Liposuction (lipoplasty or suction-assisted lipectomy, often called “lipo” by patients) is one of the most commonly performed cosmetic surgical procedures. Liposuction is a surgical procedure during which excessive fat is removed from deposits beneath the skin using cannulas (hollowed tubes) connected to a suction device.
Liposuction is a technique designed to contour localized areas of unwanted fat. It slims and reshapes specific body areas.
The success of liposuction depends not only on adequate fat removal but also on retraction (shrinking) of the skin overlying treated areas. The areas typically treated with liposuction are:
Back (including bra rolls)
Chest (specifically to address male breasts)
Calves and ankles
AM I A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR LIPOSUCTION?
You are an ideal candidate for liposuction if you:
are an adult with close to ideal weight (within 30%)
have good quality elastic skin and good muscle tone
are in good health
have realistic expectations and a positive outlook
do not have a life-threatening illness or medical conditions that can impair healing
Liposuction is a great option for patients who struggle with localized fat in one or more areas despite a healthy lifestyle.
WHAT LIPOSUCTION WON'T DO
Liposuction is not a treatment for obesity or a substitute for proper diet and exercise. It is also not effective in treatment of cellulite (in fact it can make it worse). It will not help patients with loose saggy skin in the areas of concern - if you do struggle with loose or saggy skin, talk to Dr. Majewski about your options during your consultation.
The cost of the liposuction procedure varies depending on the areas you treat, and whether you decide to undergo other procedures at the same time. The cost of your procedure will include anesthesia fees, surgical facility costs, medical tests, post-surgery garments, prescriptions for medications, and the surgeon’s fee.
When choosing a board certified plastic surgeon for liposuction, remember that the surgeon’s experience and your comfort with him or her are just as important as the final cost of the surgery.
You might also consider the cost of childcare or other assistance you might need during your recovery period - such as meal delivery, a cleaning service, etc. Although usually not necessary, some patients prefer to delegate some of their household responsibilities during the first few weeks of recovery so they can focus on healing fully.
The purpose of your consultation with Dr. Majewski is to evaluate whether you are a candidate for liposuction (or a different procedure) and to develop a treatment plan that will help you achieve your goals.
Dr. Majewski will ask you questions about:
Your surgical goals
Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
Current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drug use
He will also:
Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
Discuss your liposuction options and other non-surgical treatment options (such as CoolSculpting®)
Recommend a course of treatment
Discuss likely outcomes of liposuction and any risks or potential complications
The consultation is the time to ask Dr. Majewski any questions you may have regarding the procedure, recovery, and expected results.
It's very important to understand all aspects of your liposuction procedure. It's natural to feel some anxiety, whether it's excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress - or both. Don't be shy about discussing these feelings with Dr. Majewski.
In preparing for liposuction surgery, you may be asked to:
Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding
Be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you for at least the first night following surgery.
Liposuction is typically performed under general anesthesia. Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. Dr. Majewski will recommend the best choice of anesthesia for you and will explain what to expect from anesthesia.
Once you are under anesthesia for your safety and comfort, the procedure can begin. Liposuction is performed through small, inconspicuous incisions.
First, diluted local anesthesia is infused to reduce bleeding and trauma. Then a thin hollow tube, or cannula, is inserted through the incisions to loosen excess fat using a controlled back and forth motion. The dislodged fat is then suctioned out of the body using a surgical vacuum or syringe attached to the cannula.
The placement of the cannula and the location of the incisions depends entirely on which areas you’re trying to treat. In general, most patients enjoy the fact that liposuction leaves very small incisions that are easy to conceal.
Although results will be immediately visible, your improved body contour will be more apparent once the swelling and fluid retention commonly experienced following liposuction subside.
During your liposuction recovery, a compression garment or elastic bandages may cover treatment areas once your procedure is completed. These help to control swelling and compress the skin to your new body contours.
In addition, small temporary drains may be placed in existing incisions beneath the skin to remove any excess blood or fluid.
You will be given specific instructions that may include:
How to care for the surgical site and drains
Medications to apply or take orally, to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection
Specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health
When to follow up with your plastic surgeon
Before scheduling your surgery, think through what time of year makes the most sense for you to undergo this procedure. If you typically get summers off of work, then summer might be a great time for you to recover from your surgery. If your work schedule is less flexible, you might consider getting surgery around a holiday or other break - such as around Thanksgiving, Christmas, or spring break - when you will have family around to help you as you recover.
The exact timeline of your recovery period will vary depending on the extent of your procedure - but you should prepare yourself mentally for a recovery period with limited activity for a few weeks to months. Although every patient recovers differently, here is a general recovery timeline of a typical liposuction patient:
Weeks 1 and 2: May experience mild to moderate pain, which will be managed through prescription pain medication for the duration of this period. You will not be allowed to drive while taking pain medication and should plan accordingly. Bandages placed on scars will need to be changed in 1-2 days after surgery. Drains and sutures are removed by your surgeon the first 5-10 days, You may also experience bruising, numbness and swelling during this time. Some patients can return to work during this time, provided that their job does not require them to do anything too physically demanding.
During the first few days, you may not want to move too much, but you should walk and move around as much as you can to prevent blood clotting. The body compression garment given to you after surgery will help to minimize swelling, and should be worn for the first few weeks.
Weeks 3 and 4: The pain should subside. Most patients stop taking pain medications by this point, and are able to manage pain with over the counter (OTC) pain medications. You may still experience swelling and numbness, but will be able to return to work if you haven’t done so already.
Weeks 4-16: You should regain feeling and sensation in the area. Swelling may continue, but the final result should be apparent no later than six months. When you are able to return to exercise, take it slow, gradually working back up to your old exercise schedule. Be sure to ask Dr. Majewski for his recommendations regarding all physical activity including exercise.
You will be far more satisfied during your recovery period if you know what to expect - so be sure to ask Dr. Majewski for clarification regarding what to expect during your individual recovery period, including:
Where will I be taken after my surgery is complete?
What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?
Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery?
How long will I wear the compression garment?
Are stitches removed? When?
When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
When do I return for follow-up care?
It may take several months for the swelling to fully dissipate. As it does, your new contours and enhanced self-image should continue to develop.
Most patients are eager to see their results as quickly as possible - which is understandable! Liposuction can make a dramatic difference on both your appearance and your self-image.
Although you’ll notice an immediate reduction in size following your procedure, it might take a few weeks to months to realize the full results of your surgery. Patience is key during the recovery period - swelling and numbness are common, and might make you feel discouraged immediately following your procedure.
Be patient with your body, and focus on taking care of yourself. You’ll be debuting your new look in no time! Until then, focus on doing everything you can to recover fully. Follow Dr. Majewski’s instructions closely to ensure best results and a speedy recovery.
Once your swelling subsides, you’ll be able to enjoy the full results of your surgery.
ARE RESULTS PERMANENT?
Liposuction is one of few fat loss methods that actually physically removes fat cells from your body - making it more permanent than most methods. The results of liposuction will be long lasting, provided you maintain a stable weight and general fitness.
As your body ages, it is natural to lose some firmness, but as long as you maintain a healthy lifestyle, you will continue to enjoy your results for years to come.