The liposuction procedure can remove stubborn pockets of fat from the abdomen, hips, buttocks, neck, cheeks, arms, and legs. This helps sculpt your body to enhance your appearance.
If You’re Considering Liposuction…
A healthy diet and regular exercise is still essential, but liposuction can remove small, unwanted areas of fat that remain even after losing a significant amount of weight.
The procedure has been improved greatly in the past 10 years, and there are many new techniques available. Ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty, the tumescent technique, and the super-wet technique are all new liposuction techniques that provide patients with better results and a faster recovery.
Although everyone has a slightly different experience with liposuction, there are many aspects to the procedure that are almost always the same. If you have any questions or concerns about the procedure, you can ask Dr. Leonard.
The Best Candidates for Liposuction
Candidates for liposuction are people at a healthy weight with firm and elastic skin. People seeking liposuction usually are at or near their goal weight, but they have some pockets of excess fat that they want to remove. Candidates must be physically and psychologically healthy, and they must have realistic expectations for the procedure.
Liposuction can improve your appearance and boost your confidence, but it might not help you reach all of your cosmetic goals. Before you choose to have liposuction, you and Dr. Leonard should discuss your expectations and whether the procedure will meet them.
People who have diabetes, heart or lung disease, or poor blood circulation are usually not good candidates for liposuction. The procedure is also riskier for individuals who have recently undergone surgery near the area where they want to remove fat.
Planning Your Surgery
During your consultation, Dr. Leonard will evaluate your health to ensure you’re a good candidate for liposuction. He’ll also assess your skin and the fat deposits you want to target. If you choose to have the surgery, he’ll explain the best methods or techniques for your goals.
Getting the Answers You Need
Today, there are many different liposuction techniques and procedures, but Dr. Leonard will help you decide which procedure is best for you. He’ll consider your needs and goals as well as cost, safety, and effectiveness before making a decision. If you have any questions about the procedure, Dr. Leonard will provide answers during your consultation.
Preparing For Your Surgery
Dr. Leonard will explain to you how you should prepare for the procedure. He’ll go over guidelines on eating, drinking, smoking, taking vitamins, and taking other medications. If you come down with a cold or catch an infection, you may have to postpone the surgery. In some cases, Dr. Leonard may request that you have blood drawn before your surgery.
Before your procedure, arrange for a friend or family member to drive you home after the surgery. You also may need someone to help you at home for one or two days while you recover.
Where Your Surgery Will Be Performed
Liposuction can be performed in a surgeon’s office, a hospital, or an outpatient surgery center. A minor liposuction procedure is usually performed in an outpatient center for cost-effectiveness, but if a larger amount of fat is being removed, you may have to stay overnight in a hospital.
Anesthesia for Liposuction
Dr. Leonard will help you select the safest and most effective type of anesthesia for your surgery. If you only need a small amount of fat removed, you may only need local anesthesia to numb the area. You can receive local anesthesia along with intravenous sedation, which helps you relax during the surgery. If the surgery is more extensive, you may need regional anesthesia.
Some people prefer to receive general anesthesia, especially if the surgery is targeting a large amount of fat. In this case, an anesthesiologist or a nurse anesthetist will be present during the surgery.
The length of the surgery will depend on the amount of fat being removed and the size of the targeted area. During the procedure, Dr. Leonard will make a tiny incision and insert a narrow tube. This will vacuum the fat layer under the skin. Dr. Leonard will push and pull the tube through the layer of fat, which will break up the fat cells and suction them out. Then, he will use a vacuum pump or a syringe to remove the fat cells from the body.
As you lose fat, your body will also lose fluid. To prevent shock, your body needs the lost fluid to be replaced immediately. During and after the surgery, you’ll receive intravenous fluids.
The technique described above is the basic liposuction procedure, but there are some new techniques and variations designed to enhance the effects of the surgery.
Many surgeons today use fluid injection. With this technique, a medicated solution is injected into the fat before the fat is removed. This reduces blood loss and helps the surgeon remove the fat more easily. The fluid also includes a local anesthetic, so the surgeon doesn’t need to use an additional anesthetic during the procedure.
With the tumescent technique, the surgeon uses larger volumes of fluid. In some cases, the technique requires three times as much fluid as there is fat to be removed. Tumescent liposuction takes longer than basic liposuction, sometimes up to four or five hours.
The super-wet technique is similar, but it uses a smaller amount of fluids. Usually, the super-wet method uses the same amount of fluid as there is fat to be removed. Most patients need general anesthesia or IV sedation for this technique, but it only takes one or two hours to complete the procedure.
The ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty, or UAL, technique uses a tube that produces ultrasonic energy. This causes the walls of the fat cells to explode, which liquifies the fat. Then, the fat is suctioned away with the basic liposuction technique. UAL can make the liposuction procedure more effective in fibrous areas like the upper back. It usually takes longer to complete the surgery than when using the traditional liposuction technique.
All Surgery Carries Some Uncertainty and Risk
If Dr. Leonard has selected you as a candidate for liposuction, the procedure should be safe and effective. However, even surgery in a state-of- the-art facility with a well-trained surgeon can sometimes be risky. Complications with liposuction are very rare, but they do sometimes occur. If you’re having a large amount of fat removed, or if you’re targeting multiple areas at once, you may be at a greater risk of developing complications.
Some potential complications of liposuction include infection, healing delays, fat clots or blood clots, shock from excessive fluid loss, friction burns or skin damage, and unfavorable drug reactions.
The new techniques also have their own risks. For example, the heat from the ultrasound device with the UAL technique may cause skin or tissue injury. Also, because the treatment is new, the long-term effects of UAL are unknown. With the tumescent or super-wet techniques, the fluid may cause lidocaine toxicity, or the fluid may collect in your lungs. Although these complications are uncommon, you should discuss any concerns or worries with Dr. Leonard before your procedure.
The scars from the procedure will be small and mostly hidden from view. Some people do see imperfections in their appearance after liposuction, though. Your skin may appear irregular or asymmetric, and you may experience numbness or pigmentation.
After Your Surgery
It’s common to experience fluid drainage from the incisions after the procedure. Dr. Leonard may insert a drainage tube beneath the skin to prevent fluid building up, but this can be removed after a couple days. You may also receive an elastic garment to wear over the targeted area for a few weeks to control swelling.
You might not feel great or look great immediately after liposuction. The new techniques can reduce pain or discomfort after the surgery, but swelling, bleeding, numbness, and other pain is common. Dr. Leonard may prescribe medications to help with pain.
Many people feel anxious or depressed in the days following their procedure. As your body heals, you should start to feel better physically and mentally.
Getting Back to Normal
Dr. Leonard will likely encourage you to walk around as soon as possible after the surgery to reduce swelling and prevent blood clots. You’ll be able to return to work within a few days of the surgery, and you should feel better after a week or two. The stitches will either be removed or will dissolve on their own after one or two weeks.
Your body will continue to heal for about a month, and you should avoid strenuous activity for that time. Most bruising and swelling should disappear within three weeks, but you may see some swelling for six months.
You will visit Dr. Leonard for follow-up visits to make sure your body is healing properly. If you
have heavy bleeding, intense pain, or any other worrying symptoms, contact Dr. Leonard.
Your New Look
Shortly after your procedure, you’ll see a noticeable difference in the targeted area of your body. Within four to six weeks, the difference will become even more pronounced. You’ll be able to see the final contour after about three months.
Liposuction can help you become more comfortable in clothing and more confident in your appearance. If you continue to exercise and eat a healthy diet, you’ll maintain your new body shape.