Liposuction FAQ

The Center for Cosmetic Surgery

Questions About Liposuction

How long will it take after liposuction to get back to my regular routine?

Most people take 3-7 days off from work following liposuction. A compression garment is worn for 4 weeks post op. While wearing the garment will not affect your overall outcome, it does minimize swelling. Additionally, some patients find moving around to be more comfortable with the support of the garment. You may resume normal activities and exercise after 1 week.

I am interested in getting liposuction on my vacation, but I want to make sure I have time to heal before returning to work.

Typically people take off 2-7 days to recover from liposuction. You can have some swelling for as long as 9-12 months, however the majority of the swelling is gone in the first couple of months and you will see an immediate difference in your contouring.

Will smoking affect my recovery?

Smoking adversely affects wound healing. The small vessels that supply blood to the tissues shrink up and prevent the necessary nutrients for healing to get to the wound. The incidence of having a wound complication such as an open wound or skin death is much higher in smokers. Furthermore, the rate of wound infection is also significantly increased in smokers for the same reason of limited blood flow. Because of this, a patient must stop smoking for a minimum of two weeks prior to surgery to decrease the risk of these complications.

Does your office offer facial liposuction?

The only area of the face that Dr. Vath, Dr. Wolfe, and Dr. Steinwald will consider liposuction is beneath the chin in the submental area.

Can your doctors do a tummy tuck with a fat transfer to the buttocks?

It may be possible to have a tummy tuck and fat transfer.

Do you have a permanent cellulite removal treatment?

Contrary to popular belief, “cellulite” is not a type of fat. The dimpling you are referring to is caused by laxity in your connective tissues that hold the body and skin together. Rarely, liposuction can help flatten the area, but, more likely, a tightening procedure is necessary.

Can you do liposuction along with a body lift for maximum results post gastric bypass?

Congratulations on your weight loss. There are several well developed operations intended to rid you of your excess skin. A lower body lift will lift the buttocks and outer thighs while also tightening the abdomen. An inner thigh lift will tighten the upper, inner thighs while an arm lift can reduce the skin laxity on your upper arms. Finally, if lax, sagging facial skin is a problem, a facelift or mini-facelift combined with a brow lift will tighten your facial tissues without giving you that fake, operated appearance. Often, women choose to have liposuction of nearby areas such as the flanks (love handles), hips, back, or thighs at the same time to improve their overall look.

Do you offer laser assisted liposuction?

Thanks for your inquiry about liposuction. We prefer power-assisted liposuction which is a machine that vibrates the liposuction tip allowing the fat to be more easily and efficiently removed without heating or melting it. Your results will depend completely upon the skill and experience of the surgeon, not the tool in his or her hand. Take a look at our before and after pictures and compare them to others to help decide for yourself.

Do you perform liposuction on men?

We certainly perform liposuction on men. The most common areas are the abdomen, flanks (love handles), and chest. Our doctors use power-assisted liposuction (PAL) which is particularly helpful in men due to their dense, fibrous fat.

What is power-assisted liposuction?

Power-assisted liposuction, used in conjunction with the tumescent technique, is a new technology in body sculpting that allows fat to be removed more easily and precisely. The suction tip vibrates at a rapid speed causing the fat to easily dislodge from surrounding tissues so that it may be suctioned away gently and quickly. Operative times are decreased which translates into less cost for you and increased safety due to a shorter duration of anesthesia. Furthermore, the cannula slides easily through the fat causing less fatigue to the surgeon and enabling maximally precise body contouring.

What is the difference between UAL (ultrasound assisted liposuction) and PAL (power assisted liposuction)?

Ultrasound assisted and power assisted liposuction are two methods of removing fat using different machinery. Neither is definitively proven to offer better results. Just as the type of pen does not determine the quality of the author’s novel, the type of liposuction machine does not determine the quality of the liposuction result, but rather the surgeon. UAL is associated with a higher seroma (fluid collection under the skin) rate. Additionally, UAL heats up to thermally disrupt the fats cells at the risk of causing skin injury. Power assisted liposuction is the preferred method at the Center for Cosmetic Surgery. The cannula mechanically shakes and gently removes the fat in a smooth fashion without the risks of UAL. PAL removes the fat more quickly saving surgical time and cost to the patient.

What is the youngest age that I could have either a tummy tuck or liposuction?

An adult (>18 years old) can be a candidate for either a tummy tuck or liposuction, given that she understands the risks, complications, and goals of the procedures. Tummy tucks are generally reserved for women who are finished having children or have had massive weight loss. Liposuction is used to reduce fatty bulges in the context of good skin tone. Liposuction is not a weight loss operation and you want to have exhausted all weight reduction and toning efforts prior to considering liposuction.

If I have liposuction of my abdomen, can the fat be used to augment my breasts?

This is a common question. Although it sounds like a great idea to take the fat from your abdomen and put it into the breasts, it doesn’t work. When fat is injected in large quantities, it tends to form cavities of dead tissue rather than stay alive as part of you. Additionally, much of the fat will be absorbed by the body negating some or most of any potential benefit. Practically speaking, fat injection for breast enhancement is simply not a standard procedure which has proven to be effective. The best procedure for breast enhancement is breast augmentation with implants.

I don’t see any visible scars on the women that have had liposuction. Where is the incision made, and do you come out with a scar?

There a very small incisions (1 cm) made in order to perform liposuction and they are placed in the most inconspicuous areas such as the belly button, pubic hair, or the skin that sits beneath your underwear. The positioning of the scar depends upon the region to be liposuctioned. It is no wonder that you couldn’t find the scars in our pictures because they are very small and hidden.

How much time passes between the initial consultation and surgery?

Once you have had your complementary consult with one of our surgeons, it is typically 2-4 weeks before surgery. However, this can vary significantly.

After a liposuction procedure, will the patient be able to drive home?

Liposuction is generally performed under general anesthesia and does require the patient to be driven home by a friend or family member over the age 18.

Is liposuction a viable option for people in their mid-20’s?

Yes, liposuction can be performed on any adult as long as he or she is a good candidate for the procedure. This means that there are unwanted fatty bulges out of proportion with the rest of the body and the skin elasticity is good. Liposuction is not a weight loss operation and should not be used in this capacity.

After liposuction, will I get fatter in other areas more easily?

This is a common question and misunderstanding. Liposuction merely removes fats cells from a localized area of your body to reduce unwanted fatty bulges. This does not change the way your body will distribute fat should you gain weight again after surgery. All of the fat cells in any given region can not and should not be removed. That would cause a large degree of unwanted grooving and depressions. Because fat cells will still remain in the suctioned region, you may be able to gain size in that location if you gain overall weight. The fat cells in other areas of your body will gain size just as they did prior to surgery. There is no magical change in your body’s programming after liposuction. If you gain weight, your body will need to find places to store it. It will use the existing cells just as it did prior to liposuction.

Does an abdominoplasty take care of “love handles” as well?

A tummy tuck manages the entire abdomen, tightening the front of your torso. The abdominoplasty can also tighten the waist, but generally liposuction is used to manage the “love handles” or flanks. Liposuction of the flanks, as well as other areas, is commonly performed at the same time as a tummy tuck.

Can the fat under my chin be removed?

If the skin under your chin is elastic enough and not loose, liposuction can be used to decrease the fatty bulge in this region and give you a better looking neck.

I am a 5’2″ female weighing 205 pounds. Can you do a tummy tuck while I am losing weight or do I have to wait?

Ideally, you would like to lose as much weight on your own as possible prior to undergoing a tummy tuck. This way, the maximum amount of excess skin can be removed to get you the best possible result. Generally, we recommend that you try to lose roughly 2/3 of your goal before having surgery. But this varies from person to person depending upon individual body proportions. You may want to see your primary doctor or a nutritionist to help you define your weight loss goals prior to surgery.

I am 5’4″ at 129 pounds, work out every day, and am very insecure about my stomach. What can I do

It sounds like you are a fit person with just a bit more stomach than you desire! You are not alone. This is a common complaint from women. You do not mention if you have had children. Often, after pregnancy, an abdominoplasty would take you back to a great abdomen. Liposuction is the perfect surgery to remove excess fat, but your skin must be elastic enough to have a good result. Our surgeons will go over your goals and examine you and help you choose the best procedure.

Can liposuction be performed under sedation?

Many procedures can be performed under varying anesthetic options. At The Center for Cosmetic Surgery, we believe that, although small areas of liposuction can be performed under sedation, most liposuction surgeries are most safely performed under general anesthesia. This allows for the best results to be achieved in the safest fashion.

Do you perform liposuction on “buffalo” humps?

Yes, the buffalo hump or fat pad that can develop on the lower back of the neck can be liposuctioned. Power-assisted liposuction works especially well in this area.

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