What is liposuction?
Liposuction is a procedure that sculpts excess and unwanted areas of fat that tends to be more resistant to diet and exercise from the problematic areas. The most common areas treated include the abdomen, love handles, back, thighs / saddlebags, arms, knees, neck, and buttocks. During the procedure, very small inconspicuous incisions are made to first allow fluid containing medicine to minimize bleeding and reduce pain to be infiltrated. Next, Dr. Forsberg uses suction cannulas to artistically sculpt the areas of excess into a better contour. Liposuction is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures because it can dramatically improve your shape safely and with minimal scarring and a quick recovery. It is frequently combined with other desired procedures like breast surgery or tummy tucks.
The patient below is a 52 year old female patient of Dr. Forsberg’s who had liposuction of her flanks, lower back, thighs, and knees at the same time as her abdominoplasty procedure.
How do I know if I need liposuction or a tummy tuck?
In multiple areas of the body, including the abdomen, arms, and thighs, people debate between liposuction and procedures where skin is excised, such as a tummy tuck, thigh lift, or arm lift (brachioplasty). The obvious advantage of liposuction alone is that there is minimal scaring from the procedure, and the recovery tends to be much quicker. Liposuction is great for reducing the bulge in localized areas of excess fatty tissue. It does very little, however, at improving issues related to skin excess. In most cases, the skin will shrink and contract some following liposuction but this may be less as people age or in people with poor skin elasticity. Skin excisional procedures leave a more significant scar and take longer to recover from, but they directly deal with the issue of skin excess. After a thorough discussion and examination during your consultation, Dr. Forsberg will give you his recommendations. The good news is that if you are on the fence, and decide to go with liposuction instead of a more involved procedure, you can always come back and excise the skin later if you are concerned about the appearance of loose skin.
What should I expect during the recovery process from liposuction?
After liposuction, you can expect the treated areas to be sore, swollen, and bruised. Generally, the worst of this is over within the first few days and most patients stop prescription pain medications during that time. You should be up walking the day of surgery and this will increase as pain and swelling go down. Depending on their job, most people return to work within a week after liposuction. Although you might feel like it, more rigorous exercise should be avoided for the first 3-4 weeks after surgery to minimize extra swelling and the chance of fluid collections. You will wear a compression garment on the area for about 6 weeks. This helps to reduce swelling faster, and promotes skin shrinkage and a smooth final contour. While most of the swelling is gone within the first week after surgery, it takes at least 3 months before all of the swelling is gone and you can appreciate your new contour completely!
How long will the results of liposuction last?
What happens if I gain weight after surgery?
Technically, the results of liposuction are permanent because individual fat cells are removed and discarded. There will never be as many fat cells in that particular area again! However, weight gain, lifestyle factors, pregnancies, and aging in general can compromise your results. If you gain weight after liposuction, it will tend to go to other parts of the body because there are fewer fat cells left in the treated area and there is some scar tissue left behind from the procedure. There are still fat cells remaining in the treated area, however, and with weight gain they will enlarge to variable degrees and increase the size of the treated area again.
Click here to view an animation explaining Liposuction.
Click here to view more photos of the Liposuction Procedure.
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