Jefferson K. Kilpatrick, MD | Russell B. Stokes, MD | Hannah Parbst, Esthetician
Liposuction (or lipoplasty) is a body-sculpting procedure to remove fat that is unresponsive to dieting and exercising. This procedure can be applied to nearly any area of the body and is commonly used on multiple areas during an operation. Liposuction is now the most commonly performed cosmetic procedure in the United States. The primary reason for this is the effectiveness of the procedure. We can now smooth out problem areas of fat with tiny incisions (4-8 millimeters), and a very short recovery time. The operation can be performed under general or local anesthesia with IV sedation.
Power-assisted liposuction refers to a new technology whereby the tip of the suction tube vibrates at a rapid speed. This vibration loosens the fat cells so that they may be suctioned away gently with less trauma to the surrounding tissues. PAL is performed using tumescent technique. This involves infusing large volumes of saline, local anesthesia and adrenaline. This maximizes the effectiveness of the fat removal and patient comfort, and it helps to minimize bruising. Power-assisted liposuction has several important advantages over the older techniques of ultrasound -assisted liposuction (UAL) and suction-assisted liposuction (SAL).
These benefits include increased safety, decreased anesthesia time, less bruising, faster recovery, increased efficacy and greater precision. Research has shown that power-assisted liposuction is an effective and safer way to eliminate unwanted deposits of fat.
Reasons for Considering Liposuction:
- Eliminate fat from any of the following areas:
- Chin and Neckline
- Upper Arms
- Stomach and Waistline
- Hips and Buttocks
- Thighs and Knees
- Calves and Ankles
- Create a more proportioned figure
Liposuction is not a replacement for proper exercise and diet. Instead, it is a reduction procedure for stubborn areas where fat accumulates. Used in combination with several areas of the body, liposuction can provide a well-proportioned body appearance. Ideal surgical candidates are those already in good physical condition but have stubborn areas that do not respond to diet and exercise.
Liposuction can be done under general anesthesia with the patient asleep or under local anesthesia where the area is numbed and the patient remains awake. Through a tiny incision, a narrow tube or “cannula” is inserted and used to vacuum out the fatty tissue beneath the skin. The surgeon determines the amount of fat to be removed by massaging the skin and squeezing the tissue. After eliminating the excess fat, the incisions are closed by applying a compression dressing or bandage to the area in order to prevent bleeding, reduce swelling, and support the affected area.
There are several different types of liposuction procedures, such as tumescent or ultrasound liposuction, that have developed as a result of recent advancements in new technologies. Together the patient and the surgeon can discuss which method(s) are best during the initial consultation visit. Liposuction procedures can last from thirty minutes to several hours depending upon the amount of fat to be removed. Liposuction surgery is an excellent procedure that can benefit those who want to remove unattractive fatty deposits.
New techniques allow for faster recovery from liposuction procedures. The length of the recovery will depend on how extensive of an operation the patient undergoes. Generally, post-operative instructions call for plenty of rest and limited movement in order to speed up the healing process and reduce the recovery time. A support garment may need to be worn for several weeks after the surgery, depending upon which area(s) are selected to utilize the liposuction procedure. Patients sometimes report minor pain associated with surgery which can be treated effectively with oral medication. While complications are rare, patients can minimize the risk for potential problems by carefully following the directions given after surgery.