I have been performing liposuction procedures for more than four years and have attended multiple programs for advanced techniques in liposuction and contouring procedures. During this time, I have noticed a significant improvement in results when using these techniques in combination with personal experience.
Liposuction and abdominoplasties are two of my favorite types of procedures. Liposuction is the use of negative pressure (vacuum/suction) to remove unwanted and excess fatty tissue. This procedure can be accompanied by the surgical removal of excess skin, which is what is known as a “tummy tuck” or abdominoplasty. Liposuction gives an immediate improvement in the shape and contour of the body and can be used in a variety of areas, which may come as a surprise to many patients who believe that liposuction is confined to the abdomen. This misconception may be because this is a prominent “problem area”. Liposuction can remove excess fat from the flanks (sides), lower back, bra strap area, thighs, hips, buttocks, upper arms, breasts, and even the neck and face, in addition to the upper and lower abdomen.
Here are a few examples of patient results in non-traditional areas for liposuction:
Liposuction can be safely performed on any of these areas as an outpatient procedure in a cosmetic surgeon’s office with the use of conscious sedation, or what is often referred to as twilight anesthesia. In most situations, a local anesthetic is used in the area where the fatty tissue is to be removed, which not only increases the comfort of the patient during the procedure, but also decreases the amount of intravenous medications needed to control discomfort during and after the procedure.
The expected downtime following a liposuction procedure is variable. Many patients choose to return to work the very same afternoon, while others prefer to make arrangements to take it easy for a few days in case they do not tolerate the discomfort as well as they had hoped. The level of discomfort, as well as the length of downtime, is dependent upon multiple factors:
- The amount of fatty tissue removed
- The area from which the tissue was removed
- Whether or not the liposuction procedure was combined with surgical removal of excess skin
Another misconception many patients may have regarding liposuction is the amount of preparation that exists prior to the actual procedure, beginning with the initial consult. During the consultation, the patient expresses which areas of their body are the biggest concern to them. At this point, I am able to determine and explain to the patient where they will see the best improvement and results and discuss realistic expectations. This type of communication and reinforcement of realistic expectations from the procedure continues throughout the course of treatment until well after the procedure is performed. While there is continued improvement along the way, the final result is not always realized until several months after the date of the procedure. Baseline photos taken during the initial consultation can be compared with post-operative photos, which will allow the patient to see the transformation they are undergoing.
Not everyone is a candidate for liposuction, however, and informing patients of this may be the most difficult part of any pre-procedure consultation. Some patients may visit our practice with unrealistic expectations and have the impression that liposuction is a weight loss procedure, which it is not. To get the best results from any liposuction procedure, the patient should be within ten pounds of their goal weight and in search of a procedure that will help shape and sculpt their body. There are some patients who could benefit from the contouring liposuction provides following a significant weight loss, but if they have a substantial amount of excess skin associated with the weight loss, the results of liposuction alone would not necessarily lead to a desired look without surgical removal of the excess skin. This person is an example of an ideal candidate for a combination of liposuction and tummy tuck.
Liposuction should be part of a comprehensive program for body transformation and this is the way that we choose to address it in our practice. Although a patient may not initially be a candidate for liposuction, we can provide therapies that enable the patient to achieve weight loss goals prior to surgery. These methods include the use of Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy and comprehensive education on nutrition and weightloss customized for the patient by Lori Garaffa, our in-house nutritional consultant. One of our goals at Germantown Aesthetics is to treat the whole patient inside and out, which ultimately yields better results for the patient.
Click here to view more before and after photos.