What is Liposuction?
Liposuction is a procedure that uses a tube and vacuum device to remove unwanted fat deposits and enhance body shape. Liposuction is not performed to reduce body weight, but rather to reshape areas of the body that do not adequately respond to diet and exercise. These areas typically consist of the thighs, hips, waist, and back, but liposuction can also be performed on the upper arms, legs, buttocks, neck, face, and abdomen. Here at Boulder Plastic Surgery, we offer Suction Assisted Liposuction (SAL) and Ultrasonic Assisted Liposuction (VASER) to help patients achieve their desired results.
- Length: 1 to 3 hours or more depending on the number of areas treated.
- Anesthesia: Light general. Usually outpatient surgery.
- Side Effects: Temporary bruising, swelling, numbness, soreness, burning sensation.
- Risks: Possible infection, excessive fluid loss, fluid accumulation, skin injury, asymmetry, fat clots or blood clots, contour irregularities, and pigmentation changes (may become permanent if exposed to sun).
- Recovery: Patients should expect to return to work within 7 – 14 days.
- Exercise: Patients should abstain from rigorous exercise for the first 2 weeks following the procedure, after which they may return to low impact exercise increasing to moderate impact at 6 weeks, and a return to full exercise intensity at 8 weeks.
- Bruising: Localized bruising of the area will be noticeable for 2 – 4 weeks following the procedure.
- Swelling: Moderate to significant swelling of the area should be expected for up to 4 weeks following the initial procedure with a reduction and dissipation over the course of the next 2 to 3 months. Final results are appreciated at 6 – 12 months.
- Duration of Results: Permanent, with sensible diet and exercise.
- Office Visits: First Post Op visit 3 – 5 days, and second visit at 10 – 14 days. 3 to 5 visits total in first 3 months, then 1 visit yearly.
- Pain Meds: Ibuprofen or Narcotics as needed.
Liposuction is about shaping the body, not about weight loss. Liposuction is not meant for individuals with notable weight issues. The results are best when you are near your ideal weight. Diet and exercise should be emphasized before proceeding with this type of procedure. The following conditions could indicate that liposuction is right for you:
- Have areas of fat deposits that are out of proportion with the rest of your body and have not responded to diet and exercise
- Do not have a lot of excess skin and the area is firm (your skin elasticity is good)
- Would like more definition (toning) in certain areas of your body, a sleeker contour, or more athletic appearance
You will be assessed during your initial consultation with one of our board certified surgeons. Liposuction may be performed in conjunction with other excisional procedures such as a tummy tuck to further contour the treated area and improve results. Liposuction is often used in isolation to remove excess fat cells from many areas of the body, including the lower legs, thighs, hips, waist, back, arms, chest, neck, and chin. Once fat cells are removed from the body, they are gone forever.
There are various technologies used for liposuction to make the fat removal process less invasive, more predictable and safer. Some of the more common forms of technologies and techniques that we utilize include:
- Tumescent liposuction uses a solution of saline, local anesthesia, and adrenaline that is injected into the area to be contoured before the procedure begins. This causes the blood vessels to constrict and the area of fat to swell, allowing our surgeons to effectively target the area to be treated. This technique is often used in combination with other liposuction techniques to reduce post-surgical pain and bleeding.
- Suction-assisted liposuction (SAL) technology is the traditional form of liposuction and involves the removal of fat with a high-powered vacuum.
- Ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL) uses a precise, minimally invasive liposuction technology that utilizes ultrasound waves to dissolve the fat cells prior to removal by traditional suction techniques. This produces eye-catching results in just one procedure without the discomfort and long recovery times of typical liposuction treatments. The procedure is tissue-selective, targeting fat while protecting other tissues from damage. It’s powerful enough to eliminate substantial areas of fat but gentle enough to treat delicate areas such as the neck and arms. VASER liposelection is clinically proven to produce even results in treated areas, leaving your skin