Liposuction or Lipoplasty is a cosmetic surgery procedure that is performed in order to remove excess fat from specific areas of the body. The process helps to shape or contour the patient’s body creating a sleeker and healthier look. The most common areas shaped by the procedure are the abdomen, thighs, buttocks and hips. In men it is not uncommon to have liposuction performed for breast reduction often times to treat the condition called gynecomastia. While fat can usually be removed with a good diet and exercise program, there are cases where fat cells are unable to shrink causing a need for liposuction in order to slim down that particular area. That is why liposuction has become the most popular of all plastic surgery procedures. The surgery does require local anesthetics and should be performed by a board certified plastic surgeon.
Liposuction is performed by inserting a stainless steel instrument into small incisions throughout the body. The areas that the liposuction is being performed on are decided by the patient and the surgeon before the surgery takes place. While aided by local anesthetics, the patient will have fat sucked out or their body through a hollow tube or cannula as it is called. The fat is discarded and the patient is most often able to go home the night of the operation. Depending on how much fat is to be removed, liposuction may be a one time surgery or may require more than one procedure. Often times it is used in conjunction with tummy tuck surgery.
While there are several variations to how liposuction is performed, the two main techniques used are the Tumescent and the Ultrasonic Assisted Liposuction or the UAL which is a technique that is used in conjunction with Tumescent. Tumescent used alone is the more common of the two techniques and has evolved into the wet and super wet methods. The wet method of liposuction is performed by injecting the areas that are to be worked on with a small amount of special fluid which is designed to contract the blood vessels and loosen the fat cells in the area. The fat is then sucked out of the patient using the aspirator or suction device. The super wet method involves the same technique except that more liquid is injected into the patient’s body, which is the preferred technique for removing larger amounts of fat. The UAL technique uses ultrasonic vibrations through the body in order to additionally break up the fat before removal.
Liposuction procedures can vary greatly depending upon the amount of fat the patient wants to have removed, the areas they want it removed, and the techniques used to remove the fat. Often, liposuction is a one time visit to the operating table; however, when increased amounts of fat are to be removed it is not unlikely for a patient to make more than one trip to the surgeon. The procedure is performed with the aid of local anesthetics and most times the patients are operated on at the surgeon’s office and let go that day. When large volumes of fat are to be removed in a single operation, then an overnight stay in a hospital is required. The actual length of the procedure can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours.
Liposuction recovery time can range from patient to patient depending on how extensive the operation is and how much fat is removed. Typically patients will experience a mild discomfort for the first couple of days after the operation. During this time it is normal to experience drainage from the incisions made to the patient’s body. Often, the surgeon will not even close the incisions in order to help encourage this process which is a good sign and helps to expedite the healing. For a few weeks after surgery, a compression garment is worn by the patient. Usually after a couple of months the swelling and bruising go down and within six months time the patient should be completely healed and enjoying their newly enhanced body.
Although liposuction surgery performed by a board certified plastic surgeon is relatively safe; there are some risks to take into consideration before getting the procedure done. The main risks are friction burns, excessive fluid loss and seromas or pockets of fluid that may need to be drained with a needle. In any case make sure you discuss these complications with your surgeon before getting the procedure done.
Liposuction surgeries vary greatly in their cost and are affected by the geographical area, the plastic surgeon, the extent of the operation per the individual patient and the area of the body that the liposuction is to be performed. The typical cost of a liposuction can range anywhere from $1,000 – $8,000 with the mid section of the body costing the most and the arms and back being less expensive.
Are you a candidate for liposuction? There are many factors to weigh before getting the surgery. Are you able to afford the time off work and the cost of the procedure? Have you tried exercise and dieting to the best of your abilities? In addition, candidates for liposuction should be relatively healthy and non-smokers. Patients who smoke greatly increase the risk of complications during and after surgery. In any of these cases we recommend you talk with a board certified plastic surgeon that can help you determine whether this surgery is right for you.
Choosing the right liposuction surgeon can be a daunting task. Surgeons vary greatly in skill, experience and price. It is imperative that you speak with more than 1 surgeon before having a surgery performed on you. Don’t just shop for the best price, although a well priced surgery is a bonus, it is important that you feel comfortable with the surgeon you choose and confident that they will do the job right. Visit our plastic surgeon directory for 5 Star Surgeon Network Approval Rated™ Surgeons near You.