Comprehensive Guide to Liposuction
- 28 April 2014
- Dr. Nidal (Nick) Masri
Most people think of liposuction as a fast way to lose fat to create a slimmer appearance, but it is more than a rapid weight loss technique. Also known as lipoplasty or suction lipectomy, this is a surgical procedure that removes fat in order to create a more flattering shape to the body. While many people
get the procedure for the weight loss benefits, many others get it because they want to contour their body. Either way, the end result is a slimmer, well-shaped body that contains less stored fat.
While some modern cosmetic procedures remove fat from one area of the body and then inject that fat into other areas of the body, liposuction is only about fat removal. After the procedure is completed, the fat is discarded rather than reused.
Trained medical professionals experienced in this procedure can remove fat from most areas of the body, including all of the following:
- Arms (upper)
- Knee (inner)
Most patients receive liposuction on one area of the body at a time, but there are cases where multiple areas of the body are targeted during one procedure. How much you pay for the procedure and the amount of fat that must be removed will determine how much you end up paying for lipo.
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Liposuction is Not Weight Loss Surgery
One of the most common misconceptions about lipo is that it is a form of weight loss surgery. Unfortunately, severely overweight or obese people do not make good candidates for this procedure. It is not safe to remove that amount of fat from the body at one time, and their skin is often not elastic enough to rebound after the procedure.
Ideally, a candidate for this procedure will require small amounts of fat removal from specific areas of the body and will have healthy skin that can recover efficiently. If the skin is not elastic enough to recover properly, it will sag after the procedure.
Many people who have lost a significant amount of weight will combine liposuction with a tummy tuck, breast augmentation or other cosmetic procedures. In this case, the goal of the procedure is to restore the body to a healthy appearance since the skin does not always shrink right back into place after a large amount of weight is lost. The goal here is not weight loss but contouring the body for a more flattering appearance.
Many people who have liposuction do so to remove small amounts of stubborn fat. They have often spent considerable amounts of time exercising and dieting without seeing significant results. Lipo allows them to remove fat from those difficult regions of the body while they continue to live a healthy lifestyle after the procedure. The continued healthy lifestyle is what allows them to maintain the results of their surgery in the long term.
Liposuction is not an Anti-Aging Procedure
Liposuction is not a procedure to reduce or eliminate sagging skin, wrinkles, fine lines or cellulite. The skin may look tighter and more attractive after this procedure, but fighting the signs of aging is not the purpose of the procedure. If your goal is to look younger, especially in the face, you can discuss other options with a trained cosmetic professional experienced with other procedures designed to target those problems.
Lipo can also be combined with other types of cosmetic procedures offered in Miami. This includes a surgical facelift and a variety of non-invasive procedures. You simply need to discuss your options with a well-trained professional experienced with a variety of cosmetic procedures.
Medical Uses for Liposuction
Lipo is not used exclusively for cosmetic purposes. There are some medical uses as well, such as the removal of abnormal fat deposits or fat tumors. There are a variety of reasons that these problems may arise, and lipo is often the only way to remove the fat safely.
There are other medical reasons that may require someone to have lipo on one or more areas of the body. In many cases, these surgeries are still elective and are not covered by many medical insurance policies. Even though there is a medical cause for the problem leading up to lipo, the procedure itself is not lifesaving and is not considered medically essential.
Liposuction Is for Men and Women
It is common to hear of women going in for lipo, but many men in Miami also now seek out surgeons trained to perform the procedure. For instance, some men choose to have the procedure to eliminate or decrease the size of their breasts. These men suffer from excessive breast tissue, popularly referred to as “man boobs.” The fat tissue within the breasts is removed in order to create a flatter chest that looks more like a man’s chest.
While man boobs are the most common reason that a man would have liposuction surgery, the procedure is growing in popularity in the male population. Men have the procedure to contour their bodies just like women. Some want to remove stubborn fat from their abdomens while others want to remove small amounts of fat from their face or other areas of the body simply to create a more attractive shape.
How Is Liposuction Performed?
There are now two ways that lipo can be performed, but both follow the same procedure. The newest method simply uses advanced technology to automate some of the motions involved in the surgery. The following list will show you how the procedure is performed in general terms. Some surgeries may involve other steps depending on the area of the body targeted, the amount of fat removed, other procedures performed simultaneously, and other circumstances of a particular surgery.
1. The surgeon makes a small incision in the skin. The exact location depends on the area of the body targeted for fat removal.
2. The surgeon inserts a cannula into the deeper layers of fat tissue. This is a hollow tube used to break apart the fat cells. Well-trained medical professionals know that they need to target deeper layers of subcutaneous fat in order to prevent damage to the skin.
3. The cannula is manually or mechanically moved through the targeted area of the body. The goal is to breakup the fat cells by forcing the cannula to move through the cells repeatedly. This was traditionally performed manually by well-trained surgeons, but technology has now introduced machinery capable of automating this part of the procedure. The automated motion is more precise and controlled than a manual performance of the same motions.
4. As fat cells break loose from the motions of the cannula, a syringe or pump suctions the loose fat out of the body.
5. Once the correct amount of fat is removed, the cannula is removed and the incision is closed. The removed fat is discarded as required by law.
It is important that you only trust an experienced, well-trained medical professional to perform liposuction on your body. While the procedure may seem simple, it is actually quite complicated. One small mistake could lead to serious complications which put your life in danger.
The surgeon must first determine whether it is safe to perform liposuction on your body, depending on your medical history and current medical condition. They must also determine whether it is safe to perform lipo on the area of your body that you want to target, and that can only be accomplished through an initial consultation during which they directly observe your body in person.
Once you are cleared as a good candidate for liposuction, your surgeon must determine the best location for the incision and the right amount of fat to remove during the procedure. They must then follow through with a variety of safety protocols to avoid infection and complication during and after the procedure. It takes training, medical expertise and experience to do all of this efficiently, safely and accurately.
The good news is that liposuction is not a new cosmetic procedure, so there are many doctors in Miami and throughout the country trained to perform the procedure. Many of these doctors have performed thousands of lipo procedures and will only practice the procedure responsibly.
Are You a Good Candidate for Liposuction?
If you are physically healthy and want to have fat removed from targeted areas of your body rather than from your overall body for weight loss, there is a chance that you would be deemed suitable for the procedure. The only way to know for sure is to visit a well-trained surgeon for an initial consultation, during which your body will be analyzed directly and you will be asked questions regarding the results you want to obtain from the procedure.
There are some medical conditions that can eliminate you from consideration for this procedure, including the following:
- Heart disease
- Blood circulation problems
- Coagulation disorders
If you take blood thinners or have a history of bleeding excessively, then you should probably not consider any type of elective surgery, including lipo. There is always a risk of infection and you must go through a period of physical recovery with this procedure, so you may want to stay away from the procedure if you have an immune system deficiency or are otherwise at increased risk of infection. Any medical condition that interferes with your body’s ability to heal wounds or fight off infection may also disqualify you from receiving liposuction.
The Initial Consultation
Deciding that you want to receive lipo is only the beginning of a long journey into the world of cosmetic surgery. You need to find a medical professional with specialized training in liposuction and considerable experience working with patients. There is no certificate of training or advanced degree dedicated to lipo, so any licensed medical doctor, dermatologist or plastic surgeon is legally qualified to perform the procedure.
Unfortunately, not every licensed medical professional is qualified to perform lipo. In order to select the best Miami provider for your body, make sure to ask about the training experience of any professional willing to operate on you. You can ask questions about this when you go in for your consultation, but make sure you get the training and experience of the exact person who will complete your surgery rather than one of the many professionals working in the same office.
Once you have found a qualified medical professional offering liposuction services in your area, you should go in for a thorough consultation. They must look at the exact areas of your body that you want to target and ask questions regarding your goals and motivations for having the surgery. They will also collect a complete medical history to ensure that you do not have medical red flags that put you at risk for complications.
It is important to be honest about your past and current medical history so that your provider can determine whether it is safe to perform lipo on your body or not. No matter how badly you want to see the results, you cannot put your life in danger by lying about medical conditions that may eliminate you from the procedure. In many cases, a well-trained medical provider can offer alternative procedures that are less invasive, and thus safer for your body.
Just as you need to select your medical provider with great care, they need to select their patients with just as much care. During the initial consultation, be prepared to answer just as many questions as you ask. This dialogue will ensure a successful surgery in the future because you and your provider will know exactly what results you want to achieve.
What to Expect During and After Surgery
Liposuction is a surgical procedure, so you will need someone to drive you to the procedure and take you home afterwards. Depending on the amount of lipo received and the targeted location on your body, you may need someone to provide basic care for a short period of time after the procedure. You will need to follow all care instructions provided by your doctor to ensure that your wounds heal and you are not at a heightened risk of developing an infection.
Medical professionals can perform lipo procedures directly in their medical offices or through a local hospital. How long you will need to stay under doctor supervision will be determined by the type of anesthesia you receive. You can receive local anesthesia which allows you to go home the same day of the procedure as long as you are medically stable. General anesthesia is also an option, but you will probably have to spend the night under doctor supervision with this option.
The amount of time required to complete your surgery will depend on the areas of your body being targeted and the amount of fat being removed. There are different techniques that your provider may decide to use, and they all take a different amount of time for completion. You can discuss the length of the procedure and all potential complications with your medical provider during your initial consultation.
Once you return home, you will probably need to wear a compression garment to control swelling during recovery. It is common to feel a burning sensation, and many patients will also experience extreme soreness around the area of incision. This should all heal within a month of the surgery, and you should see your doctor for follow-up appointments to correct any problems arising during this recovery phase.
It can take up to six weeks to see the complete results from your surgery. This is due to swelling and the time it takes for the body to naturally heal and recover from this type of surgery. You will notice significant changes in your body’s shape and may notice that you are slimmer, flatter and smoother than before, but give it a month or two before you see the full results and determine whether you are happy with the outcome.