Despite strenuous exercise and careful control of diet, many people are saddled with stubborn fat deposits that persist despite their best efforts. These hereditary fat pockets can be extremely discouraging, especially when they are discovered at the end of a large weight loss. In many cases, they can lead to a disproportionate-looking body, which can have disastrous consequences for confidence and self-image.
Liposuction is a procedure that can remove localized pockets of diet-resistant fat from the love handles, buttocks, hips, stomach, arms, neck, face, thighs, and other areas. While it cannot perform all of the weight loss for you, it will slim your body for a sleek look, smooth contours, and better-fitting clothing.
Candidates for Liposuction
Good candidates for liposuction include anyone who has localized fat deposits that do not respond well to diet and exercise. Prospective patients should be close to their ideal weight and have good skin elasticity. Ideally, candidates will also have relatively little excess skin and will not plan on undergoing any major physical changes like gaining or losing significant amounts of weight or becoming pregnant. Patients must also be in good health and maintain realistic expectations for what can be achieved through liposuction.
During your pre-surgery consultation, you’ll be able to show your problem areas and explain your concerns and goals for your liposuction procedure. Dr. Masri will examine you and evaluate the best approach for your needs. After the examination, he’ll carefully go over the options available to you.
All liposuction uses the same basic method. Small incisions are made in the target area, and a thin, blunt tube called a cannula is inserted into them. Fat is removed through the cannula via suction from a vacuum or syringe. There are several additional techniques that can make the process easier.
One of the most common approaches is tumescent liposuction, which involves injecting a solution that numbs the area and constricts blood vessels in order to minimize pain and bleeding. This is especially appropriate for removing fat near the face. There are also several methods for breaking up the fat before or during the liposuction to make removal easier. Ultrasound-assisted liposuction uses a hand-held device to send ultrasound waves through the fat deposit, breaking up the fat cells. This method is particularly good for large deposits of dense fat, such as the deposits commonly found on the back. Laser-assisted liposuction such as SmartLipo is similar and uses a laser to break up the fat cells. This method is ideal for small deposits around the neck or breasts, and it has the added benefit of an easier recovery since less force must be used to remove the liquified fat. Dr. Masri will advise you on which of these methods will be most appropriate for your specific situation.
After settling on a method, you’ll also be able to discuss any procedures that you’d like to have in addition to your liposuction. It is very common to have a tummy tuck or other skin-reduction procedure at the same time as the liposuction to offset the risk of loose skin. Some patients also choose to have a fat transfer at the same time, using the removed fat as a filler to plump another area of the body or fill in wrinkles.
In addition finalizing the details of the procedure, you’ll also provide a detailed medical history, and Dr. Masri will go over the precautions that you’ll want to take before undergoing the procedure.
About the Procedure
Before beginning the procedure, Dr. Masri will use a surgical marking pen to diagram the treatment areas on your body. This will ensure that the new contours will be in line with your goals. Next, you will be anesthetized for the procedure. Depending on the extent of the procedure and the technique used, you might use general anesthesia, local anesthesia with intravenous sedation, or in a few cases, just a local anesthetic.
Once the anesthesia is done, small incisions will be made in your skin, and any assisting devices will be used to break up the fat before it is removed. The cannula will be inserted into the incisions, and fat cells will be gently removed using suction. Care will be taken at all times to avoid unnecessarily damaging your skin, blood vessels, and nerves. Once the bulk of the fat is removed, the remaining fat will be evened out to create smooth contours and reduce the risk of lumpiness and other contour deformities. Finally, dressings and possibly drains will be applied, and you’ll be sent to the recovery room.
You can expect to experience swelling and bruising for several weeks. There may also be mild leaking from the incisions for a few days, although drains may be placed to help alleviate this. You will be given a compression garment to wear for up to six weeks in order to aid the formation of smooth new contours. Most patients experience some discomfort but no extreme pain; medication will be prescribed to manage this.
For the first few days, you should take it easy but move around throughout the day in order to maintain good circulation and minimize blood clotting. You should keep the affected body part elevated as much as you can, which may mean using pillows to support it while sleeping. Most activities can be resumed within 10-14 days, but avoid anything strenuous since it can increase swelling and bleeding. Minor swelling as a result of strenuous exercise can occur as late as six or more months after the procedure. Sun exposure should be avoided while the scars heal, since unprotected sun rays can lead to excessive pigmentation. As long as care is taken to avoid the sun, the incisions should become nearly invisible over the course of a year.
Possible Risks and Complications
Like any medical procedure, liposuction has certain risks such as bleeding, infection, hematoma, and poor reactions to anesthesia. There is also a possibility of change in sensation such as numbness or tingling, even though care is taken to avoid damaging nerves. Any change in sensation is normally temporary.
The primary risks of liposuction are aesthetic. In a few cases, uneven contours or a lumpy texture will occur. Correct use of your compression garment will help to reduce the chances of this, and in many cases, it will even out on its own over time. If it doesn’t, a revision liposuction may be necessary to correct it. Rippling or loose skin is also a possibility. This normally results from inelastic skin that is unable to mold itself to the new contours, and it can be treated by a tummy tuck or other skin-reducing procedure if the skin does not tighten on its own over time.
I’m considering liposuction and wondering if I’d look alright to go on vacation about one month afterward. Are there any lipo techniques that have an easier or shorter recovery?
Because SmartLipo™ is minimally invasive; it allows patients to see faster results, fewer complications and shorter recovery time. SmartLipo’s patients only need a local anesthetic, so the patient is not completely conscious during the procedure. SmartLipo™ carries much fewer risks than traditional Liposuction and is performed in the comfort and privacy of Masri Clinic’s accredited surgical facility. Often, a patient can go back to work within a few short days, and results continue to become visible for up to 3 months.
Is it easier to maintain your weight after undergoing liposuction?
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question. For the most part, liposuction has a very high patient satisfaction rate. However, there have been reports of some patients finding it more difficult to maintain their weight following liposuction. These reports have been largely anecdotal, so it is hard to say for certain whether this difficulty can be accounted for by other factors having nothing to do with their surgeries (lifestyle, stress, advancing age, hormonal influences, etc.)
How does the surgeon know when the right amount of fat has been removed during liposuction?
At the time of the procedure the removed fat is measured by the surgeon.
I’m interested in reducing the size of my breasts but I am hesitant about the extensive scar. What are the circumstances where liposuction would be sufficient?
This method only works on breasts that have an excess of fat. Younger women often don’t meet the requirements for this type of surgery. Women who have already experienced menopause are the most likely candidates for breast reduction through liposuction. Some younger women who are overweight and have a larger amount of excess fat in their breasts may also be good candidates.
I’m a man and considering liposuction of the breast area. Can liposuction be performed just under the nipples rather than on the whole breast? I don’t like how my nipples protrude.
Yes, liposuction can be done only under the nipple area, however if the protruding nipple is due to excessive glandular tissue then excision of that tissue may have to be included.