What is Liposuction?
Liposuction surgery (also called lipoplasty or “lipo”) is a surgery performed to remove excess, stubborn fat deposits from body areas that have refused to respond to exercise and diet.
These areas may include the abdomen, thighs and hips, butts, upper arms, chin, and neck.
Liposuction can be done alone or with other cosmetic surgery procedures such as a tummy tuck, mommy makeover, or a facelift.
Surgeons sometimes use liposuction during breast reduction and treatment of gynecomastia as it allows rapid recovery with fewer complications.
Types of Liposuction
Several types of liposuction are available, depending on the extent of the procedure, each with its own set of benefits, risks, and recovery time.
1. Tumescent Liposuction
Tumescent Liposuction is the most popular type of liposuction, usually done with local anesthesia.
The surgeon injects a local anesthetic and vasoconstrictor solution into the targeted area to reduce bleeding and discomfort during the procedure.
The solution causes the fat cells to swell, making them easier to remove.
They insert a small cannula tube through small incisions to suction the fat. Within a few days of surgery, patients can usually resume normal activities.
2. Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction (UAL)
This type of liposuction uses ultrasound technology to liquefy stored body fat cells before removing them with a traditional liposuction technique.
Your surgeon may use UAL to remove fat, typically on more extensive and denser areas of fat, such as the abdomen or thighs.
The recovery time is usually longer than with tumescent liposuction and may require a few days of rest.
3. Power-Assisted Liposuction (PAL)
This type of liposuction uses a vibrating cannula to break up the fats before suctioning them out of the body.
Plastic surgeons use Power-Assisted Lipo on larger body areas under local or general anesthesia.
The recovery time is similar to tumescent liposuction.
4. Laser-Assisted Liposuction (LAL)
Laser-assisted liposuction uses laser energy to break up body fat cells before suctioning them out with a traditional liposuction technique.
To treat larger areas of the body, your surgeon will perform laser lipo under general anesthesia.
The recovery time is usually longer than other liposuction types and may require a few rest days.
The best type of liposuction for you will depend on your individual needs and goals.
Be sure to discuss your options with your doctor to determine the best option for you.
Who Are the Best Candidates For Liposuction?
Patients with stubborn fat deposits who do not respond to diet or exercise are good candidates for liposuction.
Liposuction is not a weight loss alternative. However, one may lose little weight due to the removal of the excess mass of the extra body parts.
If you are obese or overweight and looking to lose weight, you can consider bariatric surgery procedures such as gastric bypass surgery.
You are a good candidate if:
- You are within 30% of your ideal weight
- Have elastic skin and good muscle tone
- you don’t have a life-threatening illness such as heart disease or any other that can impair healing
- Don’t smoke
- Have realistic expectations for the results
Who Should Not Get Liposuction?
You may not be a good candidate if:
- Your skin does not have good elasticity
- You smoke
- You are obese or overweight
- Can’t afford the costs
- Have an illness that may impair healing or cause complications
Benefits of Having a Liposuction.
Liposuction has many benefits for patients planning to go for one or who have undergone one.
Below are some of the benefits patients will get after undergoing liposuction.
- Great shape and more confidence – Unwanted excess fat in different body areas get removed.
- It can help men who have excessive breast tissue.
- It improves general body appearance making one look young with great shape.
- For those patients who have excess sweating in their armpit area, liposuction can help treat this problem.
- It can enhance your appearance in as little as a day.
How to Prepare for Liposuction
Before you go for a liposuction surgery, your board-certified surgeon may ask you to;
- Undergo a blood test to check if you can safely go under general anesthesia
- Stop smoking
- Avoid taking anti-inflammatory drugs and other drugs that can increase bleeding.
Look for a qualified and board-certified plastic surgeon to conduct your surgery. Any surgery has potential risks. Going for an experienced surgeon will minimize associated risks and complications.
What Happens During the Procedure?
During the liposuction surgery procedure;
- Step 1: Your surgeon will first administer local anesthesia, intravenous sedation, and general anesthesia for your comfort during surgery.
- Step 2: He inserts small and thin tubes with blunted tips called cannulas through a small incision in his skin to loosen excess fat.
- Step 3: The loose fat deposits are then suctioned out of the area using a surgical vacuum or syringe attached to the cannula
After surgery, you will experience some pain, bruising, and swelling. Your surgeon will give you antibiotics and painkillers to reduce pain.
He will also give you post-operation instructions to help you recover fast.
Areas of the Body Treated by Lipo
Liposuction surgery can be conducted on the following parts of the body: thighs, abdomen, waist, upper and lower arms, chest area, cheeks, chin, and neck, among others.
How Much Does Liposuction Cost?
How much liposuction cost varies. According to 2019 statistics from the American Society of plastic surgeons, the average liposuction cost is $3,548.
Several factors affect the cost of liposuction. Some of these include;
- The size of the fat and the area to be operated
- The surgeon performing your liposuction surgery
- Area of locality
- Number of liposuction procedures to be performed
Get more information about liposuction costs.
How long does it take to recover after undergoing liposuction?
Being an outpatient procedure, recovery from liposuction is relatively quick.
Even though recovery from one person to another is not the same, many patients return to work after three to ten days.
After surgery, you will have bruises and swelling on the surgery area for 1-3 weeks. Learn how to reduce swelling after liposuction.
You will need someone to help you with your homework since you will not manage to work immediately.
If you are employed, seek permission, as you cannot go to work.
You will feel numbness and soreness in the liposuction areas for several weeks as you heal slowly.
Liposuction Results Week by Week
Liposuction results are typically visible several weeks after you undergo the procedure.
Here’s a week-by-week breakdown of what to expect:
- 1-2 Weeks: Swelling and bruising are common after liposuction and can last several weeks. You may also feel sore and tender in the treatment area.
- 2-4 Weeks: The swelling should begin to subside, and the bruises will start to fade. You may start to see improved contours in the treated areas.
- 4-6 Weeks: Most of the swelling and bruising should have disappeared, and you should see a noticeable improvement in the shape and contour of your body.
- 6-12 Weeks: Final results of liposuction are usually visible within 6 to 12 weeks of the procedure. However, some swelling may persist for several months in some cases.
Note: The length of time it will take you to recover and start seeing results can vary based on the size of the treated region, the type of liposuction used, the patient’s age, and your general health.
Your plastic surgeon can tell you in more detail what results you can expect from liposuction.
Identifying and Managing the Risks Associated with Liposuction Surgery
Liposuction surgery is good as it shapes your body to the desired looks.
However, knowing the risks involved during and after the surgery is crucial before undergoing liposuction.
- First and foremost, Patients may get skin infections resulting from liposuction that may need another surgery to fix.
- After the surgery, the healing process is slow as it involves bruises in the areas operated.
- Liposuction can cause thrombophlebitis. A condition that makes veins to be inflamed when a blood clot forms.
- Some patients may have allergic reactions.
- Patients may feel numb in some body areas for several weeks before healing.
The risks should not spread fear across your mind. Many people have undergone liposuction surgery and are fine.
Before the surgery, you should consult your doctor to determine if it is safe.
Also, make sure a board-certified, experienced surgeon performs your surgery.
How Much Weight Can You Lose With Liposuction?
Liposuction is not intended to be a weight loss procedure, and the amount lost with liposuction varies by individual.
Liposuction works best to remove localized pockets of fat resistant to diet and exercise.
Because it is not designed to remove large amounts of fat, it is not typically recommended for people who are significantly overweight.
Typically, the fat that can be safely removed during a liposuction procedure is limited to five to six pounds, equivalent to about 2 – 3% of the patient’s total body weight.
This can, however, vary based on the patient’s overall health, the location and number of fat deposits being treated, and other factors.
It is important to understand that liposuction does not replace a healthy diet and regular exercise.
While it can aid in body contouring and improving the appearance of specific areas, it will not necessarily result in significant weight loss.
Following a balanced diet and engaging in regular physical activity is essential to losing and maintaining a healthy weight.
We recommend you read our comprehensive guide on how much weight you can lose with liposuction to learn more.
Non-invasive Alternatives for Liposuction
There are several types of minimally invasive liposuction procedures.
Non-invasive liposuction refers to techniques that do not require surgery.
They shorten your recovery time and reduce scarring.
Examples of non-invasive liposuction techniques include:
- Cryolipolysis (also known as CoolSculpting)
- Laser liposuction
What Is 360 Liposuction?
360 liposuction, also known as Lipo 360, is a form of liposuction that involves the removal of excess fatty deposits from multiple body areas in a single session.
It typically involves a full-body approach that targets the abdomen, flanks, back, arms, and legs.
The procedure helps to sculpt and contour the body and may be combined with other body contouring procedures, such as a tummy tuck or breast augmentation, to achieve your desired goals.
Traditional liposuction only removes fat from a single body area.
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- American Society of Plastic Surgeons. (August 2018). Liposuction. plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/liposuction
- American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. (November 2018). All About Liposuction. americanboardcosmeticsurgery.org/procedure-learning-center/body-contouring/liposuction/
- The Plastic Surgery Group. (February 2020). Liposuction. theplasticsurgerygroup.net/procedures/body-contouring/liposuction/
- Mayo Clinic. (August 2020). Liposuction. mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/liposuction/about/pac-20384686
- American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. (May 2004). Liposuction: A Review. journals.lww.com/plasreconsurg/Fulltext/2004/05000/Liposuction__A_Review.10.aspx
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