972) 981-7941
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