Have you tried dieting and exercise, only to find that localized areas of fat stubbornly refuse to go away? If so, you’re not alone. This is a common problem for both men and women, which is why liposuction is one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures in the industry.
Liposuction works by extracting subcutaneous fat from areas where fat hasn’t responded to diet or exercise. Once these stubborn pockets of fat have been removed, you’ll be able to enjoy a more toned figure.
At the Maryland Institute of Plastic Surgery, our experienced surgeons perform liposuction as a standalone procedure or in conjunction with other procedures, such as a neck lift, breast reduction, male breast reduction (gynecomastia surgery), tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), arm lift (brachioplasty), thigh lift, and fat transfer procedures.
If liposuction is performed alone, then it’s best performed for patients who have good skin elasticity; if you also have lax skin or low skin elasticity, you should opt for surgery that will remove both the fat and the excess skin so that you have a smooth, tightened contour.
- Chin, neck
- Upper arms
- Lateral breasts/chest
- Back/bra rolls
- Thighs/inner knees
We customize every liposuction procedure based on your anatomy and your aesthetic goals. Note that liposuction is not a weight loss procedure. It is best performed on patients who are near their ideal weight. Liposuction should be seen as a procedure that refines and sculpts your body, and it’s a way for patients to eliminate the enduring pockets of fat that are preventing them from achieving the body of their dreams.
Your Consultation for Liposuction
During your consultation, we will discuss your concerns about your appearance and your goals for liposuction, as well as your medical history, medications you take, and previous procedures you have had. We will also answer all of your questions, explain what to expect from surgery, and tell you how to prepare for your surgery.
At the Maryland Institute for Plastic Surgery, one of our most important goals is creating natural-looking results. We achieve that by personalizing each liposuction as much as possible. During every consultation, we’ll thoroughly analyze your area of choice so that we can plan your liposuction in incredible detail. We also have a keen knowledge of male versus female aesthetics, so you can rest assured that your results will look right for your unique needs.
The Liposuction Procedure
Liposuction is an invasive surgical procedure, so it will be performed using general anesthesia. The length of time required for your liposuction procedure will depend on the amount of fat to be removed. On average, liposuction takes about 2-3 hours to perform. We will advise you during your consultation on how long you can expect your surgery to take.
In general, liposuction is performed by suctioning subcutaneous fat from the body using a small metal tube called a cannula. The cannula is inserted into the body through small incisions made by the surgeon. Once the cannula is inside the body, it’s moved gently in a back and forth motion to shape the area being treated. Your surgeon will leave fat in specific areas to help shape the body.
We perform three different types of liposuction, but in all cases, small incisions are made. A tube called a cannula is then inserted into the incisions and attached to a suction device.
- Regular liposuction is the traditional form of liposuction. The first step of this type of liposuction is injecting a dilute anesthetic solution in the area to be treated. This solution will prevent bleeding, help keep the patient comfortable, and make it easier to remove fat from the body. Once regular liposuction is done extracting the fat, the incisions are closed.
- Ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL) is used for tough fibrous tissue that’s usually present in the lateral breasts or the back. The ultrasound technology liquefies the fat before it is extracted. It works like this: first, a liquid solution is inserted into the area to be treated. Then, a special cannula that generates ultrasound energy is inserted through the incisions. That ultrasound energy then melts the fat so that it mixes with the liquid solution. That liquid solution is then extracted from the body with ease. With the ultrasound-assisted liposuction, your surgeon can remove fat with extreme precision while protecting the surrounding tissues. This technique also allows for a much faster and more comfortable recovery.
- Laser Liposuction/Smart Lipo is a technique that combines skin tightening with fat reduction. Laser liposuction uses a laser probe inside a cannula to deliver laser energy into the tissues. The laser energy liquifies the fat so that it can be more easily removed from the body. The cannula then removes the liquid fat from the body without affecting any of the surrounding tissues. It can be done with smaller incisions that can heal without sutures, and it results in minimal bruising. The recovery time is also much shorter with laser liposuction. Smart Lipo is so gentle on the tissues and much less invasive that it can be performed in the office as an outpatient procedure.
The most unique benefit to laser liposuction is that that laser energy can be applied to the surface tissues to help tighten the skin.
Preparing for Your Liposuction
Please avoid taking Advil, Aleve, aspirin, Ibuprofen, Motrin, and Naprosyn for two weeks prior to your surgery. High dose vitamins and herbal medications should also be avoided. Most other medications that you take regularly can be taken before your procedure. It is especially important to take blood pressure medication so that your blood pressure remains normal during surgery.
Your liposuction will be performed either in our office or at the outpatient surgery center depending on the method recommended. In all cases, be sure to have someone available to drive you home and stay with you for the first 24 hours, as you will be drowsy from the anesthesia.
Recovering from Liposuction
It’s crucial that you follow your surgeon’s specific instructions for your recovery during liposuction. The success of your recovery will determine how well your outcomes will turn out, so it’s crucial that patients do their best to heal properly. Remember, liposuction is a majorly invasive procedure, so taking the recovery seriously is of the essence.
To help control swelling and to help shape the area treated with liposuction, you’ll be asked to wear a compression garment for 4-6 weeks. For traditional and UAL liposuction, drains will also be placed in the incisions. These drains will prevent fluid from accumulating in the tissues. These drains will be removed within 1-2 weeks of your surgery. There is often a large amount of drainage following these methods of liposuction, so we recommend that you cover upholstery and bed linens with plastic during the first few days after your procedure.
Some bruising, swelling, soreness, tightness, and itching are normal after liposuction. You can take medication, if necessary, to ease discomfort. Other substances like Arnica Montana can be used to reduce bruising. All of these symptoms will gradually subside during the first 2 weeks. As a result, most patients take about 1-2 weeks off from work to recover. If you have had Smart Lipo, your recovery period will be on the shorter end of the range.
Please avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activity for 4 weeks. The full results from your surgery can take 6 months to be visible.
Frequently Asked Questions About Liposuction
Are my Liposuction Results Permanent?
Because these fat cells won’t ever return, your liposuction results will be permanent. One thing to keep in mind is that there will be some fat left over after your liposuction because it’s unadvisable to remove all the fat. Because the remaining fat cells will continue to grow if you gain weight, many surgeons advise maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining a steady weight can help you sustain the outcome of your liposuction.
Of course, if you do gain some weight after your procedure, your weight gain will be distributed evenly.
When Will My Results Appear?
You might not notice an immediate improvement after your liposuction, but it’s only because it takes some time for the swelling and bruising to dissipate. The swelling will be the most severe during the first few days of your recovery, but it will steeply fade after that. The majority of the swelling will be gone around the first month mark. By around 6 months, you should be able to see your newer, more athletic new figure.
How Do I Know Which Form of Liposuction to Get?
Your surgeon will help you determine which liposuction technique will be used for your specific case. There are a few factors that will help your surgeon decide which liposuction technique will be used; for instance, ultrasound-assisted liposuction is used for more fibrous areas like the back, and Smart-Lipo is sometimes used to tighten loose skin on the abdomen (usually a side effect of extreme weight loss, aging, or pregnancy).
Is Liposuction a Weight Loss Procedure?
One important consideration is your weight going into the liposuction; as we’ve said before, liposuction should never be considered as a weight loss procedure. Removing the amount of fat necessary to create substantial weight loss would not be safe. Instead, many patients are advised to be at their ideal weight at the time of the surgery. Patients should also be able to keep their weight stable—fluctuating weight can compromise your liposuction results.
If you’d like assistance getting to a stable, ideal weight, the Maryland Institute of Plastic Surgery’s surgeons will discuss this with you during your consultation.
What Will My Incisions Look Like After My Liposuction?
Only small incisions are required with liposuction. Once these incisions have healed, they’ll look like small moles on the body.