Is having a perfect body your ultimate fitness goal? More and more women and an increasing number of men nowadays aiming for a perfect body are searching for the best solution to get rid of unwanted fats in certain areas of their bodies. These are visible fats resistant to even the strictest diet and exercise. Good thing, there is Liposuction technology which is advancing incredibly that can help them get rid of excess fat. Liposuction or lipoplasty is the second most popular and top performed cosmetic procedure in the US. More than 300,000 procedures are conducted each year with the cost ranging from 2,000-3500 USD.
What is Liposuction?
Liposuction or lipoplasty is a minimally invasive cosmetic surgical procedure that removes excess subcutaneous fats underneath the layer of the skin which accumulate in localized areas of the body particularly the abdomen, hips, thighs, neck, arms, flanks, chest, back, and face, to achieve a visibly appealing contoured body or figure. Certain individuals are predisposed or may develop excess fats in certain body parts due to some factors such as genetics, intake of large meals, soda and other alcoholic drinks, junk and processed foods, irregular eating habits such as late-night meals, hormonal such as an increase in estrogen level due to obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. Such bulky edges or “belly fat” lower the self-esteem of more women and men alike creating a feeling of insecurity and lack of self-confidence. With the evolution of Lipoplasty, a well-contoured body or figure is now possible. Liposuction can be done on an outpatient basis in a clinic or overnight stay in an accredited hospital depending on how large or small the target area is, the type of anesthesia to be used, and the technique to be done. If the target area to be done is small, patients can go home on the same day. It is a relatively quick, safe, and effective procedure.
Liposuction has 2 different uses:
Cosmetic or primarily aesthetic – which is to correct and reshape the body
Reconstructive or medically necessary liposuction – as in the cases of lipedema, lymphedema, and lipoma.
Types of Liposuction
Currently, there are 4 types of Liposuction procedures: tumescent liposuction, the super-wet technique, Ultrasound-assisted liposuction(UAL), and Laser-assisted liposuction(LAL).
Tumescent Liposuction – is the most commonly performed procedure in the US. It is safe, effective, less painful, and has a short recovery period. It is done under local anesthesia and as an outpatient procedure or under general anesthesia. First, the patient is prepared by cleansing the targeted area where the unwanted fats are to be removed. Then, the area is marked by lines or circles. Local anesthesia is injected into the targeted areas. A large volume of tumescent fluid which consists of saline solution incorporated with Lidocaine, an anesthetic, and Epinephrine, a blood vessel constrictor, is infiltrated into the area to make the area numb and the tissues tumescent, meaning firm and swell. This makes the procedure more accurate and the removal of fats easier.
The Lidocaine will take care of numbing the area so that general anesthesia or Intravenous sedation is no longer needed. The Epinephrine acting as a vasoconstrictor will eliminate excessive bleeding and bruising thus minimizing the risks and complications of surgery. A small incision is done on the target area. A cannula or a small stainless hollow tube is then inserted to deliver the tumescent fluid to the superficial and deep layers of fat. This is connected to a vacuum-like machine. Once the patient is completely anesthetized, the aspiration and suction of subcutaneous fat follow. The cannula inserted moves back and forth to disintegrate the fat cells followed by suctioning of the fat deposits. This lasts for about 45 minutes to 2-3 hours depending on the size and number of areas to be treated.
When the process is completed, the incision is left open and compression garments are applied to allow excess fluids to drain and to minimize swelling and bruising. The recovery period is relatively short and patients may resume their normal activities in 1-2 days. Results will be visible once the swelling subsides. Swelling gradually resolves after the first week but some degrees of swelling may last up to 6 weeks. Improvement may be seen in 1-2 weeks but it takes 3-4 months to see the complete result.
The super-wet technique – this procedure closely resembles the tumescent technique. The only difference is that it uses a smaller volume of fluids.
Ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL) – this technique uses an Ultrasound as a guide and delivers ultrasonic waves on the tiny incision sites to destroy and liquefy fat cells before they are suctioned out. A better-known brand is Vaserlipo which uses a probe inserted into the incision sites that moves back and forth to liquefy fat cells, and then the results are suctioned out by a cannula.
Laser-assisted liposuction(LAL) – is the latest adjunct in liposuction technology. Better known as brand-name Smartlipo, this employs laser energy to precisely melt and liquefy fat cells and at the same time induces coagulation to minimize bleeding and production of collagen for skin tightening. The melted fats are easier removed by cannula through back-and-forth motions and suctioned out. Incision sites are left open and compression garments are applied.
Post-operative care need not be complicated.
- Keep the incision sites clean by washing with soap and water and covering them with absorbent pads.
- Take antibiotics religiously and as directed by your plastic surgeon.
- Refrain from alcoholic drinks 48 hours before and after surgery.
- Drink a lot of fluids to prevent dehydration.
- Rest and do not drive immediately post-op.
- Do not take Aspirin or NSAID’s to prevent bleeding starting three days before the surgery.
- Wear your compression garments as advised by the doctor and don’t swim or bathe in a jacuzzi up to two weeks after.
Risks of Liposuction
Like any other surgical procedure, expect swelling, bruising, and numbness which eventually subsides from 1-6 weeks. Other possible complications are contour irregularities, anesthesia problems, fluid accumulation, infection, punctured organ, fat embolism, hematoma, and scarring which are rare and manageable provided you have been evaluated pre-op and handled by a well-trained board-certified plastic surgeon.
What makes liposuction a good fat removal method
Liposuction vs. Non-surgical Fat Reduction
Non-surgical fat reduction has the same purpose as Liposuction. That is, to reduce the number of unwanted fats but is performed without incision. The process either uses extreme cold, heat, or injectable solution to destroy fat cells to be excreted by the body. Examples are Cryolipolysis which uses extreme cold, Sculpsure that uses heat, Kybella which is injection lipolysis, and the use of Radiofrequency. Liposuction permanently removes unwanted fats with more dramatic and long-lasting results as compared to non-surgical fat reduction. It is more appropriate for large targeted areas since non-surgical offers only minimal sculpting.
Multiple sessions are needed in non-surgical while one treatment may be enough with Liposuction. There is more accuracy in Liposuction since the plastic surgeon can insert a cannula beneath the skin and the results are immediately visible. Although there is more swelling, bruising, and longtime recovery in Liposuction, the advancing technology poses promising results to address such problems. Both procedures don’t produce weight loss, meaning patients should still monitor and manage their weight. Otherwise, an increase in weight will divert the fat cells in other untreated areas. There may also be loosening of the skin in targeted areas as well as irregularity in shape.
Are you a good candidate for liposuction?
If you are within 30% of your ideal weight, have good muscle tone and elastic skin, in perfect health with no medical illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, abnormality in blood flow, and a weakened immune system, a non-smoker, and have a positive outlook and goal to have a perfect body figure, then, talk to your board-certified plastic surgeon about what type of liposuction is best for you.
Liposuction is a safe and effective way to remove fat and help you gain back your self-confidence. If you’re planning of undergoing this procedure, you’ll need a professional cosmetic surgeon to do it. Dr. Kamran Khazaei is a surgeon trained and certified in Liposuction by the eminent father of tumescent Liposuction, Dr. Jeffrey A. Klien of California. Call his clinic now to schedule an appointment.