Sometimes, no matter how much we diet and exercise, there remain little areas of fat that just won’t go away. Liposuction, or suction-assisted lipectomy, is one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures for good reason: it can be utilized to significantly improve the contours of multiple areas of the body, including the hips, thighs, abdomen, back, arms, chest, neck, and other sites with minimal, almost unseen incisions and a relatively short recovery.
Liposuction is most successful if you are in good health and a have a reasonable level of fitness, yet still have disproportionate contours due to localized fat deposits. It is not a treatment for obesity. Obtaining the best results with liposuction requires good-quality skin with few, if any, stretch marks. Stretch marks will not “shrink to fit” the new contours and can actually become more apparent after liposuction. Patients with extensive stretch marks are usually best served by an “excisional” operation such as abdominoplasty, or “tummy tuck.”
Liposuction is done under general anesthesia, usually on an an outpatient basis. The procedure may take an hour or two, depending on how many areas are involved. Very small “stab” incisions are made in out-of-the-way places, and wetting or “tumescent” fluid is infiltrated to reduce blood loss and provide postoperative pain relief. Then, small metal rods called cannulae are used to remove the fat and create shapely contours. Each incision is closed with a single, dissolvable suture, and dressings and a compression garment are placed.
To maintain the safety of the procedure, there is a limit on how much can be done at one time.
Recently, multiple devices have been introduced to the marketplace, including “ultrasound-assisted, power-assisted, and laser-assisted” liposuction. They all claim better, faster results, a shorter recovery with less bruising, and better “skin shrinkage.” However, the scientific literature, as well as Dr. Sewell’s personal experience with many of these devices, has failed to show any superior results for most patients when compared to traditional liposuction. Most of them do add to patient cost, though.
Recovery from liposuction is relatively easy. You should be up and walking around on the day of surgery and can return to office work within three to five days. Increase your activity daily until full activity is resumed at two to four weeks.
Complications such as bleeding and infection occur very rarely after liposuction. Other potential risks include asymmetries and contour irregularities.
Dr. Sewell will speak with you to find out the areas you would like to have treated, what your desired results are, and whether or not you are a candidate.