Selectively removing fat, lumps and bumps. It’s an amazing thing. Liposuction (Lipoplasty) has reshaped more than the physiques of uncounted patients. It has changed the way people approach their personal goals for appearance and fitness.
Is it right for everybody?
We have no hesitation telling you that people with unrealistic ideas about what surgery can do for them—should not have it.
Liposuction should never be a “Plan A” for losing weight. It’s not the solution to obesity. However, for the many people who do understand the limitations, possibilities and have good expectations, liposuction is a very popular cosmetic surgery procedure.
I’M HEALTHY, I EXERCISE, I’M NOT REALLY OVERWEIGHT. WHY CAN’T I GET RID OF THIS FAT?!
Most people have some amount of extra fat, even if they are fit and active. And many people have areas or deposits of fat that are simply out of proportion with the rest of the body- those lumps and bumps that sit there, despite all efforts to diet and exercise them away. This is also one of the biggest surprises for dieters. When you lose weight, it rarely drops off in a proportional way, and you notice the stubborn fatty areas more.
Here are some of the most common ‘culprits’ of excess fat deposits, that can be addressed by liposuction.
- Thighs (Inner and Outer)
- Upper Arms
- Calves/Ankles (yes, “Cankles”)
Your Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon will carefully assess your individual situation. Besides being healthy enough to undergo surgery, here are the factors that indicate whether liposuction is a good option for you:
– Stubborn, disproportionate fat deposits
– Good skin elasticity. (You don’t have a lot of loose skin. Liposuction removes fat. If your skin needs to be tightened, you may require another surgery, such as Tummy Tuck)
– A desire to define, or contour certain areas of the body
Liposuction can be performed alone, or with other procedures. In my plastic surgery practice in San Jose liposuction patients frequently combine the procedure with tummy tuck, breast reduction, breast augmentation, and even a facelift (think chin lipo!).
HOW DO I CHOOSE FROM ALL THE DIFFERENT ‘FORMS’ OF LIPOSUCTION?
This question gets a bit more complex by the year. New technologies are always in development. Some do the same thing under different brand names. Some are meant for smaller, more targeted treatments. They may use heat, or cold, there may be different forms and degrees of anesthesia, but all use suction techniques.
Here’s just a brief list of names of liposuction techniques you may have seen:
- Vaser (LipoSelection)
- Power Assisted
- Laser Liposuction
- Water Jet
- Cool Lipo
If we explain all of the existing and emerging brands in detail, well, we’d be writing a book instead of a blog. So, we’ll try to categorize the techniques:
- LIPOSUCTION: In general, the removal of fat cells using a tube (cannula) inserted through a small incision, and suction (vacuum).
- TUMESCENT LIPOSUCTION: Fluid, including saline, and an anesthetic, is injected to reduce bleeding and bruising, and increase patient comfort for “local” procedures.
- VASER (ULTRASONIC) LIPOSUCTION: Ultrasonic energy is used to break up the fat cells, and makes their removal easier. It causes less damage to surrounding tissue, promoting faster recovery, and can also help tone the overlying skin.
- SMART LIPO AND LASER LIPOSUCTION: Similar to Vaser, these techniques may use a combination of fluid and laser energy to break up fat and help tone skin, and a very small cannula to remove the fat.
The other brand names listed, (and some that are not listed), represent differences in technique, the size and location of the areas treated, and the types of energy used.
You should have a detailed and frank discussion with your cosmetic surgeon about your goals. Your safety is paramount. Learn about the different methods of anesthesia, and who is delivering them. Understand before you commit, what you will be required to do after surgery, to insure your results are what they should be.
Following a short recovery period, during which swelling and bruising will subside- you’ll see your new body contours. It’s important to continue your exercise and healthy eating regimen for the long-term following your surgery, to keep your shape the way you want it. You worked hard to get there, so enjoy it!
Dr. Vincent Lepore is a San Jose based Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon, providing liposuction, mommy makeover, breast augmentation and other cosmetic surgery options to patients throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Please call our plastic surgery office in San Jose at (408) 356-4241 and speak with a member of our staff if you would like to request a consultation or ask a question about this procedure.