Liposuction or liposculpture is a cosmetic procedure that removes fat from different sites of the body. It is the most common cosmetic surgical procedure performed in the United States. The goal of liposuction is to address disproportionate pockets of fat in order to improve contour and shape. It is not a remedy for weight loss.
Who is a candidate for liposuction?
Healthy patients who have fatty pockets or bulges are good candidates. Those who have significant obesity, multiple medical problems, history of smoking and poor skin elasticity are poor candidates for liposuction. For women, common areas addressed are the thighs, hips, abdomen but also include back rolls, neck, arms and legs. Men tend to have thicker fat areas at the abdomen and flanks (love handles). Liposuction can also be an effective treatment for some men with enlarged breasts (gynecomastia).
How is liposuction performed?
Under minimal anesthesia, the fat pockets are sucked out using cannulas (hollow metallic tubes) that apply negative pressure. This is performed after a solution consisting of epinephrine (controls bleeding) and lidocaine (anesthetic) is distributed to the targeted area. Careful, methodical, crisscrossing motions with the cannula results in an improved contour with minimal risk of irregularity. Cannulas are inserted through the skin via tiny incisions that are sutured closed at the end of the procedure. A compression garment is applied at the end.
What to expect after surgery?
Dr. Farris and his staff will provide specific instructions regarding your surgery. You will be able to go home the same day after surgery. Postoperative pain is minimal. There may be some swelling and bruising that may last several weeks. A compression garment is typically worn for 2-4 weeks. Most patients return to work a few days after surgery and full activity after 2 weeks.
- Which body areas can be treated by liposuction?
The areas of the body that are commonly treated by liposuction include the abdomen, thighs, hips, flanks, buttocks, breasts, arms and neck.
- Can liposuction be done in the same area more than once?
Yes, as long as you have sufficient fat to be removed and good skin elasticity. The internal scarring from the previous procedure may make it slightly more difficult however.
- Will there be scaring after a liposuction procedure?
There will be very small hidden scars where the cannulas are inserted to do the liposuction. These scars are usually very difficult to see.
- What are the long-term effects of liposuction?
The long-term effects of liposuction have been shown to be long lasting and effective if you keep your weight stable by watching your diet and exercising. Liposuction does not prevent weight gain, although future fat may be deposited in a different distribution.
- Can liposuction treat obesity?
No, liposuction is a treatment for defined pockets of fat, such as love handles. It is not a treatment for obesity or a form of weight loss.
- Are there any limits associated with liposuction?
In the outpatient setting, liposuction should not exceed five liters of fatty aspirate. This is a safety precaution. If you feel that you need more fat removed, you may be better suited to consider overall weight loss first.