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Liposuction Will Help Give Your Body Better Contours and Symmetry

Sep 5, 2008
Suction assisted lipectomy or liposuction removes excess localized fat deposits which cause localized bulges in various areas of the body. Through tiny incisions, small tubes or cannulas are used to suction away the fat deposits.

Liposuction is not designed as a weight reduction procedure. It is a contouring procedure, removing bulges to blend body outlines more aesthetically.

Areas of the body where fat deposits can cause localized bulges include the face and neck, upper arms, upper and lower abdomen, flank areas (love handles), inner thighs, outer thighs (saddlebags), buttocks, knee areas, and calves.

There are two layers or compartments of fat on your body-a superficial layer which has an even thickness over most of the body, and deep compartments which exist mainly in the areas mentioned above. If you are not overweight, but have a localized bulge in these areas, you have excess fat in the deep compartment. Deposits of deep compartment fat are hereditary, and usually do not respond to diet and exercise. Superficial compartment fat, on the other hand, increases significantly with weight gain and decreases with weight loss. Liposuction primarily removes deep compartment fat deposits to remove bulges.

The quality and elasticity of the overlying skin has a major impact on the success of liposuction. When fat is suctioned to remove a bulge, the overlying skin must shrink or contract to fit the new profile. If your skin is excessively loose before the procedure, the additional looseness after suctioning may be undesirable. Your surgeon will discuss the elasticity of your skin during your consultation.

Although there is no absolute age at which the skin becomes too loose for the procedure, after age 45-50 (or occasionally sooner), the elasticity of the skin decreases in most patients.

So to summarize, to be a good candidate for liposuction, you should have localized fat deposits (not be grossly overweight), and have elastic skin overlying the fat deposits.

Liposuction does not significantly reduce your body weight-it is intended to improve contour in the areas suctioned.

When fat is removed from beneath the skin, the skin can become somewhat looser. The degree of looseness depends on the elastic qualities of your skin before surgery and the amount of fat removed.

The amount of fat which can be removed depends on the amount present in each deposit. It is important to leave a thin layer of normal fat beneath the skin to prevent rippling or dimpling of the skin surface. Suctioning can only remove fat. If you have a bulge due to muscle or bone, it will not be removed.

If you have a rippled or "cellulite" appearance of the skin prior to suction, it will not be eliminated by the procedure. It is possible to see small areas of skin rippling, dimpling, or contour irregularities following liposuction.

You will have some swelling, bruising, and numbness over the areas which have been suctioned, though you'll see an immediate contour change. The swelling and bruising usually resolve in 2-3 weeks or sooner, and you'll notice feeling starting to return (if it was decreased) in about 2 weeks. It may take several weeks for feeling to become totally normal. It will take a full 6 to 12 weeks for all swelling to decrease and the full benefit of liposuction to be realized.

Other risks common to all surgical procedures such as bleeding, fluid collections, infection and scar tissue formation occur in a very small percentage of cases. We will give you more detailed information about these and other rare risks in our written information, and encourage you to discuss any which concern you during your consultation.

The Operation
Before your liposuction, your surgeon will very carefully outline the areas of bulging which are to be suctioned, and draw detailed contour lines to further define the shape and contour characteristics of the fat deposit.

Many surgeons use the "tumescent technique," in which a large amount of fluid is placed intially, to swell or "turmesce" the area. This technique allows fat to be removed in a very smooth, symmetrical and safe manner. The fluid helps loosen the fat, provide local anesthesia for operative and immediate post-operative discomfort, and provides epinephrine which decreases bleeding. Tiny incisions, usually less than a half inch long are made in concealed areas, and small suction tubes are inserted to the proper depth of the fat deposit. The tube or cannula is then passed back and forth until an appropriate amount of fat has been removed. It is then moved over about a half inch, and again several passes are made until fat is removed. The entire bulging area is treated in this fashion, carefully removing small amounts at a time, and constantly checking fat thickness and contour as suctioning proceeds.

After suctioning is complete in one area, the opposite side is treated in the same way, comparing the two sides and adjusting contours to best match. Finally, the incisions are carefully closed, and an elastic garment or dressing is placed to put gentle pressure on the skin and prevent excess fluid accumulating in the area which was suctioned.

All of your incisions will be carefully closed with stitches placed beneath the skin, so there's no chance of your having "railroad track" type marks but rather very fine line scars. You'll be able to shower or bathe immediately. None of the sutures will have to be removed-they simply dissolve.

Following liposuction, most patients have very little pain, but rather experience nuisances such as soreness, tightness or fullness.

To minimize fluid collection and swelling in the treated areas, we'll ask you to wear an elastic garment which we provide for two weeks or more after surgery, depending on the areas and extent of your procedure.

Treated areas will feel somewhat sore to you for 48-72 hours, and the soreness will gradually resolve over the next two to three days. We'll prescribe medication for your soreness, but find that most patients require medication for only one or two days.

You may develop slight bruising in the treated areas which will gradually decrease over 7-14 days, depending on your tissue characteristics.

The Stages Of Recovery
Our patients usually want to know about four stages of recovery: hospitalization time, when swelling or bruising is resolved, when they'll be able to return to work or social activity, and when they can return to full aerobic or strenuous exercise.

Liposuction is performed as a day surgery procedure and often in the office. Bruising and swelling will resolve within 7-21 days. Most patients will be able to return to work and social activity within 2-3 days, and to aerobic or strenuous activity within 14 days.
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