Liposuction is a cosmetic procedure that removes fat that you can’t seem to get rid of through diet and exercise.
A plastic or dermatologic surgeon usually does the procedure on your hips, belly, thighs, buttocks, back, arms, and under the chin or face to improve their shape. But liposuction can also be done with other plastic surgeries, including facelifts, breast reductions, and tummy tucks.
Who Is a Good Candidate
Liposuction is of the most benefit to patients who are at or near their ideal weight (within 30%), but still, have disproportionate localized deposits of fat that exercise and dieting are not reducing.
The best candidates for liposuction are non-smokers who are generally in good health and who have a positive outlook and realistic expectations about the procedure’s outcome.
An ideal liposuction candidate will also have good skin elasticity and muscle tone. In fact, if a patient has already lost a significant amount of weight and has a lot of loose hanging skin, liposuction may only worsen those problems.
Why it’s done
Liposuction is used to remove fat from areas of the body that haven’t responded to diet and exercise, such as the:
- Upper arms
- Calves and ankles
- Chest and back
- Hips and thighs
- Chin and neck
In addition, liposuction can sometimes be used for breast reduction or treatment of gynecomastia.
When you gain weight, fat cells increase in size and volume. In turn, liposuction reduces the number of fat cells in a specific area. The amount of fat removed depends on the appearance of the area and the volume of fat. The resulting contour changes are generally permanent — as long as your weight remains stable.
After liposuction, the skin molds itself to the new contours of the treated areas. If you have good skin tone and elasticity, the skin is likely to appear smooth. If your skin is thin with poor elasticity, however, the skin in the treated areas may appear loose.
Liposuction doesn’t improve cellulite dimpling or other skin surface irregularities. Likewise, liposuction doesn’t remove stretch marks.
Major considerations to keep in mind
As explained, electing to have liposuction is a big decision. Before committing to the surgery, there are some important things you should consider:
1. New technology isn’t necessarily better
As explained in an article from trusted patient resource Real Self, tumescent liposuction is still widely the preferred method, by both patients and doctors alike. In other words, newer approaches, such as laser liposuction, although often effective, aren’t necessarily a better approach than the tumescent method. In fact, the article included a quote from Dr. Michael Kaminer, who elaborated on the efficacy of the tumescent approach.
2. Liposuction Works Best on People Who Have Firm, Elastic Skin
In general, liposuction is for adults who are within 30% of their ideal body weight. For the best results, you need to have firm, elastic skin and good muscle tone. It’s also vital that you don’t smoke. Your doctor will want to make sure you have realistic expectations for your body’s appearance after liposuction. This will promote a greater level of satisfaction with the results.
3. Liposuction Often Uses Ultrasound and Laser Technology
Traditional liposuction—or tumescent liposuction—involves several small incisions. Your doctor uses a hollow tube and pumps it back and forth to dislodge the fat deposits. A surgical vacuum removes the fat. Newer types of liposuction include ultrasound-assisted and laser-assisted techniques. They also use small incisions and a surgical vacuum. The difference lies in the way they dislodge the fat deposits using ultrasound vibrations or heat.
4. Consider the risks
Liposuction is typically a very safe method when performed by a competent doctor. Yet, there are risks as with any cosmetic treatment. Scarring, skin discoloration, bagginess, and dimpling are some of the common consequences. If you are thinking about getting liposuction, ask our specialist about the risks and then evaluate them for yourself. Our team will be happy to go over the potential risks with you.
5. Not a weight-loss technique
This may sound surprising, but liposuction is not a good option if you want to lose a lot of weight quickly. People who are truly close to or a little above a healthy body weight for their height are the ideal candidates for this procedure. The treatment’s purpose is to eliminate obstinate places of fat that disrupt ratio and cannot be eliminated through diet and exercise alone. Patients with relatively firm skin benefit the most from this technique. Living a healthy lifestyle is critical for long-term results.
6. Quit smoking
Our plastic surgeon will advise you to give up smoking at least a few weeks before your surgery and to eliminate tobacco use for at least a few weeks afterward. There are numerous explanations why quitting smoking prior to liposuction is the best option. Nicotine constricts your blood vessels, limiting blood circulation throughout your body. As you recover from liposuction, it is critical that blood circulate freely throughout your body, supplying oxygen to the healing skin.
7. There will be bruising and some pain
Often an unavoidable consequence of the surgery, it’s highly likely that you will experience some bruising and mild pain after your procedure, Healthgrades detailed. This is usually easily treatable with over the counter pain killers. While most people are able to resume normal activities almost immediately after surgery, if you are sensitive to pain you may wish to consider taking a little time off to recover. The source noted that the pain and discomfort rarely last longer than a couple of days. In terms of strenuous activity, however, it’s likely that your doctor may advise you to lay off heavy exercise for a couple of weeks. Walking, however, can be beneficial to recovery.