The Truth About Liposuction
Liposuction is now the most common cosmetic procedure today aside from injectable procedures for the face. Despite its popularity and acceptance, misconceptions are not uncommon. One of the biggest ones being that liposuction is a weight loss procedure which is unfortunately not true. Because there seems to be some mystery around this procedure and its results, we’ve decided to clear the air and answer the most common questions that come along with it.
What is liposuction?
Liposuction is a surgical procedure that’s used to remove stubborn fat from areas that are traditionally resistant to diet and exercise including the stomach, love handles, thighs, back, under the chin, waist, and hips. The procedure is usually done with thin tubes called cannulas being inserted into the body, dislodging fat cells, and suctioning them out with the vacuum that the tubes are attached to.
Liposuction is often used in combination with other procedures. For example, the fat that’s extracted can be purified and transferred into other areas of the body like the face, buttocks, breasts, or other areas where the patient wants to create more fullness and volume.
Many patients prefer liposuction because it is an outpatient procedure and takes only about an hour or two depending on how many and how large the areas you are treating.
Do you have to go to sleep to have liposuction?
As mentioned previously, liposuction is an outpatient procedure. But an even greater aspect of this procedure is that it does not require general anesthesia especially when combining liposuction with SmartLipo laser technology. In most cases a patient will pre-medicate with a relaxation medicine which provides adequate light sedation for the procedure. With the advent of laser technology and improved methods for liposuction, SmartLipo enables Dr. Vendetti to be gentler throughout the procedure and eliminate the need for general anesthesia.
Fat reduction ≠ weight loss
Weight loss and fat reduction tend to be used synonymously, but the reality is they are not the same thing. When people think of weight loss, they typically think of shrinking the numbers they see on the scale. This is not a bad thing IF they are also reducing fat through a healthy diet and exercise. Often times too strong of a focus can be placed on reducing your weight quickly, resulting in unhealthy tactics that don’t ultimately lead to fat reduction.
If you have a lot of fat to lose, incorporating a healthy diet and exercise should result in both fat reduction and weight loss. After a while you may get to a point where you struggle to lose additional fat because your body is fighting to maintain its current weight. In this case, you are likely a good candidate for liposuction. Most people are also not aware that fat tissue is much lighter than muscle tissue and even after removing larger volumes of fat, the weight loss will definitely be improved but will not always be dramatic.
Who is a good candidate for liposuction?
While almost any healthy individual can pursue liposuction, the best candidates for liposuction have a BMI (body mass index) of or below 35. If it’s a weight-loss solution or cellulite treatment that you’re after, liposuction will not give you the results you’re looking for.
Good skin elasticity is also essential to get the best results; once the fat has been removed, the skin needs to snap back and adjust to the body’s new contours. If the patient’s skin has poor elasticity, the skin won’t shrink and you’ll be left with sagging. Patients with a significant amount of loose skin around the belly will have better results from a tummy tuck. However, another benefit of SmartLipo that Dr. Vendetti utilizes is the ability to tighten skin to these areas which does lessen the laxity following a SmartLipo procedure. The effectiveness is not dramatic but it can be helpful in avoiding a tummy tuck.
Does liposuction hurt?
As you are sedated before the procedure and all areas that will be treated are given local anesthetic, it should not hurt. However, recovery will be somewhat uncomfortable and you will likely feel sore for at least the first few days following the liposuction procedure. Because Dr. Vendetti’s use of SmartLipo with his procedure, it is more gentle to the tissues and it is very uncommon to require anything more than Ibuprofen after this kind of procedure. We recommend that our patients take off between one to two days after liposuction depending on how many areas were treated and the level of soreness. You’ll be swollen however bruising is minimal with the use of SmartLipo when performing liposuction.
How soon will I see results and how long will they last?
You may notice improvements in your body’s contour immediately although, because of swelling, your results can be disguised after the procedure. Swelling should improve dramatically after six weeks and should continue to go down over the next six months. It may take up to a year to continue healing and see the best results so if you think you might need more lipo to get the result you were looking for, wait at least that long before being re-evaluated by your physician.
If you maintain your weight post-liposuction, your surgical results should remain without change. When you start to gain weight, the fat cells in other parts of your body and the remaining fat cells in the area you had treated will grow larger and start to diminish your results. While the surgery will make you unable to exercise for a period of time, you should get back into the habit as soon as possible.