Despite their best efforts to eat right and exercise, many men and women continue to have stubborn areas of fat deposits around their upper and lower abdomen, hips, and thighs. Liposuction is excellent for removal of localized fatty deposits. Liposuction does have its limitations, however. It’s designed for body contouring and is not meant to be a treatment for obesity. During liposuction, the surgeon makes small, inconspicuous incisions in which he inserts a small metal tube to extract excess fat. When performed correctly, scars are almost undetectable and are generally hidden in the edge of the pubic area or in the belly button. Because of its safety and effectiveness, liposuction has become the most common cosmetic procedure performed by plastic surgeons today.
The term “tumescent technique” involves the injection of a large amount of fluid containing saline, adrenaline and local anesthetic into a fatty area. By “wetting” the fat this allows easier fat removal, smoother contouring, elimination of pain and reduction of bleeding, bruising and swelling. Dr. Schantz uses this type of liposuction on all patients.
The adult human has a finite number of fat cells and liposuction removes a portion of them. If one were to gain weight after liposuction the remaining fat cells can increase in size (this is how the body gains weight) but because there are fewer fat cells left in an area treated with liposuction, the added weight tends to distribute itself more evenly throughout other areas of the body. Remember liposuction is not a weight loss technique; it is rather a technique for contouring limited areas of the body. Continuing a proper diet and exercise are important following liposuction to maintain the body’s new contours.
The patient will go home with a compression garment covering the treated areas. Compression is advised for about six weeks as it helps reduce swelling and helps you achieve the final results more quickly. Once pain and soreness decrease, it’s frequently more comfortable to wear lycra or spandex garments. Initial discomfort is controlled with oral medication. Bruising usually subsides in approximately 6 weeks. Swelling can take 2-4 months to subside.
Most external areas of localized fat deposition in the body can be potentially treated with liposuction. In women the most frequently treated areas are the outer thighs and hip area followed by the abdomen (stomach). In men the abdomen and flanks, or “love handles,” are most popular. Other commonly treated areas are the knees, back, chest, and arms. Our experienced facial plastic surgeons also offer neck liposuction.
Any surgical procedure involves risks and potential complications. Liposuction is the most commonly performed plastic surgical operation in the United States and is ordinarily quite safe. As with any surgical procedure, bleeding, infection, thrombophlebitis, nerve damage, etc.. can occur and a careful assessment of the potential risks and benefits must be made preoperatively during the consultative process. Aesthetic complications such as irregularity and waviness of skin or fat can occur. Fortunately, complications are uncommon and most patients are satisfied with their results following liposuction.