Liposuction was introduced in the 1980’s and has grown in popularity to become the most common cosmetic surgery in the United States. Its appeal stems from the fact that great improvement can be achieved in body contour through small, inconspicuous incisions. It is more definitive than the non-surgical fat dissolving methods offered elsewhere. However, unlike common misconceptions about liposuction by the public, it is a real operation that requires the excellent judgement, and technical expertise of an experienced plastic surgeon like Dr. Sultan for it to be performed safely and successfully.
The ideal candidate for liposuction is the person who harbors diet and exercise resistant fat in discrete areas of the body. It is not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle. Rather it is a tool to be used judiciously to improve the contour of areas genetically programmed to be disproportionately more prominent than others. Examples include the thighs of some women or the “love handles” of some men. It is our job to help you decide if you are a candidate for this operation. Liposuction thins, but does not reliably tighten skin and so it must be restricted to areas with good skin tone. Also, it improves but does not reliably cure “cellulite”.
Rumor has it, that if you undergo liposuction of one body area, another can gain weight. This is not true as long as you maintain your weight within approximately ten percent of your weight at the time of surgery. Therefore, we do not ask that you be at your lowest weight to undergo liposuction but rather at a reasonable weight that you can maintain comfortably afterwards.
Preparation for liposuction includes avoidance of medications like Advil, Motrin and Aspirin that can cause bleeding, for two weeks prior to surgery. The surgery is typically done under a light general anesthetic called LMA (laryngeal mask anesthesia). The length of surgery will vary depending on the number of sites operated upon.
There are different ways to do the surgery. We prefer the tumescent technique which infuses the surgical site with anesthetic solutions, and the “Power Assisted” method for removal of the fat. In combination these provide our patients reproducibly excellent results in our hands. The Power Assisted method provides a mechanical advantage of an oscillating hand piece. This leads to less trauma to the tissues and a smoother, better result. We do not use internal lasers or other heating methods because they carry a higher complication rate than the Power Assisted method. Some surgeons prefer to leave the incisions open to drain. We do not, because the drainage can be cumbersome. Instead we close the small incisions with sutures that are removed at the first post-operative visit five days after surgery. We advise that patients wear compression garments for one to two weeks after the surgery. Walking is also important to help maintain leg circulation. Bruising and swelling can last three weeks but exercise may be resumed one week after surgery. It can take six full months for all the swelling and scar tissue to resolve and to see the final results. In the correct candidate, utilizing the best techniques, liposuction is a highly effective and gratifying procedure.