What is Liposuction?
Liposuction is a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure that uses a thin and hollow tube, a cannula, to remove localized areas of body fat. Dr. Altamira will insert the cannula through extremely small incisions and then move it back and forth to loosen excess fat. The loose fat will then be suctioned out using a vacuum or a 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 a method for losing weight and is not effective in eliminating cellulite or tightening loose and sagging skin.
At David Altamira, MD, we offer three different liposuction options. Whether you are visiting our Houston or Sugar Land office, Dr. Altamira will provide an individual treatment plan based on your desires and ultimate body goals. We offer the following liposuction options:
- Traditional Liposuction
- Vaser Liposuction
Candidates for Liposuction
An ideal candidate for liposuction is in good overall health. Candidates should, additionally, have one or more areas of fat that do not respond to diet or exercise. Liposuction can be performed alone or in conjunction with other cosmetic procedures, such as tummy tuck, thigh lift, or SmartLipo.
Liposuction Treatment Areas
The following locations are common areas of excess fat that can be removed with liposuction.
- Abdomen and waist
- Cheeks, chin, and neck
- Chest area
- Hips and buttocks
- Upper arms
One of the most common liposuction techniques is tumescent liposuction. Tumescent liposuction allows Dr. Altamira to use a liposuction laser and can perform it on an outpatient basis. During tumescent liposuction, Dr. Altamira injects a solution of a saline, lidocaine (an anesthetic) and epinephrine (a blood vessel constrictor) into the area. The solution causes the targeted tissue to swell and become firm, which makes it easier to remove the fat with the cannula. In laser-assisted tumescent liposuction, a laser is used to liquefy the fat, which makes removing it easier. The laser can also tighten the skin in the treatment area after fat removal.
The tumescent technique only allows minimal blood loss and has the anesthetic is built in. This procedure can often be performed without general anesthesia. However, if several different areas of the body are being treated, or large amounts of fat are being removed, then it may be preferable to perform the surgery with general anesthesia. While treating a large area, patients may need surgery to remove the excess skin.
Before and After Liposuction
Risks of Liposuction
In addition to the usual risks associated with surgery, risks of liposuction include the following:
- Change in skin sensation that may persist
- Contour irregularities
- Fluid accumulation
- Irregular pigmentation
- Loose or rippled skin
- Persistent swelling
- Worsening of cellulite
What is the Recovery Process Like?
After liposuction, patients generally experience mild swelling, bruising and discomfort in the treatment area. Dr. Altamira recommends compression garments or elastic bandages after surgery to help reduce these symptoms as the area heals. Patients can return to work and other regular activities as soon as they feel comfortable, which is usually after a few days. However, patients should avoid exercise and other strenuous activities for a few weeks.
Results of the liposuction procedure may not be apparent until swelling and bruising subside. Bruising should go away in a few weeks and swelling should completely subside within a few months. Scarring is almost nonexistent because the cannula incisions are so small.
Unless the patient gains a substantial amount of weight, the results of liposuction are long-lasting. Patients can expect good results after their procedure, although there is no guarantee. Results will vary on an individual basis. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedure and another surgery may be necessary.
“Just want to take the time out to Thank Dr. David Altimira he has changed my life, Dr. Altimira gave me new hope a new chance at life, I was struggling with everyday tasks that we all face on a day to day, his hands are precision tools he has a god given talent, Im overcome by a sense of happiness when in his presence, he has brought me and my Family great happiness, I’m on my journey to a better life! Thank your Dr. David Altimira and staff y’all are all loved and appreciated!!!” – Dominic G.
What is SmartLipo?
SmartLipo is an innovative laser-assisted liposuction technique that is commonly utilized to refine areas of the body such as the following:
- Abdomen and hips
- Bra line
SmartLipo procedures are performed in any one of offices located in Houston, Sugar Land or Cypress. Dr. Altamira will use local anesthetic and, possibly, a light sedative to help minimize discomfort.
The SmartLipo procedure involves small incisions and the insertion of a thin tube, or cannula. At the end of this tube are laser fibers that emit pulses of heat that get absorbed by fat cells, melting them for the easiest possible extraction through the cannula. As an addition to fat removal, the laser-tipped cannula also stimulates collagen synthesis that encourages the skin to firm and tighten.
A laser is used along with the cannula to melt fat cells before they are removed. The liquefaction of fat cells makes their removal easier and less traumatic. In traditional liposuction, the cannula breaks apart and suctions out fat cells, causing more swelling and bruising.
Benefits of SmartLipo
There are many benefits to SmartLipo. When treating a large area a combination of SmartLipo and traditional liposuction allows for fat removal and skin tightening. Other benefits include the following:
- Better surgical control
- Faster recovery
- Less bleeding, bruising and swelling
- Moderate skin-tightening effect
- Can help correct irregularities from prior liposuction
What is the recovery process like for SmartLipo?
The minimally-invasive nature of SmartLipo incurs equally minimal downtime. Patients who have tiny areas treated, such as the double-chin, may be able to return to work the day after their procedure. In general, most patients need only 1 to 2 days of rest before returning to work and other light activities. Swelling typically decreases significantly within the first week after SmartLipo. However, it can take up to three months for any changes to the skin to be fully realized.
What is Vaser Liposuction?
Vaser liposuction is a modern ultrasound-assisted liposuction technique that has been developed for minimal-invasiveness and impressive results.
How Does Vaser Liposuction work?
This method of fat extraction selectively targets and emulsifies fat cells in areas such as the abdomen, hips, love handles, thighs, saddlebags, knees, back, arms, neck, and chin. The breakdown of fatty tissue before extraction significantly reduces trauma to surrounding tissue and structures such as nerves and blood vessels. At the same time, it increases the accuracy of body-sculpting.
The Vaser Liposuction Procedure
Like SmartLipo, Vaser liposuction is typically performed in the office under local anesthetic. This is included in a tumescent solution.
- Target areas are confirmed and may be marked
- Tumescent fluid containing lidocaine and epinephrine is introduced into the treatment area or areas. This will numb nerve endings and shrink blood vessels.
- A thin probe is inserted through the incision to deliver ultrasonic waves to dismantle fatty deposits.
- Emulsified fat cells are suctioned through the small cannula. The area is gently massaged to encourage extraction and contouring.
Benefits of Vaser Lipo
- Bruising and pain are kept to a minimum after surgery.
- Melting fat cells before extraction increases accuracy and enables us to contour large and small areas of the body.
Recovery Process For Vaser Lipo
The immediate recovery from Vaser liposuction is quick – less than a day. Patients wear a compression garment for about 12 hours to support their new contours and skin retraction. After this time, regular, light activity can typically be resumed. Exercise is excluded. Even though the treatment area is only minimally disrupted during Vaser lipo, healing needs to occur, and this can take a few weeks. Exercise and more strenuous activities can resume approximately two weeks after treatment.
Schedule a Consultation
If you are interested in a Liposuction procedure and would like to see if you are a good candidate for either Traditional Liposuction, SmartLipo or Vaso Lipo, call (713) 271-9000 to schedule a consultation. Dr. Altamira has plastic surgery offices in Houston and Sugar Land, Texas.