Liposuction is sculpture: it is sculpture on your fat.
Liposuction can remove fat from those few stubborn areas where you have the most fat, and you cannot seem to get rid of it yourself. Liposuction has the beauty of tiny hidden incisions, rapid recovery, and few complications or serious risks. Liposuction works: it is the most frequently performed plastic surgery procedure in the United States.
Liposuction is not for people who can’t control their weight. Liposuction is not an alternative to diet and exercise. Regardless of whether we have liposuction or not, we must continue to diet and exercise for our entire lives. We eat calories and we burn calories, but if we eat more calories than we burn, our bodies will store those calories as fat. Each of our bodies has special preferred storage sites where our bodies like to store the extra calories as fat. These are the places where we store the most fat and where we typically want to have liposuction. Even if we lose weight, our bodies will hold on to fat in the preferred storage sites longer than anywhere else. Liposuction is the only way to target those specific areas; diet and exercise can’t target specific fat deposits.
However, having liposuction does not mean that we do not have to diet and exercise. If we do not have liposuction and we eat more than we burn, we just get fatter in those areas where we already hate it. If we do have liposuction and we eat more than we burn, then we get fat somewhere else, and we will hate it there too. Liposuction does not change the paradigm that we have to burn as many calories as we eat or more calories than we eat. Liposuction does allow us to target the specific areas where we want fat removed.
Your Individual Goals
Discuss with Dr. Moses the areas where you particularly hate the fat, and tell him which areas you think you can lose the fat from and where you can’t. He will tell you which areas are amenable to liposuction, which areas work well with liposuction, and which ones don’t, and where the incisions and scars will be.
Liposuction is almost always done under general anesthesia, as an outpatient. Depending on how many areas we treat, liposuction procedures range from half an hour to three and a half hours. In patients in whom we anticipate we will remove large volumes of fat, we may ask the patient to donate a unit of their own blood from three weeks to one week prior to the procedure, to be re-transfused at the time of the procedure. We will let you know if this is recommended in your case.
We use the classic “wet” tumescent technique. We inject a large volume of very dilute local anesthetic in the areas to be treated with liposuction. This minimizes blood loss, minimizes indentations and dimpling, and minimizes post-operative pain.
Recovery from Liposuction
Liposuction patients report that they are sore, stiff, and swollen, but do not have that much pain. Most get dressed that evening or the next day and move around the house, albeit slowly. Most patients can return to work in two to five days, exercise in two to three weeks, and are bruised for three to four weeks. Other than liposuction beneath the chin, all areas treated with liposuction can easily be covered with clothing.
Patients are bruised and swollen after liposuction. The discoloration from the bruises will last three to four weeks. Half of the swelling is gone in the first month, but the second half takes four months to go away. The skin will continue to tighten and become smoother over the course of a year.
We treat all of our post-operative liposuction patients with Endermologie, which we provide here in our office. We include four free Endermologie treatments with the liposuction and encourage patients to take advantage of the Endermologie. The Endermologie treatments create a much smoother result after liposuction than you would get without them. We also encourage patients to buy a heavy duty vibrating sports massager and to massage all of the treated areas twice a day for the first six weeks.
Patients who have liposuction are generally much smaller and trimmer. Most patients continue to go on to lose weight for the next three to twelve months after their liposuction. They are excited about their new body shape; they are able to exercise in ways that they couldn’t before; and they look dramatically better in their clothes and exercise gear. Because the swelling takes so long to go down, the transition is gradual, which helps patients be private about their plastic surgery. They can simply explain to friends that they have lost a lot of weight and that “it was hard,” which is true.