What is liposuction?
Liposuction is removing large or small volumes of fat using a vacuum extraction mechanism. Typically, areas resistant to weight reduction programs are contoured to a more ideal profile. This contouring, which removes fat, is not a substitute for proper weight loss programs. Liposuction removes the actual fat cells, thus preventing recurrence of fat deformities. Because there are still fat cells which store fat elsewhere in the body, people may still regain weight.
Tumescent liposuction which is typically done, has a wetting solution (tumescent) injected into the fat prior to removing the fat cells.
Am I a good candidate for liposuction?
Being close to your goal weight, or minimally overweight, is an excellent starting point for those wishing to correct the “bulge.” Being in good physical health speeds recovery and reduces risks. Pre-existing major medical problems need to be corrected or liposuction surgery delayed indefinitely.
Liposuction may be done before or after having children. Fat deposits, which cannot be corrected by exercise, may be removed easily with liposuction after multiple pregnancies. People with good skin elasticity and thickness tend to take up the slack, or loose, skin after liposuction. Without good elasticity, loose skin may develop requiring a tummy tuck for tightening.
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What areas may have liposuction?
One of the most commonly treated areas is the posterior hips, or love handles, where excess fat causes a square appearance to the upper buttocks. The lower anterior abdomen is classically a difficult area to reduce after a few pregnancies. An isolated roll in the upper abdomen which cannot be removed with a tummy tuck can be corrected with liposuction.
Upper medial thigh excess and medial knees create loss of definition in the legs. The lateral thigh bulge (saddle bags) may create an abnormally wide silhouette and often making it difficult to get clothing to fit.
Posterior arms and lower leg calves are improved with smaller volumes of fat removed. Areas of the face and neck may benefit from liposuction alone or in conjunction with other aesthetic surgery. Circumferential liposuction of the waist line or abdomen may be done with buttock augmentation to remove fat from where you do not want it and transfer it to a more needy area. Ankles, breasts and hands may, in special situations, benefit from liposuction.
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How is liposuction surgery done?
For small areas of liposuction, local anesthetic, with or without, sedation may be used. Large areas of liposuction require general anesthesia. The vast majority of cases are out-patient procedures but do require someone to drive you home. Before going to the operating room the areas to be treated are outlined on the skin in a precise topographical-like map.
Before liposuction is started various tumescent solutions are placed in the areas to be treated. This minimizes blood loss significantly and reduces post-operative discomfort. Even with large volume liposuction, it is very rare to need a blood transfusion. Most liposuction incisions are about 1/4 inch, depending on the liposuction cannula size required for a specific area.
Original liposuction surgery, performed in the early 1980’s, used much larger instruments than the small cannulas of today. By using more than one small incision, the removal pattern cress- crosses the treatment area reducing the chances of parallel grooves being formed in the subcutaneous fat. This gives a smoother final surface. The small incisions are closed with dissolvable sutures making suture removal unnecessary.
What can I expect after liposuction?
Most people go home one hour after regular liposuction wearing a light compression garment. This may be changed or removed for bathing. Three to six weeks of compression garment use reduces swelling faster giving a smoother surface. The small incisions have dissolvable sutures so no suture removal is required. Bruising and tenderness vary on how much liposuction is done. With larger volume liposuction, a nurse or caregiver stays with the patient for one or two nights. This is a separate fee which may be arranged through Dr. Hobbs’ patient care coordinator at the time surgery is booked.
Walking is encouraged early. Heavy work is restricted for six weeks but light work, like a desk job, may resume in a week or less.
Follow up visits in the office are arranged for 24 to 48 hours post-operatively depending on how much liposuction is done.
Depending on individual healing differences, final results may continue to improve for the first six to twelve months. Almost all patients have some skin areas with decreased sensation immediately after surgery. For improvement in sensation to reach normal may take several months. Rarely a small area will have long term decreased sensation.
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