LIPOSUCTION - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is liposuction and body sculpturing?

Liposuction is a surgical technique that improves the body’s contour by removing excess fat from fatty deposits located between the skin and muscle. Body sculpturing by liposuction is literally a dream come true. Localized accumulations of fat, which are often hereditary and frequently impossible to eliminate by exercise or dieting, can now be removed permanently by liposuction surgery, never to plague you again.

Liposuction involves the use of a small stainless steel tube called a cannula. Connected at one end to a specialized suction pump, the cannula is inserted through tiny skin incisions. The removal of fat is accomplished as the suction cannula creates tiny tunnels through the fatty layers. After surgery, these tiny tunnels collapse, resulting in an improved body contour. [Return to Top]

About Fat

The body fat of an adult tends to increase gradually over the years. After the age of 30, an individual tends to add fat according to a genetically predetermined pattern. This fat distribution is often resistant to exercise and dieting. An example of genetically predetermined fat distribution that is resistant to dieting and exercise is the fat that appears on the abdomen and hips of a woman after pregnancy. For many people who have inherited the tendency to accumulate excessive fat, liposuction is the only realistic means of significantly changing the body’s silhouette. [Return to Top]

What areas can be treated by liposuction?

The most frequently treated areas in women are the abdomen, hips, thighs, knees, calves, ankles, and beneath the chin. In men, who comprise about 25% to 30% of patients who undergo liposuction, the most commonly treated areas include the love handles, abdomen, breasts, and the neck and chin area. [Return to Top]

Are the results of liposuction permanent?

Fat cells that are removed by liposuction do not grow back. As long as the patient does not gain an excessive amount of weight, the new, more pleasing silhouette is permanent.

A woman who always tends to put weight on her thighs and knees, will find that after liposuction, these areas are less likely than other areas to accumulate fat when she gains weight. In fact, a number of patients have had liposuction and subsequently gained weight. In these patients, the areas originally treated by liposuction generally maintain their new desirable silhouette, whereas areas not treated by liposuction are the sites of new deposits of fat. [Return to Top]

What is the Tumescent technique?

The Tumescent Technique of liposuction was developed in 1985. The Tumescent technique involves the use of large volumes of a dilute solution of lidocaine (a local anesthetic) in combination with the vasoconstrictive drug, epinephrine, which shrinks capillaries.

Local anesthesia used in the Tumescent technique for liposuction is so effective that patients no longer need intravenous sedatives, narcotic analgesics, nor general anesthesia. This technique is now considered the safest form of liposuction for removing very large amounts of fat because there is virtually no blood loss. Not only has the Tumescent technique proven to be safer than the standard technique using general anesthesia, but it also has proven to be less painful, has minimal post operative recovery time, and produces optimal cosmetic results.

With the Tumescent technique, infiltrating the local anesthesia is associated with minimal discomfort. Once the area has been completely numbed, surgery in that area is essentially painless. In addition, because the numbness remains in the treated area for more than 12 hours, there is no pain immediately after surgery. [Return to Top]

What are the risks?

As with any surgical procedure, liposuction is associated with certain common side effects such as bruising, swelling, and temporary numbness. Although irregularities of the skin are possible following liposuction, this side effect is minimized by the Tumescent technique. When larger cannulas are used, occasionally there are patients with an irregularity of the skin. Since smaller, microcannulas became available, noticeable irregularities are very rare. Because of the slow resolution of post liposuction swelling, the ultimate results following liposuction usually require 12 to 16 weeks to become fully apparent. Nevertheless, patients can usually see dramatic improvements within two to four weeks after surgery.

Although the results of liposuction are often quite spectacular, it is not realistic to expect perfection. Liposuction of the thighs, while improving the silhouette, does not necessarily eliminate the subtle “puckering” of the skin that is often referred to as “cellulite.” Liposuction with the Tumescent technique does reduce the degree of cellulite but it is unlikely to eliminate it. Rare problems that can potentially occur with any surgical procedure include infections, bleeding and nerve injury, The Tumescent technique, however, minimizes these risks.[Return to Top]

How does the Tumescent technique reduce risk of infection?

Infections are extremely rare, regardless of whether or not the anesthetic technique is that of general anesthesia or local anesthesia. Although there have been reports in the medical literature of patients who have had serious infections following liposuction surgery, to the best of our knowledge, there have never been any patients who have had an infection following Tumescent liposuction performed using only local anesthesia. Lidocaine, the local anesthetic that is used for the tumescent technique, kills bacteria. With the Tumescent technique the areas that are being treated surgically are those same areas that will receive the local anesthetic that kills bacteria. [Return to Top]]

When can I return to normal activities?

Because of the significant decrease in swelling and decrease in inflammation and pain after surgery, patients are able to return to normal physical activities very soon after the procedure. There is no limitation of physical activity other than what common sense would dictate. Some patients are able to return to jogging, golf, or light aerobic exercise within a day or two after surgery. Some patients do find the soreness after surgery to be more significant than others, but on the average, most patients are surprised at how quickly they are able to return to normal activity.[Return to Top]

How does the Tumescent technique result in better and smoother results?

Because very small cannulas are used with the Tumescent technique, it permits a more delicate and gentle approach to liposuction as the surgeon can control the direction and position of the cannula with much more accuracy. This results in a greatly reduced risk of inadvertently approaching the undersurface of the skin too closely and unintentionally causing skin irregularities. Further, the use of very small cannulas enables the surgeon to make such small incisions that no stitches are used. The wounds heal by themselves and virtually disappear over time.

By not using stitches to close skin incisions, the rate of healing is faster. Another benefit of not stitching the incisions closed is that, after the procedure, the open incisions permit easy drainage of the slightly blood-tinged anesthetic solution. This has a dramatic effect in minimizing bruising. Most patients notice that bruising is almost entirely absent after surgery. [Return to Top]