Are you happy with your body but want to do something about a persistent double chin? Or maybe you work out regularly but can’t seem to slim down the pair of “love handles” on your waist. The list of reasons people schedule liposuction consultations at my practice is pretty long and helps explain why the procedure is consistently popular.
Understanding how liposuction works and its benefits and limitations can help you determine if the procedure is right for you. In this blog post, I’ll describe the options you have and what to expect after undergoing liposuction.
How Is Liposuction Performed?
If you’ve spent some time online researching liposuction, you may be overwhelmed by the number of techniques used to accomplish the same goal—removing fat from your body. Traditional liposuction involves making small incisions and saturating the treatment area with a saline solution that includes a local anesthetic and a drug called epinephrine, which causes the fatty tissue to swell and become firmer. Then a surgeon inserts a thin tube called a cannula and vigorously breaks up the swollen fat before suctioning it out.
Advanced technologies, including laser and ultrasound energy, are other options. These, however, include the risk of burning if not performed correctly. I use a technique called SAFELipo®, an innovative process that uses a vibrating cannula to reduce trauma in the treatment area and results in less bruising and bleeding.
Can You Benefit From Liposuction?
Liposuction is popular among both men and women who have stubborn pockets of fat that don’t diminish even when they exercise regularly and consume a nutritious diet. When you choose a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in body contouring procedures, liposuction can be used on virtually any area where fat tends to accumulate.
Liposuction, however, is not the right procedure if you want to lose weight. Even large-volume liposuction removes only 10 pounds of fat. Standard liposuction procedures remove between 5 and 7 pounds. To benefit from liposuction, you should be at or close to the weight you want to maintain and lead a healthy lifestyle. Fat cells removed during the procedure can’t regenerate, but remaining fat cells can get larger if you consume more calories than you burn.
What Is Liposuction Recovery Like?
Compared to other surgical body contouring procedures, liposuction requires a shorter recovery time. The incisions are much smaller than those used for a tummy tuck, for example, and the SAFELipo technique is gentler than other liposuction options. Depending on the treatment area, you can expect to return to work after about 5 to 7 days.
You won’t see the results immediately. In fact, the treatment area may appear bloated during the initial stages of recovery. As the swelling gradually resolves, your new contours will emerge. The full effect of the procedure could take 2 or 3 months to be visible.