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Liposuction FAQ

What areas of the body can best benefit from liposuction?

Basically, any area of the body where a pocket of fatty tissue is found can benefit from liposuction. Most commonly liposuction is performed on the abdomen and love handles, but other areas that can be improved via liposuction include saddlebags, arms, inner thighs, knees, neck, back and even calves/ankles.

Can I lose weight by having liposuction? What’s fact and what’s fiction when it comes to losing weight with liposuction?

Liposuction is not indicated as a weight loss procedure. That said, patients do experience some weight loss after having liposuction. Depending on the amount of fat removed during liposuction, weight loss may vary from 1-2 pounds to as much as 10 pounds for larger procedures. It is crucial to avoid weight gain after having liposuction in order to maintain optimal results. Moreover, liposuction can be seen as a motivational gateway to a weight loss program in an effort to maintain results.

Liposuction vs. CoolSculpting, which one is right for me?

Liposuction and CoolSculpting achieve the same thing: the elimination of pesky pockets of fat. However, the right candidate for liposuction vs. CoolSculpting can vary. Patients who need aggressive, far reaching fat removal are better suited for surgical removal of fat cells via liposuction. Patients with smaller, more defined pockets of fat can be better candidates for nonsurgical fat removal with CoolSculpting. Additionally, CoolSculpting procedure protocol dictates that more than one session is recommended for achieving optimal results. The suggested time frame between treatments is about three months. Thus, patients looking for more immediate results usually opt for liposuction over CoolSculpting. Conversely, patients who want to avoid surgery and have more long term goals opt for CoolSculpting.

Is liposuction dangerous?

Liposuction is one of the safest surgical procedures performed today. Since it is typically performed on healthy patients, the risk of post surgical complications is minimal compared to other surgeries. Also, since liposuction does not always require general anesthesia, the side effects of anesthetic drugs may be avoided altogether. Any type of surgery always carries risk and potential side effects, but liposuction is considered a safe surgical procedure.

How much does liposuction cost?

Cost of liposuction varies depending on the size and number of areas of the body that are being operated on. Average cost for liposuction of your abdomen and love handles starts around $5000 and goes up from there as more body areas are added. Administration of anesthesia, if deemed necessary by your cosmetic surgeon, will also add to the cost. As technology advances liposuction, add-ons like high-definition liposuction, J-plasma, Body Tite and other new surgical advances can also add to the final cost.

What is water lipo?

Water lipo involves using a pressurized stream of water to sculpt and remove fat cells. The steady water stream allows for precise sculpting and less damage to the surrounding tissue. A similar procedure, which also promotes precise fat sculpting is known as high-definition liposuction, which uses the same premise as water lipo, but instead of a stream of water, ultrasonic waves are introduced into the fatty tissue. These waves vibrate the fat and destroy the fat cells in an extremely precise and controlled manner. Our surgeons have found, in their decades of combined experience, this ultrasonic technique to be more precise and more effective that water lipo, with the same benefits (less down time, quicker healing, less damage to surrounding tissue, etc.).

Which is better, liposuction or CoolSculpting?

This depends greatly on the patient’s stated goals and desires. Patients who prioritize quicker gratification and manifestation of results, in general, opt for liposuction. Patients who want to avoid surgery and aren’t as concerned with immediate results, in general, opt for CoolSculpting. Other crucial factors can determine which procedure “better” benefits patients. Patients who have smaller, more defined pockets of fat can be great candidates for CoolSculpting. Patients who require aggressive, extensive fat removal are usually better candidates for liposuction.

Is there pain or discomfort after liposuction?

While patients may experience some discomfort after liposuction, it should be minimal when compared with more invasive surgeries. Discomfort should resolve in a few days, and various postoperative pain control methods are available for use after surgery. Liposuction is surgery, in the end, and any surgery carries with it discomfort

What should I look for in my liposuction surgeon?

The most important thing to look for in a liposuction surgeon is experience. While many surgeons perform some liposuction procedures, very few specialize in liposuction exclusively. Be sure to ask prospective surgeons about their experience with liposuction during initial consultation. Liposuction has also changed significantly in the past decade with the advent of new technologies like laser lipo, high-definition liposuction, water lipo, CoolSculpting, J-plasma, radio frequency lipo, BodyTite, and other liposuction and liposuction/skin tightening hybrids. Asking if the surgeons are versed in these technologies and their opinions on these technologies can give prospective patients a good idea how experienced and dedicated to the craft of liposuction the surgeon really is.

How long will it take for me to see results from liposuction?

Typically, you will start noticing results from your liposuction procedure within a few days to a week, depending on the amount of swelling you experience after your surgery. However, your final result may not become apparent until 4-6 weeks after the procedure. It is important to comply with your surgeon’s post-operative instructions, including what type of post-surgery compression garment you’ll need and how long it should be worn. A post-surgery compression garment can be extremely important to achieving optimal results.

How long does liposuction take?

The operation itself takes a total of 1-4 hours depending on the specifics of each individual, but the average patient will spend 3-7 hours at the facility from the point of check in to the point of being able to leave. Factors that determine the length of the surgery include the size of the patient, the number of areas that are being treated and the type of anesthesia that is being used. The surgeon will begin by using a pen to mark the areas of your body that will be operated on, and before photos are taken to help track the progress made during surgery.

How many inches can I lose with liposuction?

Through the liposuction process, the appearance of frustrating “love handles” and a “pooch” can be greatly reduced, ultimately shaving inches off of your waist. The procedure removes localized fat deposits and ultimately slims down your appearance. In terms of how much fat will be removed, there is a wide range. Patients may lose anywhere from 1-4 liters on average. It is important to keep in mind that every patient’s results will be different and based on a multitude of factors and this is something that you can talk to your doctor about during the initial consultation. Patients can lose 2-4 inches around their waist as a result of the procedure but no results are guaranteed.

What are the limitations of liposuction?

Liposuction is generally seen as a very safe procedure, however, there are some limitations on what the procedure can and cannot achieve. It should not be seen as a weight-loss procedure and patients should be aware of these limitations beforehand so they aren’t disappointed in their results. Patients undergoing this procedure shouldn’t expect to leave the procedure with an automatic six-pack or other types of muscle definition. Following the procedure itself, it’s important that patients continue to eat well and exercise regularly to maintain results. It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact results before the procedure, so we aim to give our patients realistic expectations about the results. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Will I have loose skin after my liposuction procedure?

The procedure targets the amount of fatty tissue in the treated area and can significantly reduce the number of these cells. However, the skin itself will likely only be altered minimally, if at all. Consider the visual of a water balloon; when you take the water out of the balloon, you are still left with the skin of the balloon itself. The case is similar when it comes to your liposuction procedure. The goal of liposuction is not to treat excess skin. Skin does have some elasticity that will allow it to retract with the removal of fatty pockets, but in most cases, especially with aggressive fat removal, there will be some excess, loose skin remaining. The good news is that new technologies exist that promote skin tightening along with fat removal, which is accomplished with added modalities during the procedure, which include radio frequency, laser and ultrasound technologies.

When can I exercise after liposuction?

Following your liposuction procedure, you’ll have to give your body the proper amount of time to heal. It's important to move around carefully and cautiously during the week following surgery, but avoid any type of strenuous exercise activities until after your surgeon clears you for this type of exercise. Use common sense when determining how much physical activity that you are doing. We recommend waiting 4-6 weeks after surgery before engaging in more strenuous physical activities.

What questions should I ask at my liposuction consultation?

There are a variety of questions that you can ask your surgeon before you ultimately decide that liposuction is the best procedure for you. Ensure that your surgeon of choice has vast experience with the liposuction procedure. Liposuction is about more than simply removing fat from the body. Just as important is how much fat your surgeon leaves behind to promote natural body shape and sculpting. Liposuction is more of a body sculpting procedure than it is a fat removal procedure. Taking the fat out is easy. Sculpting the fat requires an artistic vision of what the body will become. That artistic vision can only come with vast experience, so make sure your surgeon has that experience. You can also ask where the surgery will be performed so you can better understand the logistical arrangements that you’ll need to make beforehand. You may also ask if you can have liposuction at the same time as other procedures, what techniques will be used during the procedure, possible complications and the specific steps necessary to prepare for the surgery itself. Finally, you can ask about the recovery process and what that entails.

Will I gain fat back after liposuction?

Many patients believe that liposuction is a permanent solution to their struggles with stubborn fat. While the fat cells themselves will be removed during the procedure, there will still be remaining cells that are capable of storing fat once the procedure is over. It’s also important to keep in mind that because the fat cells are reduced in some areas of your body and not all areas of your body, there is a chance that you could gain weight back in areas that you didn’t store fat before. Make sure that you keep your post-liposuction results by eating a well-balanced diet and continuing to exercise on a regular basis.

How should I prepare for my liposuction procedure?

If you're a smoker, it's recommended that you should not smoke or use any type of products containing tobacco for six weeks prior to surgery. Avoid any blood thinners for two weeks prior to the procedure (blood thinners can include pain killers, supplements, herbal teas and other medications, which should all be disclosed to your surgeon prior to the procedure). Avoid alcohol for one week leading up to your procedure. On the night before surgery, make sure that you bathe and wash your hair, as you may not be able to for the days following the procedure. Make sure that you don’t eat or drink anything during the final 8 hours before the surgery, including water and chewing gum. Make sure you wear loose, comfortable clothes before the procedure and avoid wearing jewelry, makeup, hair pins, contacts, creams, nail polish, etc. Arrange for a loved one to drive you to and from surgery.

What kind of scarring can I expect after liposuction?

Scarring is a possibility in most surgical procedures, but the risk of developing a scar as a result of a liposuction procedure is minimal. Scarring is uncommon because the procedure itself utilizes small microcannulas that only require small injections to be made. Scarring factors include the technique used and the individual’s scarring tendency. There are two main types of scars that can appear following liposuction. One is called a true scar and the second is dyschromia that results in either a dark or light spot on the skin. We always make incisions strategically in order to reduce the risk of scarring.

Can liposuction be performed with other cosmetic procedures?

Yes! It is common for liposuction to be performed at the same time as other body contouring procedures including breast augmentation, tummy tucks, breast lifts and a lower body lift. These procedures are combined under one anesthetic which can help reduce the cost for the patient with both anesthesia and the surgery facility itself. In fact, liposuction is one of the most common cosmetic surgical procedures that is combined with other surgeries. Liposuction is also one of the easiest surgeries to recover from, so combining it with other surgeries will not increase the amount of downtime necessary to recover.

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