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Liposuction

What Is Liposuction?

There are certain areas of our bodies that do not respond well to the traditional weight loss methods of diet and exercise. Liposuction is a very common and popular procedure that removes unwanted fat from areas of the body including the back, abdomen, love handles, outer and inner thighs, knees, calves and ankles, upper arms, breast, and buttocks. At Florida Plastic Surgery Group, liposuction can be performed either under general or local anesthesia and is usually performed on an outpatient basis. Our experienced plastic surgeons typically perform this treatment utilizing the advanced tumescent liposuction technique. Please continue reading below to learn about tumescent liposuction.

What Is Tumescent Liposuction?

Tumescent liposuction is the most common type of liposuction used in the world. Fluid containing numbing medications (i.e. lidocaine) and medications to decrease bleeding are placed around the unwanted fat through small incisions approximately the size of a pencil eraser. The liposuction cannulas (long, thin tubes) are then used to remove this emulsified fat from your body, leaving all the blood vessels and nerves intact. The aim of this treatment is to create an even contour while removing as much fat as possible from the targeted areas of the body through these tiny incisions.

How Is the Liposuction Procedure Performed?

During the tumescent liposuction procedure, one of our experienced plastic surgeons will gently insert the cannulas into the target areas and gradually move them back and forth, ultimately suctioning out the excess fat cells. Since the cannulas utilized in tumescent liposuction are typically thinner than the cannulas used in many other liposuction techniques, our plastic surgeon can create smaller incisions, which can lead to less noticeable scarring. The tumescent technique is designed to minimize discomfort and bleeding, allowing this procedure to be performed on an outpatient basis. Tumescent liposuction also usually involves less bruising and swelling when compared to other types of liposuction, often resulting in an easier recovery process.

Liposuction Vs. Tummy Tuck for Abdominal Contouring

Both liposuction and tummy tuck surgery are effective procedures for abdominal contouring; however, these techniques have some important distinctions. Liposuction is primarily designed to remove excess fat that has collected in an area such as the abdomen. Tummy tuck surgery focuses on the removal of excess skin, while tightening underlying abdominal muscles and pulling the remaining skin taut for a flatter, firmer appearance. For some patients, tummy tuck surgery with liposuction may be necessary to reduce excess, loose skin as well as isolated fat pockets. In cases where an individual’s abdominal concerns are due to excess fat accumulation, and the skin is of good quality (such as minimal stretch marks), liposuction alone may be all that’s necessary to achieve the patient’s goals. Our plastic surgeon will talk with you about the best options for your needs during your initial consultation.

What Areas of the Body Can Be Treated with Liposuction?

Virtually any area of your body that contains a stubborn fat deposit can be treated by liposuction. In most cases, patients seek out liposuction to help reshape their:

  • Abdomen
  • Back
  • Thighs
  • Neck
  • Arms
  • Chest (male)

More than one area of your body can be treated at a time, most often in a single procedure. In certain cases where patients have a higher BMI (body mass index), more than one session may be recommended.

Who Is a Candidate for Liposuction?

Men and women who desire improvement in the shape, appearance, and contour of their arms, thighs, abdomen, chest, back, buttocks, or legs are potential liposuction candidates.

How Do I Prepare for My Liposuction?

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beforeBefore
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Patients should stop taking medications such as Aspirin, Plavix, NSAIDS (i.e. ibuprofen, Advil®, Aleve®, etc), and dietary/herbal supplements such as weight loss prescriptions or Vitamin E prior to liposuction as directed by your surgeon.

What Is the Liposuction Recovery Process Like?

Our liposuction surgery team is trained to help ensure a rapid recovery. The incisions used for this procedure are less than 1 cm and typically heal inconspicuously. Walking after surgery is highly encouraged to prevent a blood clot from developing in the legs. In addition, patients are instructed to wear compression garments for the first few weeks.

Every patient heals differently. The amount of time you will need to recover from liposuction can vary based on a few different factors, including:

  • The extent of your procedure
  • The surgical technique(s) used
  • Your response to pain and initial disability

Most patients need an average of two to three days of downtime before they are able to return to work. You can expect some soreness and discomfort to linger for about two weeks following your procedure, which can be controlled by pain medication. Getting up and taking light walks after surgery is an important way of encouraging your body to heal, and can also help prevent post-surgical complications (such as blood clots).

What Are the Risks of Liposuction?

Liposuction is one of the safest plastic surgery procedures available, but it does come with certain risks, including excessive bleeding, blood clots, skin contour irregularities, and infection. However, because of our surgeons’ extensive training—plus the incisions required for liposuction surgery are so small—the chance of these complications occurring is very low. Be sure to follow all of our doctors’ post-surgical instructions and attend every follow-up appointment they schedule with you to ensure you are healing normally. They can work with you to avoid complications and quickly address them if they arise.

Are There Any Liposuction Side Effects?

Although liposuction involves rather small incisions, it’s important to remember that this procedure is surgical in nature and will create some temporary side effects. Most patients can expect some level of bruising, swelling, soreness, and even numbness in the areas that were targeted for treatment. These are very common side effects that can often be well-managed with medication, and they should fade significantly as the areas heal. A mild degree of temporary skin rippling in the treatment area may also be present; however, this is a less common side effect and it should resolve itself as the tissues continue to tighten. Our surgeons are highly skilled with liposuction procedures and try to minimize post-surgical side effects as much as possible.

How Long Do Liposuction Results Last?

The fat cells that are removed during liposuction will not grow back. However, you can still re-gain fat in your treated area(s) if you are not careful about staying below your original weight. As long as you are diligent about diet and exercise habits, your liposuction results should be permanent.

Are Liposuction Scars Noticeable?

Liposuction typically requires very small incisions, which result in scars that are equally small and often quite inconspicuous. In fact, the incisions for this procedure are usually only a matter of millimeters in length. For many common regions of the body that are treated with liposuction, our surgeons are adept at placing incisions in relatively discreet locations, as well. You will be given detailed instructions on caring for the incisions during the healing process. By following these directions, you can increase the chances that liposuction incisions will heal properly, which is an important factor in minimizing the noticeability of scarring.

Are There Alternatives to Liposuction?

For patients with certain types of aesthetic concerns, there are treatments which can serve as effective liposuction alternatives. Individuals who would like to reduce excess fat in the upper neck area that is causing the appearance of a “double-chin” may benefit from an innovative procedure called KYBELLA®. This non-surgical treatment involves the careful injection of a special solution which can help break down excess fat cells and enhance contours in this area. Other body contouring options, such as tummy tuck surgery and arm lift or thigh lift surgery, may be more ideal for patients who are primarily affected by excess skin in specific body regions rather than excess fat. During your initial consultation with one of our plastic surgeons, we can explore your options and help you decide the treatment that is best for your goals.

How Much Does Liposuction Cost?

The total cost of liposuction is ultimately dependent on the individual patient’s customized treatment plan. At Florida Plastic Surgery Group, the first area of liposuction typically starts at about $3,600, and any additional area is at a discounted rate. For example, the abdomen would be considered the first area and the flanks (sides) would be a second area. Once you come in for your initial consultation and a treatment plan is developed, a member of our team will produce a total cost estimate for the liposuction procedure tailored to your desired goals and discuss the variety of payment options available at our practice. In addition to accepting many forms of payment, our office works with ALPHAEON™ Credit and CareCredit®. These reputable companies offer low- and no-interest plastic surgery financing plans for qualified applicants who would like to pay for their treatment on a month-to-month basis. We will be happy to assist you with finding the best way to bring cosmetic enhancement procedures into your budget.  

Additional Frequently Asked Questions About Liposuction

Is liposuction covered by insurance?

Unfortunately, liposuction is considered an elective cosmetic procedure and is not typically covered by insurance. However, our practice accepts a full range of payment methods, including financing plans from companies such as CareCredit® and ALPHAEON™ Credit, that can make paying for this treatment as convenient as possible.

How old do you have to be to get liposuction?

In most cases, patients must be at least 18 years of age to undergo liposuction surgery.

How much fat can be removed with liposuction?

Excess fat in large, moderate, or relatively small quantities can be removed with liposuction. With that in mind, the risk of complications increases when significantly larger amounts of fat will be removed. This is why patients who are having extremely large volumes of excess fat removed are typically advised to have the surgery performed in stages, spaced apart by several weeks. For safety reasons, it is often better to divide the removal of larger quantities of fat into separate appointments. Once you are evaluated during the initial consultation, we can determine the amount of fat removal that will be necessary to meet your goals.

How much weight can you lose with liposuction?

It is very important to remember that liposuction is not a weight loss solution. While excess fat is removed in quantities that can be measured in pounds, the fact is that liposuction is designed as a cosmetic procedure to address localized fat deposits and improve body contours. Most patients who are good candidates for liposuction are individuals who are already at the average healthy weight for their body type (or close to it), yet they are having difficulty eliminating a collection of excess fat in specific areas.

How can I reduce swelling after liposuction?

Patients will be provided with a compression garment after liposuction surgery to aid the healing process. The compression garment can help reduce swelling following liposuction, and will only need to be worn for the prescribed period of time. Depending on each patient’s needs and the extent of treatment, most individuals experience significant reduction in swelling after about four to six weeks.  

Liposuction can be performed as a standalone procedure or in combination with treatments such as tummy tuck surgery or other body contouring options. If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of liposuction, or if you have further questions, please contact us to schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified plastic surgeons today.

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