Liposuction is a surgical procedure to remove fat that you have not been able to shed using other methods. A doctor performs liposuction on parts of your body that have stored excess fat and become flabby, including the belly, thighs, buttocks, hips, face, or even enlarged breasts on men.
During your initial consult, Dr. Yaghoubian will let you know if you are a good candidate for the procedure by taking a complete medical history and completing a thorough exam. Be sure to tell your doctor about prior health issues and provide a list of all of your medications, including over-the-counter medications and supplements, some of which can act as blood thinners.
People with diabetes or other conditions that may impair healing often are not considered good candidates for liposuction. Dr. Yaghoubian can explain the pros and cons of this particular surgery and discuss what types of results will be possible for you.
You will be at a surgical center under general anesthesia for the procedure. A doctor injects a sterile solution into the treatment area to help make the fat easier to suction. Then, she makes a small incision and inserts a long, thin tube called a cannula. Using this, she vacuums the fat out of your body.
You will probably want to take several days of sick leave to recover after your liposuction procedure. Fluid retention, bruising, and soreness are normal parts of the recovery process. Your doctor will also give you a compression garment to wear for a couple of months to help reduce the swelling. Although you will likely be able to resume everyday activities in a couple of weeks, you should avoid heavy exercise for as long as Dr. Yaghoubian recommends.
The fat cells that are removed during liposuction are gone forever. However, if you put on weight, your remaining fat cells can get larger, resulting in weight gain. Making and continuing healthy lifestyle changes after liposuction is important, including eating a good diet and exercising.
Liposuction is an invasive surgery that poses potential risks and side effects. Skin irregularities such as bumpy, wavy, and wrinkled skin are possible side effects of uneven fat removal, improper healing, or insufficient skin elasticity. Other possible side effects include:
More severe side effects are possible, such as internal organ punctures from the cannula tube, fat trapped within blood vessels, adverse reactions to pain medications, and kidney or heart problems. However, these side effects are rare when a highly qualified surgeon like Dr. Yaghoubian performs the liposuction procedure.
Liposuction does not remove stretch marks resulting from previous weight gain, pregnancy, or aging effects. Additionally, the procedure does not improve skin irregularities, such as dimples or cellulite on the back of the thighs. It is important to remember that the procedure is meant to remove a limited amount of fat, providing more subtle results instead of dramatic changes in appearance.
In some individuals, abdomen fat may lie beneath the muscles and around the internal organs. Liposuction aims to remove fat between the skin and muscles and therefore cannot remove abdomen fat located beneath the muscles. Furthermore, liposuction does not remove loose or excess skin resulting from weight loss, aging, or pregnancy.
Although liposuction often addresses cosmetic concerns, certain medical conditions could also benefit from the procedure. Liposuction can reduce the amount of breast tissue in men suffering from gynecomastia, a condition resulting in excess male breast tissue, skin, and fat. An individual who was obese but has lost at least 40 percent of their body weight could undergo liposuction to remove stubborn fat that exercise and diet have not eliminated.
Liposuction surgery could also be used to remove fatty and benign tumors located underneath the skin. These tumors, known as lipomas, are often found on areas such as the back, arms, neck, shoulders, and torso. Liposuction can also reduce swelling for those with lymphedema, a long-term medical condition resulting in excess fluid buildup in arm or leg tissues. Additionally, liposuction could reduce fat accumulations in specific body areas that are more pronounced due to fat loss in other areas resulting from lipodystrophy syndrome.
If you are looking for other body enhancement results beyond fat removal, liposuction can be performed simultaneously with other surgical procedures. Options for additional surgical operations include:
Combining an additional surgery with liposuction could create more proportional body contours and further improve your appearance.
Following a liposuction procedure, the treated areas may remain swollen for a few weeks. The results should be noticeable once the swelling has subsided. Final liposuction results may be apparent several months after the procedure, with better results if the patient maintains a stable body weight. However, you may need multiple liposuction treatments to achieve your optimal results and body contours. Dr. Yaghoubian can work with you throughout the surgical and post-operative processes to ensure that your goals are met.
Arezou Yaghoubian, M.D., FACS