Are you frustrated by pockets of body fat that have failed to respond to your attempts at diet and exercise? Even people who live a healthy lifestyle can have undesirable fat deposits in areas such as their abdomen, waist, hips, buttocks, thighs, knees, chin, cheeks, neck, and upper arms that prevent them from reaching their fitness goals and looking their best.
If you have worked hard to reach your target weight, but still feel like parts of your body are disproportionate due to stubborn fat, you may be a good candidate for liposuction, which can surgically reshape and recontour those problem areas and improve your self-esteem.
What is Liposuction?
One of the most enduringly popular cosmetic procedures in the U.S., liposuction sculpts the body by removing undesirable fat from targeted areas that are unresponsive to diet and exercise. Local anesthesia or general anesthesia may be used, and the procedure can take anywhere from one to five hours depending on the amount of fat being removed and the type of liposuction being performed.
Your practitioner can use several different methods, including tumescent, the super-wet technique, and ultrasound-assisted (UAL). In all types, your doctor makes a tiny incision in as inconspicuous a place as possible, then breaks up the fat layer and suctions it out of the body using a thin tube called a cannula. The result will be a smoother, more contoured body.
The word tumescent means “swollen” or “firm.” The tumescent technique involves injecting a large volume of a local anesthesia called lidocaine into targeted areas of body fat, causing them to become tumescent. The advantage of this technique is that it results in less bleeding, and, therefore, less bruising after the procedure.
Like tumescent, the super-wet technique also requires injecting local anesthesia but uses less of the fluid.
UAL uses ultrasonic energy to liquefy the fat before removing it from the body. This technique results in smoother results.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Liposuction?
In general, good liposuction candidates are:
- Adults within 30 percent of their target body weight who have elastic skin and decent muscle tone
- Healthy people who do not have a severe illness or medical conditions that can impede healing
- People who do not smoke
- Those with a realistic outlook and specific goals in mind for body contouring
Under most circumstances, recovery from liposuction is usually fast. Most people can return to work within a week, and resume normal daily activities within about two weeks. You should expect bruising, swelling, and soreness for a least a few weeks. However, your recovery time and results will vary based on factors such as the volume of fat cells removed and area you are getting treated.
Be prepared that it may take several months for your swelling to fully resolve. As it does, your newly slimmed silhouette and improved self-image should continue to progress. Your doctor will discuss what results you can expect to achieve and how to best maintain your new body shape.
As you recover from liposuction, your doctor may require you to wear a compression garment to control swelling and help your skin conform to your new body contours. In addition, you may have small temporary drains in your surgical incisions to remove any excess blood or fluid.
We’ll send you home with detailed post-surgical instructions, including:
- How to care for your incisions and drains
- What prescription or over-the-counter medications to take to speed healing and minimize the risk of infection
- Specific warning signs to look for around the incision site or in your overall health
- When to return for your follow-up appointments
We commonly get questions about liposuction from potential patients who are considering the procedure, and we are happy to answer them here.
How safe is the procedure?
Though liposuction has a long track record of patient safety, any surgery includes a risk of complications, such as an infection that can slow the healing process. However, when you choose an experienced doctor to perform your procedure, you will minimize your chances of risks, and feel more confident going into the surgery.
Will I have scars from my surgery?
The incisions are very small. Also, we are always careful to place the incisions in discreet areas, so they remain as unnoticeable as possible and heal with minimal risk of scarring.
I want to lose weight. Is liposuction right for me?
This procedure is designed to help contour your body in areas that are not responsive to diet and exercise, such as a “muffin top” or “love handles.” You shouldn’t confuse liposuction with a surgery such as gastric bypass that helps obese people rapidly lose large amounts of weight all over their bodies. This surgery is best for people who are already within their target weight but have fat deposits they would like to remove from specific spots. Other characteristics that make someone an ideal candidate are good skin elasticity and excellent overall health, which includes avoiding tobacco products.
When will I be able to resume exercise?
As you recover, we do not recommend strenuous or high-intensity exercise. While you are healing, we suggest taking daily light walks at a moderate pace. You can expect to be able to return to your normal exercise routine within one to two weeks of getting the surgery.
Will I see my results immediately?
Most patients should see initial results within the first month or two of getting their surgery. Final results may take as long as a year to reveal themselves, as the swelling goes down and your skin bounces back from surgery.
Can I gain weight after my liposuction?
It is possible for fat to return after your procedure if you fail to maintain your results with good fitness and eating habits. In general, the more weight you gain after liposuction, the less noticeable your results will be. Therefore, the most effective way to sustain the long-term results of your procedure is to maintain your ideal body weight.
Are there any limitations?
While liposuction is an excellent “spot-toning” procedure, there are some misconceptions about what it can do. For example, you will not experience tightening of loose or sagging skin. It also will not improve the look of stretch marks or remove cellulite. Our doctors will consult with you before your procedure to help you determine the best areas for sculpting and what you can realistically expect to achieve by getting liposuction surgery. The best results occur in body areas where there is reasonable muscle tone, where skin elasticity is healthy, and where fat is not excessive.
Is there a target age to get this surgery?
Technically, any person over the age of 18 who fits the appropriate physical criteria can get cosmetic liposuction. However, the quality and resiliency of your skin play an integral role in your results. If we evaluate your skin elasticity and determine it is less than ideal, we may suggest getting a different procedure.
Is liposuction an outpatient surgery?
Yes, you will be able to go home afterward to rest. However, make sure you have a trusted companion drive you home. We suggest you don’t drive for the first 24 hours after surgery, and that you ask a friend or family member to stay with you for the first several hours after you arrive home.
Outstanding Liposuction Results at the Dermatology Medical Group of San Francisco
If you are troubled by excess pockets of fat anywhere on your body that fail to respond to diet or exercise, liposuction may be right for you. Even the most physically fit people often turn to liposuction to banish stubborn body fat once and for all.
At the Dermatology Medical Group of San Francisco, our six board-certified doctors apply their years of training to provide excellent treatment and the highest standards of safety and medical ethics for every procedure they perform. Contact us to schedule your liposuction consultation today.
If you think liposuction might be right for you, call our San Francisco office today at 415-362-2238 to book an appointment.
Do you think Liposuction might be right for you? Call us today for an appointment.