Liposuction is the process of surgically eliminating extra, unwanted fat deposits that have built up over time. Oftentimes, these fat deposits have proved tricky for individuals to burn or reduce through traditional exercise and dieting. There are many reasons why someone may consider liposuction as a viable option for cosmetic enhancement. Each individual has their own unique challenge when it comes to fighting off extra weight gain and their own struggle with body image. Some may seek to change their body shape due to excess fat pockets in one singular area or a variety of places on the body. Individuals may be experiencing the development of isolated pockets of excess fat due to the natural aging process, weight fluctuations over time, a recent pregnancy, or other factors. Liposuction can target a wide range of areas to help you enhance your body contours with beautiful results.
Many patients have two distinct options when seeking to eliminate excess fat deposits: liposuction and CoolSculpting®. Traditional liposuction is a surgical procedure that uses strategic incisions to remove targeted areas of fat cells, while CoolSculpting® is a non-surgical procedure. With CoolSculpting®, the goal of reducing unwanted, extra fat remains the same, but the treatment does not require surgical incisions or general anesthesia. Isolated fat groups in the abdominal region and various regions throughout the body can be targeted with this method. Using a special applicator, fat cells can be “frozen” via a controlled cooling process, causing them to slowly break down. The body naturally filters out the unwanted fat cells through the metabolic process. CoolSculpting® may be recommended for individuals with mild to moderate cases of excess fat. It may not be the best solution for patients who would like to address larger or more severe cases of excess fat. While liposuction is a surgical procedure and will require a period of recovery, CoolSculpting® offers more immediate results with less downtime and fewer side effects. You can continue to work and exercise during your treatments, and no special compression garments are required.
During your initial consultation, Dr. Coberly will evaluate your needs to determine whether surgical liposuction or non-surgical CoolSculpting® is the more ideal option.
For many individuals considering procedures that can address abdominal aesthetics, liposuction and tummy tuck surgery (abdominoplasty) share a common goal to enhance the abdominal region and recontour the midsection for a firmer, slimmer appearance. However, each treatment uses a different technique, and is designed to address distinct concerns.
For patients who struggle with excess fat that has accumulated in isolated body areas (such as the abdominal region), liposuction is focused on removing fat cells and getting rid of stubborn fat pockets that have not responded to diet and exercise. Alternatively, for those with loose abdominal skin or a “protruding” abdomen, a tummy tuck targets that particular area to remove excess skin around the stomach, tighten abdominal muscles, and smooth out the remaining skin. If a patient is affected by both of these concerns, there is also the option to undergo both procedures at the same time. In fact, there is often a liposuction component added to tummy tuck surgery in cases where the concerns are caused by both excess fat and excess skin. During your consultation, Dr. Coberly will discuss a personalized treatment plan for liposuction, a tummy tuck, or a combination of both procedures depending on your needs and goals.
The process of liposuction begins before the operation. It is recommended that you make efforts to reach your ideal weight (or close to the average healthy weight for your body type) before surgery as liposuction is not a substitute for traditional weight loss efforts. Instead, the procedure is designed to target specific areas of the body where there is an unwanted buildup of fat deposits.
There are a variety of techniques Dr. Coberly can utilize for liposuction. The best technique for your needs will be determined during your consultation and incorporated into the customized treatment plan. Generally, the liposuction procedure involves the insertion of thin cannulas through very small incisions to gently suction out the excess fat cells. The length of the treatment will depend on the size and number of areas being targeted; however, liposuction is typically performed on an outpatient basis and should not require an overnight hospital stay. General anesthesia or sedation is usually required for this treatment.
Overall, side effects from liposuction tend to be mild. Patients may experience temporary swelling, redness, soreness, and bruising around the affected area. Symptoms generally ease during the recovery process within a few days to a week (or more) depending on the extent of the surgery.
Although not as common, some patients may experience spots of numbness, infection, blood clots, and fluid accumulation, which are possible with virtually any incisional procedure. However, under the care of a board-certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Coberly, these risks can be reduced. Prior to treatment, patients will learn about recovery recommendations, as well as receive home-care instructions following the procedure. To lessen recovery time and ease associated discomfort, it’s best to carefully follow these directions in order to maximize the potential of achieving a safe recovery and the full benefits of the treatment.
After the liposuction procedure, patients may begin to see initial improvements within one week, followed by more prominently visible outcomes within about six weeks. Final results are expected at around six months. Liposuction can help eliminate stubborn fat deposits and enhance body contours with very long-lasting results. While these purged fat cells will not grow back, it’s important to understand that significant weight fluctuations or weight gain may affect other regions, produce new fat growth, and lead to unbalanced contours in the treatment areas. Therefore, it is important that patients commit to maintaining a healthy diet and exercise regimen after the procedure. Setting a long-term plan to sustain a stable and healthy lifestyle is the key to long-term, beautiful liposuction results.
When performed by an experienced plastic surgeon like Dr. Coberly, liposuction is typically considered a safe procedure that produces successful results. There are potential risks with any surgery, but when liposuction is performed in a well-equipped environment by a skilled professional, the chance of complications can be reduced. Dr. Coberly is happy to discuss any concerns or questions at your initial consultation, and she will go over all risks and benefits associated with the procedure so you can make the best decision possible for your needs.
While liposuction targets fat pockets for a newly contoured physique, the procedure is not designed to remove cellulite. The treatment may slightly reduce the appearance of skin puckering but won’t completely eliminate it or provide significant improvements. The tightening of fibrous bands of tissue leads to cellulite dimples and liposuction is not designed to address those features.
Liposuction is considered an elective cosmetic procedure, meaning it is not typically covered by insurance. However, our financing options can help make the procedure more accessible and payments more manageable for many individuals.
While liposuction can help contour the body, it is not intended as a weight loss treatment. Ideal candidates are often near their desired weight or at the average weight for their body type. Liposuction can help with eliminating stubborn fat deposits in localized areas; however, it will likely not produce significant weight loss.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons notes that the amount of fat that can be safely removed during liposuction will likely depend on the patient’s body mass index (BMI) and should not exceed five liters.* The safest approach and amount removed for you will be determined by your individual needs and treatment plan.
Swelling is a common side effect from liposuction after the procedure. The use of compression garments as instructed can help control swelling during recovery, and the effects should significantly dissipate over the ensuing weeks. Additionally, limiting intake of foods that are high in salt (which can exacerbate inflammation) and avoiding smoking can be helpful in managing swelling.
Liposuction can be performed on those 18 years of age and older. Patients, regardless of age, should recognize the risks and benefits involved with the surgery, and should be sure to see a qualified, experienced plastic surgeon who will evaluate them thoroughly before determining they are an ideal candidate for the procedure.
If you have additional questions about liposuction, or if you are ready to schedule a consultation with Dr. Coberly, please contact us today.