Liposuction basically involves suctioning fat from the body for cosmetic purposes. It is accomplished using cannulas which are small hollow metal tubes. These cannulas have small holes at their tips which trap fat when moved to and fro through the tissue. The trapped fat in the cannula is attached to a suction canister where it is suctioned to and collected. Smaller cannulas called microcannulas provide finer results.
No, it’s a lot more complicated than that. In fact, it’s not the fat that is removed that is important. It’s the fat that is left and what condition it is left in. Not only should the fat layer be smaller but it needs to be smooth and well contoured. This is where the art of liposuction trumps the science of liposuction. It takes artistic skill to sculpt and contour the body areas so that they look natural and improved. Think of the analogy of sculpting a statue from a block of stone. If we just took as much stone as possible with a sledgehammer, without paying attention to the shape, the resulting statue would not look good. But if we take our time, use fine instruments and focus on the artistry of what we are doing, we end up with a beautiful sculpture!
There is an empty space between the skin and muscle where the fat once was. Your body will fill this area with fluid which causes swelling. The body will remove this swelling over the next several weeks and months and is helped by compression garments, massage and exercise. The body will also reorganize the remaining fat and contract the skin and connective tissue. Final results could take 3-6 months.
We usually dispose of the fat as medical waste. However we now know that fat is rich in stem cells and can be transferred throughout the body. Fat transfer works great for buttocks augmentation, breast augmentation and facial volume. It’s your own fat and very safe and the stem cells can provide long-lasting results and rejuvenation.
Liposuction always used to be performed in the operating room under general anesthesia. General anesthesia is actually riskier than the liposuction procedure itself. Plus there is a long recovery from general anesthesia as well as no postoperative pain control. The development of tumescent anesthesia changed all of that. Using a saline solution containing lidocaine and epinephrine, local anesthesia is provided easily and quickly. The tumescent anesthesia provides numbness, no bleeding, and protects the surrounding tissue. So the risk of general anesthesia is avoided and the numbness lasts long after the procedure. Plus there is no recovery and you are back on your feet immediately.
Besides using tumescent anesthesia and microcannulas, should I look for laser or ultrasonic liposuction procedures? The answer is yes as these are the latest innovations to improve liposuction results. Laser liposuction like Smartlipo and ultrasonic liposuction like Vaser, improve the collection of fat as well as provide skin tightening. They both basically generate heat that melts fat and causes skin contraction. When used properly they produce superior results and are very safe.
Liposuction prices vary widely. When done under tumescent anesthesia, the extra costs for general anesthesia and operating room charges can be avoided. As we already discussed, the tumescent liposuction is safer and superior to general anesthesia and is preferred. The other liposuction costs are determined by the area of the body treated and the amount of fat involved. It is important to remember that the amount of work necessary for liposuction of a large abdomen can be equivalent to liposuction of multiple areas on a smaller patient. So the liposuction prices should be determined during your consultation and individualized for your body. The liposuction cost should also include your preoperative physical and labs, compression garment and follow-up visits. Extras like massages and other treatments are an added bonus to look for included in the liposuction price.
Liposuction is a minimally invasive surgical procedure with some risks. The small incisions can leave scars but by avoiding large incisions we dramatically lower the risk of infection and speed recovery. The tumescent anesthesia needs to be prepared properly and based on your body weight. Your surgeon and his staff are responsible for ensuring proper preparation and administration of the tumescent anesthesia. A good preoperative physical should identify and lessen any medical problems or medications you have that may interfere with a safe procedure. The other advantage of tumescent anesthesia is that only the skin and fat are numb. All underlying important structures continue to have sensation and you would stop any damage to them. The facility should also have the necessary emergency equipment and personnel (MD and RNs) in case of unexpected events. With properly selected patients and experienced and trained staff, liposuction risks should be minimal.
Liposuction recovery is remarkably fast with tumescent anesthesia. At the end of the procedure, you are back on your feet immediately and go home numb. You will probably develop soreness later on and pain medication should be provided. You will also develop some swelling that will last several weeks. The small incisions should be left open to allow the remaining tumescent fluid and melted fat to drain by gravity. This will further speed your recovery as absorbing these fluids are inflammatory. Most patients are back to work in a few days and exercising again in the first week. Wearing a compression garment, massage and regular exercise will further hasten liposuction recovery.
Liposuction alternatives are improving but liposuction is still the gold standard for fat removal and body contouring. The results from Smartlipo Laser Liposuction are unparalleled. Newer noninvasive and nonsurgical procedures are beginning to approach liposuction results. The newest, Coolsculpting by Zeltiq uses a non invasive applicator to freeze the fat. This causes the fat to die and a produces a 25% reduction per treatment. Kybella involves injecting medications into the fat layer to cause them to dissolve. . If you are too obese for any of these procedure, weight loss is your best bet. Getting your weight down would then make you a candidate for liposuction or these alternatives. The Weight Loss Diet provides a fast and safe way to lose weight, learn how to eat properly and keep the weight off indefinitely.
Liposuction when combined with a laser can provide a great deal of skin tightening. There many factors that affect the amount of skin tightening including the amount of heat delivered, the condition of the skin, the amount of skin laxity and the patient’s age and health. Stretch marks indicate severe damage to the skin and can only be removed by cutting out the skin. Healthy patients with mild to moderate skin looseness respond well to laser liposuction skin tightening. Patients with severe skin laxity can also benefit. They may require an extra session of laser skin tightening. If an excision of skin is necessary, the skin tightening may make mini tummy tuck possible. The goal is to avoid the large incision, risks and long recovery of the traditional tummy tuck.
Cosmetic surgeon Dr Lawrence Broder MD has been performing liposuction for more than eight years. Thousands of Austin patients have had their liposuction procedures at Beleza Medspa. Beleza surgeons are experts at Smartlipo Laser Liposuction under local anesthesia. Contact us now for your free consultation.