Liposuction is a procedure that uses small, thin metal instruments called cannulas to remove excess unwanted fat from various locations on the face and body. The procedure consists of placement of special fluid into the areas to be treated to assist with post-operative discomfort and bruising, followed by use of the cannulas to treat the desired areas. Various types of liposuction are available and used in our office to provide the most optimal result. Traditional liposuction relies on suction to remove the unwanted fat whereas ultrasonic liposuction incorporates ultrasonic energy as a means of pre-treating an area. This ultrasonic energy assists with melting the fatty tissue and is felt to assist with skin tightening over the treated areas. Areas that undergo ultrasonic liposuction are typically also concomitantly treated with traditional liposuction to more thoroughly remove the fatty tissue and provide a better overall result.
Who is a good candidate?
Patients with good skin tone (minimal stretch marks and/or loose skin) are typically better candidates for liposuction than those with poor skin tone. The procedure involves removal of fatty tissue beneath the skin and relies upon the skin shrinking and tightening around the treated body part. In some cases, patients are candidates for staged procedures whereby liposuction is used to “decompress” a body region in preparation for a second stage procedure where the excess skin is removed.
What is the post-operative recovery?
Recovery is usually around a week or so and is characterized by bruising and swelling around the treated area. Soreness can persist for slightly longer, but in most cases, patients are able to resume normal activities and work within several days following the procedure.
How is the procedure performed?
Several small incisions are made in the areas to be treated. Each access incision is small enough to be closed with a single stitch. Through these small incisions, fluid is injected into the areas to be treated. This fluid assists with post-op bruising and discomfort, and then small, thin metal tubes called cannulas are placed into the fatty tissue and using a to-and-fro motion, the cannulas treat the fat using ultrasonic energy or suction, depending on which technique is deemed appropriate.
What type of result can I expect?
The treated areas will be bruised and swollen for several weeks after the procedure. This swelling subsides with each passing week and final results are typically appreciated several months after the procedure. Scars are typically imperceptible.
What are the potential risk and complications?
Risks with liposuction are the same as with any surgical procedure and can include bleeding and infection. Fortunately, these complications are extraordinarily rare. More common complications include contour irregularities or skin laxity resulting from the procedure.
Are there additional relevant considerations regarding this procedure?
How do I know if I am a better candidate for liposuction or if I need a procedure that requires skin excision (i.e. abdominoplasty)? Both procedures are useful and common in body contouring operations. Liposuction is a first-line procedure for patients without significant amount of stretch marks and for the patient with good skin tone. Incisions are smaller and recovery is quicker with liposuction procedures, but the ability to remove excess skin and tighten the abdominal wall is not a component of liposuction. More often than not, liposuction is used at some point during the majority of body contouring procedures to refine and improve the end result. During your consultation with Drs. Grotting and Cohn, you will have an opportunity to discuss various surgical options and will review benefits and limitations of each specific procedure to help in achieving an ideal result that is tailored for your specific goals.