Liposuction is a procedure wherein excess deposits of fatty tissue are suctioned out from the body.

The purpose of the procedure is for body contouring, and it is not intended as a major weight loss procedure.  It is one of the most common procedures performed in plastic surgery.

Many people experience the development of unwanted, localized deposits of fat in their bodies as they age. Both hormonal factors and genetic predispositions likely also play a major role in their development.  These regions may persist in spite of proper diet and exercise, and contribute to the disproportionate appearance of the figure. Liposuction works by removing excess fatty tissue to reshape the body contours and create a slimmer appearance. Liposuction can be performed alone, or it may also be performed in conjunction with other procedures such as abdominoplasty (tummy-tuck), brachioplasty (arm-lift), or thigh-lift surgery.   Liposuction is not an effective treatment for cellulite or obesity. Individuals, who consider liposuction should be healthy and relatively fit, have firm and elastic skin, and good underlying muscle tone.  We prefer that they are also within 30% of their ideal body weight.

While there are several different liposuction techniques, the tumescent technique is probably the most common type performed. Prior to removing fat, tumescent fluid is injected into the treatment area through a large hollow tube known as an injection cannula. This solution is usually composed of saline solution (salt water,) lidocaine (a local anesthetic), and epinephrine, and it helps to numb the treatment area, control blood loss, and facilitate fat removal.

The surgeon will insert the liposuction cannula into the fat layer beneath your skin. Using a forward and backward motion, he will use the cannula to loosen and break apart the fatty tissue in the area. A second tube known as a suction cannula is used to remove the fat. The tube may be connected to a vacuum device or to a large syringe. Following the procedure, the incisions will likely be closed with stitches, although some incisions are so small that they can heal without sutures.

After the Surgery

You should expect to experience some pain, swelling, and bruising following the procedure. Your physician may suggest that you wear a compression garment for two to six weeks, which in some cases may be an important part of your recovery process. It is also important to avoid sun exposure until all the bruising resolves.

A compression garment is tight fitting, and holds the tissues together, while providing comfort and support as you heal. The compression garment controls swelling by preventing fluid build up in the treatment area, and also helps the skin conform to the new contours of the body.  It also helps to reduce the risk of bruising and bleeding after surgery.

You will likely be able to return to work in one week, but it is generally advised to avoid strenuous activities for 4-6 weeks after surgery.   You may be able to notice some improvement in your appearance soon after surgery. An even greater improvement should be noticeable within four to six weeks following the procedure, as the swelling subsides. The final results will most likely be noticeable in approximately three months.  Areas that have been liposuctioned may in some cases fee lumpy to deep palpation, but this usually goes away after 3-6 months.

Although fat cells are permanently removed from the treatment area during the procedure, it is important to realize that liposuction does not prevent additional weight gain. In order to maintain the results from your procedure, it is important to follow a healthy diet and exercise routine. It is also important to realize that there will be scars in the areas where the liposuction tube are inserted, although they are expected to be small and they are generally placed in inconspicuous areas whenever possible.