What is Liposuction?
Liposuction is a surgical procedure that is used to remove fat in many regions of the body including the chin, arms, chest, abdomen, hips, back, thighs, calves and to help shape and contour these areas. Liposuction is commonly employed in conjunction with other procedures which enables Dr. Raj to deliver better outcomes from those combined procedures, such as when breast augmentation is supplemented with liposuction of the armpit to create a trimmer profile.
Surgical candidates for liposuction should be in good general and mental health and have a realistic expectation about surgical outcomes. Liposuction is not weight loss surgery. Ideal candidates are at or around their goal weight with good skin elasticity. Liposuction is most useful in treating isolated pockets of excess fat which aren’t corrected by diet and exercise.
Options and Variations
Liposuction is a safe and reliable technique for fat removal. The traditional option is called a suction-assisted or tumescent liposuction, where a vacuum assisted tube is placed under the skin and used to harvest unwanted body fat. Variations on liposuction are mostly modifications on the process giving a greater degree of control or enabling doctors to remove a larger quantity of body fat. Some variants Dr. Raj may recommend for his patients include:
Ultrasound assisted liposuction differs from traditional liposuction. First the wetting solution is injected into the area of fat removal. A special machine connected to an ultrasound assisted cannula transmits heat to the fat and it is used to break up the fat and make it softer so it is easier to remove. Then a cannula connected to a suction machine is used to remove the fat that has been heated and liquefied. This technique is very useful in patients who have had prior liposuction or in areas with very thick and stubborn fat.
PAL is a special form of liposuction. It is done in a similar manner to SAL (suction assisted liposuction) but the major difference is the cannula can vibrate. These special cannulas use the vibrations to break up fat making it much easier to remove. This technique is more efficient and affords a lower complication rate.
During the initial consultation patients will meet with Dr. Raj and his staff, and a medical history and physical will be conducted to ensure that the patient might safely undergo plastic surgery. Dr. Raj and the patient will then discuss desired outcomes that the patient is trying to achieve with Liposuction and examine whether liposuction is the right option. Dr. Raj may recommend other procedures as necessary to help the patient get their desired results.
Instructions for pre-surgical care will be provided by Dr. Raj prior to surgery based on the patient’s individual surgical plan. Patients may need pre-operative testing in some cases. Dr. Raj will provide patients with a clear timeline and the information required to plan logistically for surgery and recovery.
The procedure is done at an accredited surgery center or at a hospital with the assistance of licensed anesthesiologists. On the day of surgery, Dr. Raj will perform markings to plan the areas of liposuction. The duration of the surgery will depend on how many areas are treated, how much liposuction is to be performed and if other procedures like breast augmentation, breast lift or breast reduction are performed. Dr. Raj ensures that fluid balances are maintained, and safe limits of liposuction are not exceeded. These and other standard precautions help to reduce the risk of complications.
A commonly performed procedure, Liposuction is performed in an operating room under general anesthesia as an outpatient procedure for patient comfort and safety. During the procedure:
A tiny incision is made in the patient at the extraction site.
A small tube, called a cannula, is inserted into the incision.
The cannula is pushed back and forth through the fat layer breaking up the fat cells.
A vacuum is used to suction the fat through the cannula.
Patients may lose significant fluid during liposuction. They receive IV fluids during and immediately after surgery to prevent shock.
This basic liposuction technique is used in all patients undergoing this procedure. Some popular variations on the procedure are described in a previous section.
During pre-surgical preparation patients are given a detailed rundown and timeline for their recovery, inclusive of instructions or protocols unique to their case. It is normal to have bruising and swelling but these will subside with time. Dr. Raj recommends patients wear a compression garments for 6 weeks after the procedure provide comfort and help reduce these symptoms. Usually patients can return to work in 2 weeks, and it takes approximately 3-6 months to see the final result.
Patients can resume their normal exercise regimen 4 weeks after the procedure once the wounds have sufficiently healed. It is important for patients to apply the es different techniques and modalities to help maintain the results. The key for every patient is maintain their weight by having a consistent diet and exercise regimen so there are no weight fluctuations.
Limitations, Risks, and Possible Complications
All surgical procedures come with a risk of bruising, bleeding, infection, and complications from anesthesia. Additionally Liposuction risks include physical damage to subcutaneous structures and tissue, including nerves and blood vessels. There is a small risk of cardiac and pulmonary complications, and the accumulation of fluid. Irregular healing, scarring, and contours may occur as a result of Liposuction. Each technique may have additional risks, ask your doctor for a complete list of complications and how to avoid them.
Q: Is Liposuction a Weight-Loss Procedure?
A: No, liposuction should be thought of as a body contouring procedure. It is not a good procedure to lose weight and it is not a surgery meant for that purpose. Body contouring means shaping and toning the body to give it a more pleasing look. It is important to keep in mind that there are recommended limits for how much fat can be suctioned with liposuction. Too much removal could result in contour deformities or result in more life threatening complications.
Q: Is Liposuction Commonly Performed?
A: Yes, the procedure is one of the most frequently performed plastic surgery procedures. It consistently ranks as one of the top three plastic surgery procedures according to national statistics.
Q: Is Liposuction considered surgery?
A: Although there is a lot of buzz about “lunchtime lipo,” it is important for all patients to understandard that any form of liposuction regardless of how it is marked is a surgical procedure. Like any other surgical procedure, it can be done using various forms of anesthesia but most commonly general anesthesia is used. Secondly, like any other procedure, liposuction carries risk.
Q: What is SmartLipo and is it for me?
A: SmartLipo is a form of laser assisted liposuction. What that means is after the wetting solution is injected into the area of fat removal, a cannula with laser technology is used to heat and liquefy the fat. Then a standard cannula connected to a suction device is used to remove the fat. Smartlipo is a device that performs this form of laser assisted liposuction. This product is good for areas needing skin tightening or areas with fibrous fat.
Q: Do You Perform Hi-Defintion Body Countouring or Sculpting (“etching”)?
A: Yes “hi-def” body contouring is becoming much more popular for men and women who want more toned, well defined bodies. Using special techniques in liposuction, areas of fat can be removed to help muscles to be shown. One common form of etching is defining the abdominal muscles.
Q: Can You Put the Fat from the liposuction elsewhere?
A: Yes, Dr. Raj routinely performs fat grafting or fat transfer. The fat that is harvested is from the liposuction is specially processed and can be injected into the face, breast or buttocks.
Q: Can Liposuction Be Combined with Other Surgeries at the same time?
A: Yes, only certain amounts of fat can be removed in one procedure. Along with the liposuction, other plastic surgeries such as a mommy makeover, breast procedures, tummy tuck, facial aesthetic surgeries can be performed. Dr. Raj can discuss in more detail what procedures can be combined with liposuction.
Q:Can I Have Multiple Areas of Liposuction at once?
A: Yes multiple areas can be treated at once. The limit as to how many areas can be treated depend on the amount of fat removed and the overall operative time. For patients wanting more than 4 areas treated, it is probably better to split the liposuction to be done in two different procedures to help maintain safety and reduce complication rates.
Q: Can I Go Home After The Procedure?
A:In most cases, this is an outpatient procedure and patients can go home after the procedure. Patient who undergo large volume liposuction need to be monitored overnight at a medical facility.
Q: How long does it take to see my results?
A: There is bruising and swelling the first few weeks so it takes 3-6 months to see the effects of the liposuction. At this time the bruising and swelling have resolved but there could be some residual numbness.
Q: Do the results last forever?
A: As long as there are no major weight fluctuations, the results should last. The one important thing to remember is that the skin can become loose as one ages which might require a different procedure to address that issue.
Q: What is the recovery like for liposuction?
A: Most patients can go back to work in two weeks. Patients can resume activities around the house the day after the surgery. Patients are cleared to resume their exercise regimens or physical activities four weeks after surgery.
Choosing a plastic surgeon is challenging and the most important factor is that patients are comfortable with their choice and confident in their surgeon. Some patients will be impressed by Dr. Mohan’s credentials and pedigree as a plastic surgeon while others are comforted by his warm, genial bedside manner. While every patient is different, there is one thing that unites them all when choosing a plastic surgeon – results. Dr. Raja Moja
If you want to learn more about whether or not liposuction is for you please call (469) 301-1725 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Raj Mohan, board certified plastic surgeon serving the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. He operates in Arlington, Grapevine, Southlake, Dallas, Plano, Frisco, Irving, and Coppell.