Liposuction can dramatically improve the appearance of different areas of the body by removing excess fatty tissue. Many people find that no matter how hard they try, certain areas of the body just don't respond to diet and exercise. Those stubborn fat deposits can make the body look disproportionate and unattractive. While no amount of diet and exercise may be able to give you the slender thighs you want, liposuction surgery can. Dr. Patterson customizes the liposuction surgery for each patient, helping them turn those problem areas into points of pride instead.
There are a number of different liposuction techniques today. In fact, the many varied approaches can be a bit confusing for liposuction candidates. The best way to determine which technique is right for you is a personal consultation and exam with Dr. Patterson. Every patient has a unique body and unique goals, and for this reason Dr. Patterson strongly believes that every liposuction surgery must be customized to the patient for optimal results. Many liposuction surgeries are performed on an out-patient basis today, with the surgery lasting anywhere from half an hour to several hours. The two most common techniques are Tumescent Liposuction and Ultrasound Assisted Liposuction.
- In Tumescent Liposuction, Dr. Patterson will make designate small access points in the area where fat needs to be removed. A mixture called tumescent fluid, made of lidocaine (a local anesthetic) and epinephrine (adrenaline,) is then injected into those access points. The tumescent fluid will cause a reaction in the body fat that makes it easier to suction. A cannula, a very thin tube device, is then used to remove the excess fat. Tumescent fluid also causes the constriction of capillaries, thus helping prevent blood loss during surgery. The lidocaine helps numb the body after being treated.
- With Ultrasound Assisted Liposuction, the same tumescent fluid is injected into the areas where fat removal is needed. A cannula is then placed in the access points. After that, a probe is used to send ultrasonic waves via the cannula. That ultrasound energy liquefies the fat. Once liquefied, the fat can be easily suctioned out via the cannula.
The liposuction process is designed to remove excess fat from beneath the skin. During liposuction surgery, excess fat is suctioned out as the tissue around it is gently shaped into an attractive new contour.
Benefits of Liposuction With Dr. Patterson
Liposuction can be enormously beneficial for anyone who is looking for specific body contouring. For anyone who is self-conscious about a particular part of their body, liposuction can be very liberating - it may allow you to wear a swimsuit with pride rather than having to hide. Self-confidence can rise dramatically with a liposuction surgery, especially if the liposuction corrects something that has bothered you for years.
Planning Your Liposuction
Planning liposuction can begin with a consultation with Dr. Patterson. Discuss lifestyle, work obligations, and personal obligations with Dr. Patterson so he can recommend the optimal time to plan the surgery. Smart planning and preparation will result in an easier recovery.
Preparing For Your Liposuction
Preparation for liposuction can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, depending on the patient's current health and lifestyle. Liposuction works best in patients who are at a normal healthy weight, so weight loss may be necessary prior to the surgery. Generally, patients should be within 10 percent of their ideal weight or have a BMI 25 or below before liposuction should be performed. Patients will typically need to get lab testing done to verify that they are in overall good health and are strong enough for the surgery. Before the surgery, patients need to give Dr. Patterson a list of all current medications, including prescription and nonprescription drugs. Some medicines, especially anything that causes blood thinning, should be stopped prior to the surgery. Smokers should stop smoking prior to the liposuction surgery. Smoking can interfere with the healing process.
Recovery is easiest when patients pay close attention to Dr. Patterson's recovery guidelines. It takes around two weeks for a full recovery. Please be sure to give the body that time to heal properly.
Exercise After Liposuction
Patients should avoid heavy exercise for about six weeks after liposuction surgery. Even moderate exertion should be avoided for around two weeks after surgery. Light exertion tasks and exercise are generally fine. Be sure to wear compression garments during any exercise for the first six weeks.
Liposuction patients will receive specific aftercare instructions at the time of discharge. By following these instructions, the recovery from liposuction will be as comfortable as possible. Aftercare generally includes all of the following.
- Patients receive a compression garment to wear home after liposuction. Continue to wear a heavy compression garment for two weeks, and then change to a medium compression garment such as Spanx or Under Armor for another month. Compression garments can be removed for laundering, but should be worn at all other times.
- Some pain or discomfort should be expected in the first few days after surgery. This can be managed with prescription narcotics or with over the counter pain relievers. Use narcotics with caution since they can have major side effects. If itching occurs around the surgical area, use an over the counter antihistamine like Benadryl.
- Gauze dressings should stay in place for 24 to 48 hours post-surgery. If any bleeding is evident, replace the gauze.
- Use continuous pressure for 15 to 30 minutes to stop minor bleeding that may occur during early recovery.
- Avoid showers (or any moisture) on the surgical site for 24 hours post-surgery. Avoid baths for two weeks.
- Ice packs can be used to reduce swelling and discomfort.
- Since liposuction involves both fat and fluid loss, hydration post-surgery is important. Drink plenty of water, especially in the days immediately after the procedure.
- If possible, elevate the area where the liposuction was performed to help reduce swelling and discomfort.
- Drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, anticoagulants, and NSAIDs can cause excess bleeding, so they should be avoided for at least a week before surgery and three days after surgery.
All About Liposuction
Frequently Asked Questions
Liposuction is well known as a fat removal method -- but there are also a lot of unanswered questions that you may have. Here are the top FAQ's about liposuction from Patterson Plastic Surgery patients.
Am I a good candidate?
A good liposuction candidate is generally someone who is in their target weight range, but who has stubborn fat in certain areas. Liposuction isn't intended as a weight loss surgery, but rather as a contouring surgery for trouble spots. If you have stubborn pockets of belly fat, thigh fat, arm fat, or fat in other areas, even after diet and exercise, liposuction may be right for you. The best liposuction candidates are those who have good skin tone and very elastic skin, without any sagging in the planned treatment area.
Will I have loose skin?
Dr. Patterson has the skill and expertise required to give you the very best results with the fewest complications, so loose skin isn't typically a problem after liposuction. Because liposuction removes fat but not skin, loose skin could result if you don't have good skin elasticity to start with. Dr. Patterson will make sure that you're a good candidate for the procedure, and will do everything in his power to ensure smooth skin and beautiful results afterwards.
What type of results should I expect?
After liposuction, you can typically expect to enjoy a significant reduction in fat in the treatment area. You'll still feel numb for a day or so after liposuction thanks to the anesthetic used during the procedure. Because Dr. Patterson uses a local anesthesia rather than a general anesthesia for liposuction, you'll generally feel well enough to go back to work after a few days to a week. Total recovery time is usually only about two weeks, but you do need to avoid strenuous exercise for around six weeks in total.
You can expect some swelling in the weeks and months after liposuction. By the time you're around six months post-op, your final results can usually be seen. Liposuction results in a permanent reduction in fat deposits, but it's up to you to maintain these results with diet and exercise.
How many areas can be done at one time?
Depending on your individual needs, Dr. Patterson can perform liposuction in up to three or four areas during a single surgery. For example, some patients have liposuction in the thighs, abdomen, and hips during the same surgery. This allows you to save money by having just one longer procedure rather than multiple shorter ones. It also allows you to avoid undergoing anesthesia more than once.
How does liposuction differ from a tummy tuck?
In liposuction, only fat is removed from the body. In a tummy tuck, both skin and fat are removed. Liposuction is for specific problem areas while a tummy tuck can create a major change in the whole abdominal region. The recovery time for liposuction is generally much shorter than that of tummy tuck, and there's usually less pain because it's a less invasive procedure. If you're unsure about whether liposuction or a tummy tuck is the better choice for you, Dr. Patterson is happy to discuss your options with you.
Do you want to learn more about liposuction and whether it will work for you? Contact Patterson Plastic Surgery, the Pensacola cosmetic surgery experts, for more a consultation with Dr. Patterson today.