Despite a proper diet and exercise, many men and women find that they have stubborn areas of fat that won’t go away. Likely the result of genetics, these fat deposits are out of proportion with the rest of their body. It’s these excess pockets that are a good candidate for liposuction.
Liposuction can be performed on areas of your body where there are minimal amounts of excess skin. If your skin sags as well, Dr. Lee may recommend a body contouring procedure in addition to your liposuction.
Liposuction can be used to remove excess fat in the stomach, buttocks, hips, “love handles,” “saddlebags,” thighs, calves, ankles, breasts (including male breast enlargement), back, arms and neck.
This procedure can slim and shape very targeted areas of your body, offering a balanced figure, a body that reflects your healthy lifestyle and a boost in self-esteem.
It Begins with a Consultation
If you would like to address those areas of fat that resist diet and exercise, you’ll first meet with Dr. Lee for a consultation. He will take the time to get to know you and to understand what you hope to achieve with liposuction. Dr. Lee may ask you to point out in a mirror what areas you would like to target with liposuction.
Be prepared to share your medical history, including previous surgeries, medical conditions, drug allergies and current medications. Dr. Lee will conduct an exam to assess the elasticity of your skin, take measurements of your lower body and take photos for your records.
You and Dr. Lee also will discuss maintaining a healthy lifestyle and weight. You may be required to lose weight before undergoing liposuction. This procedure cannot treat large areas of fat. It’s important to be near your ideal weight before undergoing liposuction surgery.
Share with Dr. Lee whether you plan to become pregnant in the near future as well.
Before your Liposuction
Knowing what to do and what to expect before your surgery will make for the best possible outcome.
If you’re a smoker, you will be asked to stop smoking well before surgery. You may need to get lab testing or a medical evaluation, to take certain medications or adjust your current medications. You will need to avoid aspirin and certain anti-inflammatory drugs before surgery, because they can cause increased bleeding. Dr. Lee will provide additional preoperative instructions.
Your surgery will be performed at the fully accredited Southwest Surgical Suites. Be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery and to stay with you at least the first night following surgery.
Be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery and to stay with you at least the first night following surgery.
Most liposuction patients receive general anesthesia, though local anesthesia and intravenous sedation may be an option as well. Dr. Lee will recommend the right anesthesia for you.
Your Liposuction Procedure
In most liposuction procedures, your fat is removed through a hollow metal tube called a cannula that is inserted into the tissue through very small incisions. It typically is vacuumed out via a pump in suction-assisted liposuction (SAL). The cannula may have a motor that makes the cannula vacillate, also know as power-assisted liposuction (PAL).
The fat may be broken down by ultrasound or by laser before it’s removed by SAL. Dr. Lee will choose the procedure or combination of procedures that is best for you.
After Your Liposuction
When your surgery is complete, you’ll be taken into a recovery area where you will be closely monitored. You may be wrapped in compression garments to reduce swelling and smooth and support your tissue, or these may be added later. You’ll receive detailed instructions for your post-surgical care and, in most cases, you’ll go home in just a few hours. You will need a caregiver to drive you home and to stay with you for the first 24 hours to watch for signs of complications.
Most patients feel sore after liposuction, as if they had been working out. In the first 48 hours after surgery, you’ll notice swelling and bruising. The bruising should disappear within seven to 10 days, though the swelling may last longer. You’ll be encouraged to rest for the first few days.
Dr. Lee will remove your stitches within a week of your liposuction. You’ll need to avoid straining, bending over and lifting for the first week to two weeks. But you should be able to resume normal activity in approximately 10 days.
Understanding the Risks
Liposuction is one of the two most common plastic surgery procedures. (Breast augmentation is the other.) Significant complications are rare. And Dr. Lee is a board-certified plastic surgeon with decades of experience. But any surgery comes with risk. The risks associated with liposuction include:
- hematoma (an accumulation of blood under the skin that may require removal)
- changes in sensation
- allergic reactions
- damage to underlying structures
- need for revisions
- unsatisfactory results possibly necessitating additional procedures and medical risks
- indentations and irregularities
- uneven contours
- rippling or loose skin
- irregular pigmentation
- fat clots
- blood clots
- excessive fluid loss or fluid accumulation
- unattractive scarring
- thermal burn or heat injury from ultrasound with the ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty technique
- anesthesia risks
- change in skin sensation
- skin discoloration or swelling
- pain, which may persist
- damage to deeper structures such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles, lungs, and abdominal organs
- poor wound healing
- persistent swelling in the legs
- deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
- possibility of revisional surgery
If you experience shortness of breath, chest pains, or an unusual heart rhythm, seek medical attention immediately.
Dr. Lee will discuss these risks with you during your consultation. Please be sure to ask him about any questions or concerns that you might have.
The Results of Your Liposuction
Your new shape will continue to reveal itself over the course of several months, when the swelling fully dissipates. Your results will be long-lasting unless you gain a significant amount of weight, which can reverse your results.
Along with an improved self-esteem, your new contours after liposuction can better reflect the healthy, fit lifestyle that you lead.
The key to truly successful liposuction is maintaining an open line of communication with Dr. Lee and adhering to his recommendations. He and his team are eager to respond to your questions and concerns and can help provide skin care to maintain and enhance your results—they are your partners in achieving the results that you seek.
Sources: The American Society of Plastic Surgeons; The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery