Liposuction is not to be used as a weight loss tool, but it can play an important role in removing some unwanted fat that remains despite a healthy diet and regular exercise.
WHY DO PATIENTS SEEK LIPOSUCTION?
Patients typically seek this procedure for areas of localized fat that persist despite a fairly constant weight loss and exercise regimen.
BRIEF SURGICAL FACTS
This procedure can often be done with a local anesthetic for small areas of fatty tissue. A general anesthetic is required for multiple areas and for larger areas. The incisions are small, and most patients are off of work for only two to three days. Recovery is fairly rapid as far as resuming normal activity. There may be minor to moderate pain and swelling for up to 4-6 weeks. Compression garments typically have to be worn for between 2-4 weeks.
Liposuction is often done in tandem as a combined procedure (such as a “Mommy Makeover”), or a breast reduction. Submental liposuction has particularly dramatic, successful results.
Small incisions are made near the areas of fatty tissue. We employ what is called the tumescent technique, where fluid is injected into the areas to help minimize blood loss. Also this will be used as a local anesthetic. Fat is then suctioned through small cannulas and the incisions are closed. Patients are then typically put on a compression garment. Bruising and swelling can last for 6-8 weeks, but resumption of activity is fairly rapid.
DR. JANE ROWLEY’S THOUGHTS ON LIPOSUCTION
“While we can suction fat from almost anywhere on the body, the concern is what happens to the skin after the fat is suctioned. A lot of areas of the body have fairly poor skin elasticity, and this can be worse in some patients than others. Some areas just naturally do better with liposuction than others, such as the outer thighs, hips and the chin or submental region. Areas that do not do well are typically the inner thighs, the abdomen (especially after pregnancy), and the arms. It is important that patients do not view this as a weight loss tool. It is for localized areas of fat and it can give exceptional and dramatic results if used on the right patient in the right areas.”