As one of the most popular procedures in the United States, it is no doubt you have heard about liposuction. In 2016 alone, 235,000 liposuction procedures were performed in the United States. While most think of it as something out of Hollywood glitz and glamour, it is absolutely an attainable and sought-out procedure for the general public.
What Exactly Is Liposuction?
Liposuction is a cosmetic surgery procedure that involves suctioning fat from the body. A tool called a cannula is inserted under the skin, and targeted areas of fat deposits are removed. In some cases, a laser assists in loosening and liquefying fat for easier removal. Common areas are neck, knees, stomach and hips, where stubborn fat tends to accumulate and is difficult to remove using other methods.
Who Is a Candidate for Liposuction?
Liposuction can fix a wide array of small target areas. The versatility of the procedure has many interested, but not all fit the qualifications of the procedure. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons recommends that liposuction candidates:
- Be a fully grown adult
- Be within 30 percent of their ideal weight
- Have firm and elastic skin
- Have good muscle tone
- Be nonsmokers — healing processes are inhibited by smoking
- Be without life-threatening illnesses or conditions that prevent healing
- Have overall good health
- Have realistic goals for body contouring
You may not be a candidate if you are looking for liposuction as a means of weight loss instead of body shaping. While weight loss does occur from liposuction, it is a side effect and not the ultimate goal. Liposuction is meant for sculpting and reshaping, and the results can be reversed with weight gain.
What You Can Expect Before, During and After
Before the procedure, you will be asked to remain on a healthy diet and exercise regimen. You will consult with Houston Plastic surgeon Dr. Schusterman on your specific goals, and together, you will decide which areas you will treat with what types of liposuction. The procedure itself usually lasts around 45 minutes, and depending on the location of treatment, will either be under general anesthesia or local anesthetics. You may be asked to wear a compression garment to reduce swelling in the days following your procedure. You can expect to have some degree of soreness after the procedure that gradually gets better after a few days. You may experience some site tenderness for up to eight weeks.
FAQ About Liposuction
The results of liposuction are permanent in the sense that the fat that was removed will not grow back. The new shape you have when you recover will be the shape your body holds; however, weight gain can change the effects of the procedure.
The cannula is very small and is inserted into the skin as little as possible to reduce the amount of scarring associated with the procedure. A very small incision is made for the cannula, and skin with good elasticity generally responds very well and scars lightly.
That depends on your case. It is important to keep in mind that liposuction is for shaping and contouring specific areas and is generally used to make subtle but pleasing changes. Having realistic contouring goals will help you be satisfied with your new shape.
If you are unhappy with some areas of stubborn fat deposits, liposuction may be for you. This fast procedure with relatively light downtime could forever change the way you see your body.