Liposuction

What is liposuction?

The Liposuction Advantage

  • One treatment may be all you need to reshape problem areas
  • Treat more areas—and larger areas—in one procedure
  • May be performed with either local or general anesthesia
  • More consistent and predictable result than noninvasive treatments

Liposuction, sometimes referred to as "lipo" by patients, slims and reshapes specific areas of the body by removing excess fat deposits and improving your body contours and proportion.

What liposuction can treat

  • Thighs
  • Hips and buttocks
  • Abdomen and waist
  • Upper arms
  • Back
  • Inner knee
  • Chest area
  • Cheeks, chin and neck
  • Calves and ankles

Liposuction can be performed alone or along with other plastic surgery procedures, such as a facelift, breast reduction or a tummy tuck.

What liposuction can't do

Liposuction is not a treatment for obesity or a substitute for proper diet and exercise.

It is also not an effective treatment for cellulite—the dimpled skin that typically appears on the thighs, hips and buttocks—or loose saggy skin.

What is the cost of liposuction?

The average cost of liposuction is $3,374, according to 2017 statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Liposuction cost can vary widely. The average fee referenced above does not include anesthesia, operating room facilities or other related expenses.

A surgeon's fee will be based on his or her experience, the type of procedure used and the geographic office location.

Most health insurance does not cover liposuction or its complications, but many plastic surgeons offer patient financing plans, so be sure to ask.

Liposuction costs may include:

  • Anesthesia fees
  • Hospital or surgical facility costs
  • Medical tests
  • Post-surgery garments
  • Prescriptions for medication
  • Surgeon's fee

When choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area for liposuction, remember that the surgeon's experience and your comfort with him or her are just as important as the final cost of the surgery.


Case Study

Who is a good candidate for liposuction?

Liposuction is a highly individualized procedure. You should do it for yourself, not to fulfill someone else's desires or to try to fit any sort of ideal image.

Who is a good candidate for liposuction?

In general, good candidates for a liposuction include:

  • Adults within 30% of their ideal weight who have firm, elastic skin and good muscle tone
  • Healthy individuals who do not have a life-threatening illness or medical conditions that can impair healing
  • Nonsmokers
  • Individuals with a positive outlook and specific goals in mind for body contouring

If you are bothered by excess fat deposits located anywhere on your body that don't respond to diet or exercise, liposuction may be right for you.

How should I prepare for liposuction?

In preparing for liposuction surgery, you may be asked to:

  • Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
  • Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
  • Stop smoking
  • Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding

Liposuction should be performed in an accredited office-based surgical facility, licensed ambulatory surgical center or a hospital.

Be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you for at least the first night following surgery.

What are the steps of a liposuction procedure?

The liposuction procedure includes the following steps:

Step 1 – Anesthesia

Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. The choices include local anesthesia, intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.

Step 2 – The incision

Liposuction is performed through small, inconspicuous incisions.

First, diluted local anesthesia is infused to reduce bleeding and trauma. Then a thin hollow tube, or cannula, is inserted through the incisions to loosen excess fat using a controlled back and forth motion. The dislodged fat is then suctioned out of the body using a surgical vacuum or syringe attached to the cannula.

Problem areas that can be addressed with liposuction

Step 3 – See the results

Your improved body contour will be apparent once the swelling and fluid retention commonly experienced following liposuction subside. Get more information about.

 

Specialist

During your liposuction consultation be prepared to discuss:

  • Your surgical goals
  • Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
  • Current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drug use
  • Previous surgeries

Your liposuction surgeon will also:

  • Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
  • Take photographs
  • Discuss your liposuction options
  • Recommend a course of treatment
  • Discuss likely outcomes of liposuction and any risks or potential complications

The consultation is the time to ask your plastic surgeon questions. To help, we have prepared a checklist of questions to ask your liposuction surgeon that you can take with you to your consultation.

It's very important to understand all aspects of your liposuction procedure. It's natural to feel some anxiety, whether it's excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don't be shy about discussing these feelings with your plastic surgeon.

 

Disclaimer

The decision to have plastic surgery is extremely personal. You will have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications of liposuction are acceptable.

You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure and any risks and potential complications.

Liposuction risks include:

  • Anesthesia risks
  • Bruising
  • Change in skin sensation that may persist
  • Damage to deeper structures such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles, lungs and abdominal organs
  • Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Infection
  • Irregular contours or asymmetries
  • Irregular pigmentation
  • Need for revision surgery
  • Persistent swelling
  • Poor wound healing
  • Rippling or loose skin, worsening of cellulite
  • Swelling
  • Thermal burn or heat injury from ultrasound with the ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty technique

These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It is important that you address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon.

Secondary procedures may sometimes be recommended to reduce excess skin. Special considerations are needed when large amounts—usually more than five liters of fat—are suctioned.

During your liposuction recovery, a compression garment or elastic bandages may cover treatment areas once your procedure is completed. These help to control swelling and compress the skin to your new body contours.

In addition, small temporary drains may be placed in existing incisions beneath the skin to remove any excess blood or fluid.

You will be given specific instructions that may include:

  • How to care for the surgical site and drains
  • Medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection
  • Specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health
  • When to follow up with your plastic surgeon

Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period:

  • Where will I be taken after my surgery is complete?
  • What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?
  • Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery?
  • How long will I wear the compression garment?
  • Are stitches removed? When?
  • When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
  • When do I return for follow-up care?

It may take several months for the swelling to fully dissipate. As it does, your new contours and enhanced self-image should continue to develop.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About This Procedure

Use this checklist as a guide during your liposuction consultation:

  • Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
  • Were you trained specifically in the field of plastic surgery?
  • How many years of plastic surgery training have you had?
  • Do you have hospital privileges to perform this procedure? If so, at which hospitals?
  • Is the office-based surgical facility accredited by a nationally- or state-recognized accrediting agency, or is it state-licensed or Medicare-certified?
  • Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
  • What will be expected of me to get the best results?
  • Where and how will you perform my procedure?
  • What surgical technique is recommended for me?
  • How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
  • What are the risks and complications associated with my procedure?
  • How are complications handled?
  • How can I expect my body to look over time? After pregnancy?
  • What are my options if I am dissatisfied with the cosmetic outcome of my liposuction?
  • Do you have before-and-after photos I can look at for this procedure and what results are reasonable for me?

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