Liposuction is a surgical procedure that removes localized fat deposits beneath the skin through small incisions using a hollow stainless steel tube (cannula), with the assistance of a powerful vacuum. Currently the most popular surgical cosmetic procedure in the United States, liposuction can be performed on a number of body areas such as thighs, hips and buttocks, abdomen and waist, upper arms, back, inner knee, chest, checks, chin and neck and calves. Liposuction can be performed alone or in conjunction with other plastic surgical procedures like facelifts, breast lifts, breast reductions, or tummy tucks. Liposuction is not a substitution for proper diet and exercise, nor is it an effective treatment for obesity or cellulite.
That being said, liposuction has been the best solution for many patients, and it may be right for you. To help you determine if liposuction is right for you, you need to first understand what it is, who is the ideal candidate for the procedure, the time it takes to recover, the possible risks involved, and the results you can expect.
There are many different and modified approaches, the most common are: standard, power-assisted, ultrasound-assisted, and laser-assisted. Standard liposuction utilizes various cannulas (hollow, stainless steel tubes), while power-assisted liposuction makes use of oscillating cannulas which pre-tunnel the tissues and is especially helpful in difficult areas. Power-assisted liposuction allows surgeons to effectively perform higher volumes of liposuction without burn risks, trauma to fibrous tissues, and in faster time. In ultrasound-assisted liposuction, the cannula emits ultrasonic waves that penetrate the tissues to heat up and destroy the surrounding membrane of fat cells.
The fat is liquefied, thus making it easier to aspirate. Many surgeons have abandoned this approach due to its high risks of thermal burns and severe scarring. Laser-assisted liposuction uses a cool or cold laser beam to emulsify the fat, which is not removed by suction. Because this approached is performed on smaller areas of fat, the emulsified fat is left in place for natural absorption by the body. Small incisions are placed in order to drain any excess fluids or fat stemming from the procedure.
Liposuction is an option for those in the Beverly Hills area who are unhappy with excess fat deposits unresponsive to diet and exercise. Localized fat deposits may be due to inherited family traits, rather than a result of the lack of weight control or exercise. Ideal liposuction patients are healthy, non-smoking adults within 30% of their ideal weight. The ideal candidate for liposuction procedures should also possess positive a positive outlook on life, realistic expectations, and clear goals for body contouring.
Liposuction should only be performed in an accredited office-based surgical center, outpatient or ambulatory surgical center, or in a hospital. Liposuction patients will not be able to drive themselves home following the procedure and should arrange for transportation to and from surgery.
Should Dr. Chiu recommend it, the office staff can assist you by arranging personalized post-surgical care. The length of the procedure depends on the number of areas performed, type of anesthesia used, and specific approach taken. The type of anesthesia used will vary with the amount of of areas, size of areas, and history of prior surgery.
In some cases, secondary surgeries may be recommended to reduce the excess skin.
Compression garments or elastic bandages will be placed over the treatment areas after your surgery. This is to help control swelling and to compress the tissues to your new body contours. Excess blood and fluids will be removed by temporary drains placed through the incision sites, or absorptive pads placed over the sites. Additionally, you will be given specific instructions concerning the care of treatment areas, topical or oral medications to take (for recovery, pain management and prevention of infections), and volume and type of exercise recommended (to encourage circulation). It is important that your surgical incisions are not exposed to excessive force, abrasion, or motion during your recovery.
Certain drugs, taken pre-operatively, can lead to increased post-surgical bleeding and hematomas (large amounts of blood trapped beneath the skin). Aspirin, ibuprofen, and warfarin are common drugs that increase bleeding. Vitamin E, red wine, and some herbal supplements can also caused prolonged bleeding. Specific pre and post operative instructions for surgery will be provided to you prior to procedure day.
Possible risks include uneven contours, rippling or loose skin, damage to skin or nerves, infection, blood and fat clots, excessive fluid loss or fluid accumulation, risks from anesthesia, excessive bleeding, poor wound healing, deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications, thermal burn or heat injury (from ultrasound-assisted technique), and persistent swelling.
The key to a successful recovery is adherence to your surgeon’s instructions. Post-operative recovery from liposuction is no trouble at all, for most patients. There is no need to stay in bed for any prolonged amount of time, and most people can resume their office job a couple of days after they undergo the procedure. You may experience some soreness and discomfort following your procedure, but this should not prevent you from resuming work or other normal activities in most cases. The number of areas of the body which undergo liposuction treatments will determine how soon you can return to your daily routine, and it is best to follow your doctor’s instructions closely following surgery.
Although most people make a speedy recovery after liposuction, It may take months for your swelling to completely disappear and for your new figure to be revealed. Liposculpture surgery helps to slim and reshape specific areas of your body, to improve your pre-existing body contours and proportions, and in doing so, can enhance your self-image. With continued commitment to healthy diets and fitness, you should be able to maintain the loss of excess fatty tissue.
Dr. Chiu and the staff at Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery are dedicated to helping you maintain your new look, with counseling and recommendations of diet and exercise programs. Contact BHPS today to schedule a consultation.