Liposuction: the Basics
No matter how diligent you may be with your diet and exercise, excess fat in certain places sometimes just doesn’t seem to budge. Often, heredity is to blame for these areas of excess fatty tissue, not lack of fitness or weight control. If those annoying bulges become a big source of frustration or hinder clothing options and fashion choices, then you may want to consider liposuction. And whether you call it liposuction, liposculpture, or body sculpting, it is safer and more effective than ever. In Dallas and Plano, liposuction has become one of the most popular cosmetic body procedures performed at relatively low cost to you.
As you may already know, liposuction can slim and redefine your body. The technique removes unwanted pockets of fat and enhances your shape and self image. It is a cosmetic surgical procedure—one designed to improve your personal appearance from a variety of areas.
Liposuction can be performed on several areas of the body at the same time. Fat removal or contouring may be performed on any of the following areas:
- Chin/Neck (also called submental liposuction)
- Upper Arms and Under Arm Region
- Breast or Chest Area in both men and women
- Mid and Upper Back
- Abdomen (lower abdominal area), Midriff (upper abdominal area)
- Waist, Hips, Love Handles
- Inner Knees
- Calves, Ankles
This overview, though, is not a substitute for a consultation with one of our physicians at the Institute. Our Board Certified Plastic Surgeons can help you to formulate the best plan that would suit your needs. We would like to discuss your goals and evaluate your specific case, including your options because there are many different types of liposuction as well as different combination of areas that may be best suited to enhance your body.
The different types of liposuction that we offer include tumescent or superwet technique, ultrasonic (also called UAL), and laser. Tumescent liposuction is the most common type which involves adding salt water and epinephrine to the fatty tissue in order to prepare it for extraction. Salt water causes the fat cells to swell while epinephrine causes blood vessels to constrict, thereby decreasing bleeding. Ultrasonic liposuction is the technique that uses ultrasonic waves to liquefy excess fat and laser assisted liposuction uses laser light waves to melt fatty tissue. Although it has not been proven conclusively, these last two methods (ultrasonic and laser), may allow for a more thorough removal of fat with less bruising, less swelling, and a faster recovery.
Please note that there are many alternatives as well as outcomes that we will discuss during your consultation. And it is absolutely essential for you to inform your surgeon of your health history so that the best choice is made. For example, even though patients who are at or close to their ideal body weight are the best candidates, many patients who over their ideal body weight are excellent candidates, too. Just as important is having a realistic goal from the procedure and eating and exercising regularly afterward.
Prior to surgery in our fully accredited Ambulatory Surgery Center, you will have all your question answered and have a preoperative evaluation. Sometimes it is necessary to undergo preoperative testing to ensure your safety. As to anesthesia, liposuction may be performed under local, “twilight”, or general anesthesia. The decision as to the best type of anesthesia is a decision that will be made based upon your health status and the extent of your individual procedure. The number of pounds of fat that can be surgically, safely removed is also based upon your health, the amount of fatty tissue present, and decision to perform other procedures during the operation.
As you may have already gathered, liposuction is commonly performed in conjunction with tummy tucks, face and neck lifts, and breast procedures. The decision to perform multiple procedures is a shared one between you and our surgeon. For instance, sometimes more fat can be safely removed if liposuction alone is performed—without additional procedures being performed in the same setting.
Liposuction: The Procedure
The duration of surgery depends upon how many areas are being treated and typically as an outpatient. The surgery requires that small incisions are made in or near the area to be thinned. Since very small incisions are made, it’s almost a “scar-less” procedure. A canula is inserted into the incision after the water and epinephrine is infused into the area (and the ultrasonic waves or laser light waves if either of these methods were chosen). Then the actual suctioning is performed. The canula, which is the actual tool used to remove the unwanted fat, loosens the fat and sculpts the body. Depending on the size of the canula or the length of the incision, an absorbable stitch may be placed to close the incision. Sometimes, the incision is not closed in order to allow the excess water to passively drain from the body or to prevent the accumulation of unwanted pockets of fluid from forming. Afterwards, the areas that were suctioned are dressed in a tight compression garment or girdle that helps control swelling, keeps fluid from accumulating, and aids in the healing process. This girdle is an essential component of the surgery because it really helps your skin to conform to its new shape! The girdle should be “snug”, but not tight.
In our state-of-the-art Recovery Room, our nurse will give you and your caregiver instructions and signs to watch for your overall health and to help us get the results you desire. Remember: the girdle should remain snug, but not tight. We generally recommend you take one week to recover, however this may vary depending on your lifestyle. Many patients have the surgery done on a Friday in order to take advantage of the next full week and weekend for their recovery. During the recovery period over the first few days, it is important to begin “light walking” which will help to prevent complications from occurring. Strenuous exercise, however, should be avoided for several weeks following surgery and then only gradually resumed.
Complete healing will take several weeks to months to occur as the swelling diminishes and the new curves begin to appear. During this period, it is important to eat properly and to exercise. Likewise, it is important to watch the scale to ensure that you are losing weight. Your clothes may fit differently and you may actually change clothing sizes, so do not go to the store to buy new clothes until we’ve told you that your transformation is complete. Secondary procedures may be necessary if your skin becomes too loose or to resolve uneven contours. In general, liposuction is an amazingly powerful procedure that can change your body and your life!
Liposuction in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex
No matter what surgical procedure you choose, it helps to have your recuperation close to family and friends. That’s why people who live near Plano are particularly lucky. Any resident of communities like Frisco, McKinney, Allen, Carollton, and Richardson has the luxury of driving to one of the finest board certified plastic surgery centers in the world. So there’s no reason to leave Texas if you need a little liposuction.
Liposuction Before and After Photo Gallery:
What follows are photos of our liposuction plastic surgery patients. You are viewing an image gallery for Dr. Alan Dulin, Dr. Scott Harris, and Dr. Peter Raphael of the American Institute for Plastic Surgery. Drs. Dulin, Harris, and Raphael are Dallas plastic surgeons who specialize in my liposuction as well as many other cosmetic procedures. To see more detail on any of these patients who have undergone liposuction, please click on any individual image.