The best candidates for liposuction are normal-weight people with firm, elastic skin who have pockets of excess fat in certain areas. You should be physically healthy, psychologically stable and realistic in your expectations. Your age is not a major consideration; however, older patients may have diminished skin elasticity and may not achieve the same results as a younger patient with tighter skin. For those interested in liposuction in the abdominal area, you may learn that an abdominoplasty or tummy tuck may more effectively meet your goals, particularly after childbirth or massive weight loss. Many women inquire about the impact of liposuction on cellulite. Liposuction will not improve the appearance of cellulite. Unfortunately, there is no good, lasting way of treating cellulite.
Liposuction Surgery Procedures
Liposuction can be performed under local anesthesia, which numbs only the affected areas. However, if you prefer, the local anesthetic is usually used along with intravenous or oral sedation to keep you more relaxed during the procedure. Some patients prefer general anesthesia, particularly if a large volume of fat is being removed. If this is the case, a nurse anesthetist or anesthesiologist will be called in to make sure you are completely asleep during the procedure.
The time required to perform liposuction may vary considerably, depending on the size of the area, the amount of fat being removed, the type of anesthesia and the technique used. However, it takes approximately 1 hour per area treated.
Through tiny incisions placed in inconspicuous areas, a special fluid solution (termed “tumescent fluid”) is injected containing a mixture of saline (salt water), lidocaine (a local anesthetic which numbs the area) and epinephrine (a drug that constricts blood vessels to prevent blood loss and minimize bruising).
After injection of the fluid solution, a narrow tube or cannula is inserted and used to vacuum the fat layer that lies deep beneath the skin. The cannula is carefully used to break up the fat cells and literally suck the fat cells out, removing them permanently.
The basic technique of liposuction, as described above, is used in all patients undergoing this procedure. However, as the procedure has been developed and refined, several variations have been introduced.
Dr. Maier incorporates additional tools into his body sculpting including Ultrasonic Assisted Liposuction to help sculpt your body into the best possible shape. While some skin retraction occurs with liposuction, the amount of skin tightening is variable and the patient should be fully aware that surgery might be needed to excise and tighten saggy skin and achieve the desired result.
To control swelling and to help your skin better fit its new contours, you will be fitted with a snug elastic garment to wear over the treated area for a few weeks. Don’t expect to look or feel your best right after surgery. Even though the newer techniques are believed to reduce some post-operative discomforts, you may still experience some pain, burning, swelling, bleeding and temporary numbness. Pain can be controlled with medications prescribed by your surgeon, though you may still feel stiff and sore for a few days.
You will see a noticeable difference in the shape of your body quite soon after surgery. However, improvement will become even more apparent after about four to six weeks, when most of the swelling has subsided. After about three months, any persistent mild swelling usually disappears and the final contour will be visible.
If your expectations are realistic, you will be very pleased with the results of your surgery. You may find that you are more comfortable in a wide variety of clothes and more at ease with your body. And most importantly, by eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise, you can help to maintain your new shape.
Please note that the information provided in this discussion is an expression of Dr. Maier’s philosophy and practice.