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.
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. When treating a large area a combination of SmartLipo and traditional liposuction allow for fat removal and skin tightening.
Liposuction Treatment Areas
- 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
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.
What is SmartLipo?
SmartLipo uses laser technology to liquefy fat cells before removing them with suction. The laser also coagulates surrounding blood vessels, resulting in less bruising and swelling after surgery. A great benefit of this procedure is the skin-tightening effect caused by the heat of the laser, which stimulates the production of collagen.
SmartLipo by Dr. Altamira
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. In addition, SmartLipo can also help correct irregularities from prior liposuction.
Benefits of SmartLipo
- Better surgical control
- Faster recovery
- Less bleeding, bruising and swelling
- Moderate skin-tightening effect
Schedule a Consultation
If you are interested in a Liposuction procedure and would like to see if you are a good candidate, call (713) 271-9000 to schedule a consultation. Dr. Altamira has plastic surgery offices located in Houston and Sugar Land, Texas.