Liposuction FAQ

What is liposuction?

Sometimes called lipoplasty or liposculpture, liposuction is a surgical procedure that removes localized deposits of fat through tiny incisions to create a more attractive body contour.

Is liposuction safe?

Liposuction is safe when performed by a well-qualified, board-certified plastic surgeon. Plastic surgeons generally have a lower complication rate with liposuction than with any other major cosmetic surgery procedure.

Does liposuction hurt?

Patients who have liposuction do experience discomfort, but newer techniques have reduced the amount of pain associated with liposuction procedures. The areas to be sculpted are treated with a long-acting local anesthesia solution that minimizes pain in the hours following the operation. Power-assisted liposuction is much less traumatic to the body and allows patients to recover more quickly with less pain. Tumescent liposuction procedures also reduce the amount of pain and discomfort experienced after the procedure.

What is the most common technique for suctioning fat during liposuction?

The basic suction-assisted liposuction method is still the technique most commonly used for removing fat. During this approach to liposuction, the surgeon's own arm movement must transmit force to the rigid suction tube that sucks and disrupts clusters of fat cells. The vacuum suction device then removes the loose fat. Although this rudimentary technique is still the most common worldwide, it has a number of disadvantages. It is inefficient at removing fat and requires many more passes of the 'cannula', or suction tube. This results in more trauma to surrounding tissues, less precise sculpting and longer operations. Recovery is prolonged and the complication rate is higher.

Who are the best candidates for liposuction?

The best candidates for liposuction have localized deposits of fat, are in good overall health and have sufficient skin elasticity.

Which liposuction technique is best for me?

This important decision will always be made in consultation with your doctor.

Is liposuction a replacement for diet and exercise?

Liposuction is not a replacement for diet and exercise. The number of pounds of fat that are removed through surgery is limited. When somebody is excessively overweight, diet and exercise should be their first priority.

Should I diet and exercise to lose weight before or after liposuction?

Liposuction is an excellent way to change body contours, but it is most effective when the treatment focuses on a few problematic areas. Liposuction is best used as a treatment for diet-resistant areas of fat rather than diffuse collections of fat. Being close to your ideal weight before your procedure is helpful to obtain the best result.

How much time do I need to take off from work?

Most patients will return to work within a few days of liposuction surgery. For patients who have many areas treated or who have physically active jobs, it is better to rest for at least one week after surgery.

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