Whether caused by aging, pregnancy, or weight loss, many of us may find ourselves struggling with significant changes in body weight at some point in our lives. These changes can result in persistent fat deposits that are frustratingly unresponsive to diet and exercise. If you’re unhappy with the localized areas of stubborn fat you can’t seem to lose even with healthy lifestyle choices, The Plastic Surgery Group of Memphis may be able to resolve these issues with liposuction. This procedure can help to bring your shape back into balance, improving the natural contours of your body and increasing your self-confidence.
What is liposuction?
Liposuction, also known as “lipo,” is best known as a fat removal procedure. It is also an effective way to help redefine the overall body shape. In fact, liposuction is often used to refine the results of other procedures precisely because of how well it is able to contour the natural curves of the body. For example, it can be combined with a facelift, breast reduction, or tummy tuck. The procedure itself has only a few small incisions, and allows our surgeons to sculpt specific areas of the body by targeting and removing stubborn fat. Liposuction is most often used on the arms, thighs, abdomen, back, hips, buttocks, chest, male breast, neck, face, calves, and ankles.
How does liposuction work?
Although liposuction involves multiple steps, the surgery is usually an outpatient procedure. Depending on the amount of liposuction you need, it can be safely performed using local anesthesia, intravenous sedation, or general anesthesia. We will always recommend the anesthesia method that is most appropriate for your needs.
During the liposuction procedure, small incisions will be made near the treatment area. A cannula, or thin tube, is then inserted through these incisions to loosen the excess fat beneath the skin and suction it out. Depending on the number of areas being treated, the entire procedure can take anywhere from an hour to three hours. However, it may sometimes take longer to achieve the desired results. Once the targeted fat is removed, some excess skin may remain. For this reason, some patients prefer to combine their liposuction with another body contouring procedure that includes skin excision, such as a tummy tuck or thigh lift.
What liposuction techniques are available?
There are a number of different liposuction techniques available today and sometimes they can be combined by your surgeon. The main difference between each is simply the type of technology used in the fat removal process. When you schedule a consultation with The Plastic Surgery Group of Memphis, our surgeons will discuss which technique is right for you and your body. These options may include:
With essentially all forms of liposuction, prior to suctioning the fat, your surgeon will inject a “wetting” solution into the treatment area in order to minimize bleeding and discomfort during the procedure. This is often referred to as “tumescent solution” and is made of a saline based solution, epinephrine, and often lidocaine. The solution is partially suctioned out and partially absorbed by your body.
Suction Assisted Liposuction
All liposuction requires a vacuum-like device to help remove the fat through a thin tube, or cannula, into a canister.
Power Assisted Liposuction
This technique uses a machine that enhances the vibratory motion of the liposuction cannula used to remove the fat. The vibration breaks up the fat cells to make suction smoother and faster.
Ultrasound Assisted Liposuction
This technique uses ultrasound energy to help break up and loosen the fatty tissue, allowing for fat to be moved more effectively and quickly.
This technique will often be known under brand names like SmartLipo and Slimlipo, and uses laser energy to help dislodge fat cells.
Who is a good fit for liposuction?
In general, our surgeons are able to achieve the best liposuction results when a patient is in good overall health with a stable body weight, but has localized fat deposits that are resistant to diet and exercise. Liposuction may be helpful to you if you have:
- excess fat deposits on your hips, belly, thighs, neck, or chest that do not respond to diet or exercise
- certain areas of your body that aren’t proportional to the rest of your figure
- good skin elasticity with little to no sagging
- achieved or are close to your ideal body weight
Keep in mind that liposuction is the surgical removal of fat, and while it can succeed in removing that fat where other methods have failed, it is not a method for losing weight. It is also not designed to eliminate cellulite or tighten up skin that is loose or sagging.
What is the liposuction recovery process like?
Following a liposuction procedure, you’ll need to spend some time resting and recuperating. You will need a special compression garment to wear during this period to help assist in proper healing and resolution of swelling. Often, a few sutures will be removed during a follow-up visit soon after surgery. Although some swelling and bruising will occur, these are common side effects that are only temporary. As the swelling subsides, the results of the procedure will become visible, and you should be able to return to work and regular activities as soon as you feel comfortable enough to do so. Depending on how much liposuction you have done, this may be as soon as just a few days after surgery, but exercise and other strenuous activities should be avoided for at least a few weeks.
Once healing is complete, you’ll be left with improved contours and proportions, and as long as your weight remains stable, the results should be long-lasting. However, liposuction does not remove all fat cells, so it is still possible for you to regain weight. To maintain your results, we encourage you to stick to a healthy diet and exercise routine.
Life after a liposuction procedure
With the proper care, scars should fade significantly in the months following surgery, and in many cases, scars will be barely visible after a year or so. You may notice some mild tightening of your skin with liposuction, but it is not the overall goal of the procedure. Liposuction removes fat cells from your body, and these fat cells will not grow back. However, as mentioned above, it is important to maintain a stable weight to maintain your results. If you gain a significant amount of weight in the future, your overall appearance is likely to change as your body stores excess fat in other locations.
Find your best body with The Plastic Surgery Group of Memphis
When performed by a qualified, experienced Plastic Surgeon, liposuction is a safe procedure and an excellent way to improve the overall shape of your body. Here at The Plastic Surgery Group of Memphis, our doctors have decades of combined experience and beautiful results to back them up. The best way to decide if liposuction is right for you is to schedule a consultation with a surgeon. Click here or call 901.286.8566 if you’re ready to take the first step towards the body you’ve always wanted!