For many people, the weight loss process can be either very satisfying or very frustrating—and is often a little of both. Unfortunately, not all areas of fat respond to diet and exercise in the same way, and it’s very common for people to struggle with isolated areas of fat that simply won’t go away no matter what they do. These “problem areas” can be disheartening, and can even make other weight loss milestones seem less significant. For people who struggle with problem areas, liposuction can be a great way to contour the body and remove unwanted fat.
Liposuction is a very well-known and popular procedure, and for good reason. Patients can have almost any area of the body treated for excess fat, and the other benefits of the procedure can include streamlining, slimming, and contouring the body. Liposuction is not a tool for weight loss, as the amount of fat removed during the surgery is relatively small. However, the difference in the body’s aesthetics after the procedure can be very significant, and most patients find they have increased confidence and self-esteem following liposuction.
There are many different technologies used for modern liposuction, and each doctor has their own preferences, tailoring each procedure to meet individual patients’ needs. Modern techniques help keep discomfort low and recovery short while providing excellent results.
A consultation with Dr. Alvarez in Miami is a must if you are considering moving forward with liposuction. Besides giving your surgeon a chance to evaluate your candidacy and determine if liposuction is a good fit for your needs, consultations are the time to discuss your goals and learn more about the procedure. You will have the opportunity to get to know Dr. Alvarez, ask questions, and figure out what your next steps are. Your consultations are extremely valuable, so come prepared with specific questions and be open and honest with Dr. Alvarez.
As with any cosmetic procedure, good candidates for liposuction are adults in good health. Ideal candidates are people who have reached their goal weight but still struggle with isolated areas of unwanted fat. Liposuction candidates should not be expecting significant weight loss, and need to understand the purpose and expected results of the procedure. Viewing a variety of before and after photos can help prospective patients see what is realistic to expect following recovery from liposuction. The consultation is a perfect opportunity to assess candidacy and address any questions about the procedure.
The type of anesthesia used will depend on the amount of fat to be removed, the type of liposuction, and the patient’s preferences. Local anesthesia, sedation, and general anesthesia can be used depending on the situation.
Once anesthesia is administered, the incisions will be made. Liposuction incisions today are extremely small, because the tools used to perform the surgery have become smaller as well. Incisions are placed in every area that will be treated. There is no limit to the number of areas that may be treated at once, as long as the plastic surgeon is confident that it is safe to treat multiple areas at a time. Again, this is determined on a case by case basis.
In traditional tumescent liposuction, an anesthetic fluid is infused into the treated area to reduce trauma to the area. A small hollow tube known as a cannula is then inserted into the incisions. This tube has a dual purpose: it is used to loosen the unwanted fat before it is suctioned out through the cannula. The surgeon will carefully contour all the treated areas using this technique before finishing up the procedure.
After the procedure, a compression garment will be provided. This must be worn for several weeks following the procedure (according to surgeon instructions). This garment helps to guide the body into its new contours and also helps to reduce swelling.
Some swelling, bruising, and discomfort are to be expected following liposuction. Depending on the extent of the procedure, the placement of temporary drains may be necessary. Any drains placed are usually removed about 7-10 days later. Many patients can return to desk jobs within a week, but others may need more time to recover. Surgeon instructions should be followed as closely as possible, and it’s important for patients to follow guidelines on returning to normal activities to promote healing and reduce the risk for complications.
Choosing the Right Surgeon
If you are ready to move forward with liposuction, then your first step is finding the right surgeon. You’ll want to consult with several experts before you make a decision. Besides technical skill and examples of excellent work, it is important to choose a surgeon whom you feel you can trust—a surgeon who emphasizes safety and results while making you feel at ease. Consultations are the best way to get to know prospective surgeons.
What are the most common areas of the body to be treated with liposuction?
The most obvious treatment areas for men and women alike are the stomach, hips, and thighs. However, many other less common areas can be treated for unwanted fat as well. Areas such as the arms, back, breasts, knees, face, and calves can also benefit from liposuction. It all depends on what your needs are and your surgeon’s recommendations are.
Can the fat come back after surgery?
While fat cells removed through liposuction are permanently destroyed, this does not mean you can never gain weight again. Remaining fat cells can still expand, causing excess fat to become a problem once again—though typically not in the same area. It’s important for liposuction patients to be dedicated to maintaining the results after surgery (through diet and exercise) to prevent this problem.
What are the risks of liposuction?
As with any surgery, there is some risk to liposuction, though risks are small. Some problems that can occur include bleeding, infection, anesthesia complications, irregular contour or pigment in the skin, damage to tissues, poor wound healing, and rippling skin. Your surgeon will go over the risks with you before the surgery, and a skilled surgeon will be able to keep your risk for complications low, provided you follow all pre and post-operative care instructions as closely as possible.
Will liposuction leave scars?
Because the cannula used in the procedure are extremely small, the scars involved with the surgery are also small. Liposuction involves low risk for significant scarring, and most people who receive the treatment barely notice the incisions after a while.
What’s the difference between liposuction and “lift” procedures?
Procedures like the tummy tuck, arm lift, and thigh lift are very different from liposuction, though they are often combined with liposuction for comprehensive results. While liposuction is used to resolve unwanted fat, lift procedures tighten sagging skin, address contour, and sometimes even work with underlying muscle structures. Liposuction is excellent for removing fat deposits, but must be combined with a lift procedure to address sagging skin.
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