Liposuction is a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure that uses a thin, hollow tube called a cannula to remove fat. The cannula is inserted through extremely small incisions then moved back and forth to loosen excess fat, which it suctions out using a vacuum or cannula-attached syringe. Treated areas look slimmer and more contoured and in better overall proportion to the rest of the body. However, liposuction is not for losing weight and is not effective at eliminating cellulite or tightening loose, sagging skin.
It is if you are in good overall health but have one or more areas of fat that do not respond to diet or exercise. Areas we often treat with liposuction include thighs, abdomen, arms, back, hips, buttocks, chest, face, calves, and ankles. Liposuction can be performed alone or in conjunction with other cosmetic procedures such as thighplasty and abdominoplasty.
One of the most common liposuction techniques is tumescent liposuction, which may be assisted by ultrasound or laser on an outpatient basis. During tumescent liposuction, a solution of saline, lidocaine (an anesthetic) and epinephrine (a blood-vessel contractor) is injected into the area being treated. The solution firms the tissue, making it easier to remove via cannula. The anesthetic is built-in, so there is no need for general or IV sedation, and blood loss is minimized. We use the suction cannula to break up fat cells and remove them.
After liposuction, patients may experience mild swelling, bruising, and discomfort in the treated area. Compression garments or elastic bandages help reduce these symptoms as the area heals. Patients can usually return to work and other regular activities the next day or as soon as they feel comfortable. Exercise and other strenuous activities should be avoided for a few weeks.
Results from a liposuction procedure may not be apparent until the swelling and bruising subside. Most swelling is gone by the end of the first week, though some may persist for a month or two. Scarring is almost nonexistent because the incisions used for the cannula are so small. The results of liposuction are generally long-lasting.