You diet, you exercise, and still your body can have unsightly bulges and fatty areas. This could be a matter of heredity, something that’s not in your control. If you’re troubled by diet-resistant fat deposits, liposuction might be the solution. Liposuction can permanently remove annoying areas of fat to smoothly re-contour your body.

Liposuction is one of the most commonly performed cosmetic surgeries today, most often applied to the belly, love handles, arms, neck, legs and chin. You’ll notice a change in your silhouette soon after surgery. And by eating healthfully and exercising regularly, you can maintain your pleasing new shape.

How liposuction works

During liposuction, also known as “lipoplasty” or “suction lipectomy,” localized deposits of fat are surgically removed. Your experienced Plastic & Hand surgeon inserts a small stainless steel tube called a cannula through a tiny incision in your skin. The cannula is pushed then pulled through the layer of fat, breaking up the fat cells and then suctioning them out through a vacuum pump or large syringe.

Call us at 775-3446 to schedule a consult with one of our plastic surgeons. Questions? Click here to Ask Bonnie!

Liposuction 3-D Animation

What liposuction surgery involves

We perform liposuction surgery on an outpatient basis in our state-of-the-art surgical center. During your initial consultation, your surgeon will evaluate your health, the condition of your skin and the fatty deposits to be removed — then recommend the liposuction technique that offers you the best result:

With tumescent liposuction, the most common technique, your surgeon injects large amounts of fluid (as much as three times the amount of fat to be removed) into the fatty tissues before fat removal begins. The fluid is a mixture of an intravenous saline solution, a local anesthetic and a drug that contracts blood vessels. This technique facilitates the removal of large amounts of fat while greatly reducing blood loss, minimizing bruising and alleviating pain.

The super-wet technique is similar to the tumescent technique, but uses less fluid — usually equal to the amount of fat to be removed.

Usually, liposuction is performed under local anesthesia. During extensive liposuction surgery, we may recommend general anesthesia instead. Surgery can take from half an hour to several hours, depending on the area to be treated and the amount of fat to be removed. Fluids lost along with the fat will be replaced intravenously during and immediately following surgery.

After liposuction surgery

After liposuction surgery, you may experience soreness, swelling and bruising and possibly some numbness at the treatment site. These symptoms are normal and should start improving in a few days. We generally recommend wearing snug elastic garments for several weeks to reduce swelling and help your skin adapt to its new contours. We may prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection.

Your surgeon will recommend that you start walking as soon as possible to reduce swelling and help prevent blood clots from forming in your legs. You may be able to return to normal activities in a couple of days or, at most, a couple of weeks. It’s best to avoid strenuous activity for a month or so.

While you will see a noticeable difference in your body shape soon after surgery, the improvement will be even more apparent in four to six weeks as the swelling subsides. After three months, any remaining swelling should be gone and you’ll enjoy the final, lasting result. Liposuction permanently removes fat cells, so if you maintain a stable weight, your new shape will be permanent too!

Risks from liposuction

Complications from liposuction are rare, but they can occur. Risks are greatest when a number of areas are treated at the same time or when a large area is being treated. These risks include infection, the formation of fat clots or blood clots, excessive fluid loss or damage to skin or nerves. Scars will be as inconspicuous as possible, however there can be imperfections in the re-contouring of treated areas. Your surgeon will discuss these and other possible risks with you.

Who should consider liposuction?

The most suitable candidates for liposuction are of normal weight with firm, elastic skin who have pockets of excess fat in localized areas. Liposuction carries a greater risk for people with diabetes, heart or lung disease or poor blood circulation. Because there is a limit to the amount of fat that can be safely removed, people who are significantly overweight will need to diet before considering surgery.

As with any surgery, this is a big step to take. A consultation at Plastic & Hand Surgical Associates will determine if liposuction is right for you.