What is Liposuction?
Liposuction is a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure that uses a thin, hollow tube called a cannula to remove localized areas of body fat. The cannula is inserted through extremely small incisions and then moved back and forth to loosen excess fat, which is 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.
The ideal candidate for liposuction is in good overall health but has 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 or a thigh lift.
Common Areas Treated with Liposuction
- Hips and buttocks
- Abdomen and waist
- Upper arms
- Chest area
- Cheeks, chin, and neck
One of the most common liposuction techniques is tumescent liposuction, which may get an assist from a laser and is 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. The advantages of this technique are that there is minimal blood loss because the epinephrine constricts blood vessels in the areas. In addition, the anesthetic is built in, so the 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.
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 treated area after fat removal.
Liposuction Before and After
After liposuction, patients experience mild swelling, bruising and discomfort in the treated area. Compression garments or elastic bandages are typically worn 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. Patients should avoid exercise and other strenuous activities for a few weeks.
When Will I See Results After Liposuction?
Results of the liposuction procedure may not be apparent until swelling and bruising subside, which usually takes a few weeks; swelling should completely subside within a few months. Scarring is almost nonexistent because the incisions used for the cannula are so small.
The results of liposuction are long-lasting unless the patient gains a substantial amount of weight. Patients can expect good results after their procedure, although there is no guarantee. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedure and another surgery may be necessary.
In addition to the usual risks associated with surgery, risks associated with liposuction include the following:
- Loose or rippled skin
- Worsening of cellulite
- Contour irregularities
- Change in skin sensation that may persist
- Fluid accumulation
- Irregular pigmentation
- Persistent swelling
When large amounts of fat are removed, surgery to remove excess skin may be necessary.
Liposuction Using SmartLipo
What is SmartLipo?
SmartLipo uses laser technology to liquefy fat cells before they are removed 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.
How Does SmartLipo Work?
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
- Better surgical control
- Faster recovery
- Less bleeding, bruising and swelling
- Moderate skin-tightening effect
Can SmartLipo Be Combined with Traditional Liposuction?
Yes. You may combine both procedures when treating a larger area. You can get fat removal and skin tightening all in one. SmartLipo may be also help correct irregularities from prior liposuction.
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.