Baltimore patients who are having difficulty achieving a slimmer, better-contoured shape may consider a fat removal procedure, such as liposuction. Disproportionate body contours due to localized fat deposits are often the result of inherited traits rather than a lack of weight control or fitness. Liposuction can be performed anywhere on the body to slim and reshape these problematic areas. Also known as "suction lipectomy" or "lipoplasty", liposuction is the surgical removal of localized or regional excess fatty tissue.There are multiple techniques to consider, which can be discussed during the initial consultation with Dr. Woodyard. Liposuction can be performed on the tummy, back, hips, flanks, buttocks and thighs.
Liposuction Surgical Technique
Liposuction is performed through multiple small incisions in or near the area(s) to be suctioned. A cannula (hollow tube instrument) is inserted to loosen the fat which is then suctioned out of the body using a surgical vacuum or syringe attached to the cannula. The fat is usually discarded but can be injected into other areas of the body for isolated area of soft tissue augmentation. This procedure, known as fat grafting, is most frequently performed for buttock augmentation or to diminish wrinkles and restore youthful fullness to the face. When significant amounts of fat are suctioned, a compression garment is worn during the healing period to limit swelling and to help skin conform to the reduced body contour. Some common liposuction methods are outline below.
Tumescent "Super-Wet" Lipo
Tumescent liposuction is a common approach used by surgeons. It is a suction-assisted (SAL) form of lipo that first injects a liquid agent into the area that is to be treated. The liquid agent includes saline, Lidocaine (a numbing agent) and Epinephrine (a medication that controls bleeding). A cannula is then inserted and passed through the fat deposits, suctioning them out. An attached power-aided motor allows the surgeon to control the speed of the fat removal, which can be as great as a few pounds or as little as several ounces.
Ultrasound-Assisted Lipo (UAL)
Ultrasound-assisted liposuction (known as “ultrasonic”) is a technique used on areas where a greater amount of dense fat resides. It’s a dual process using ultrasound and suction. First, ultrasound waves transmit energy through a special device aimed to help loosen and melt the fat. This liquid is then suctioned out using a cannula. UAL liposuction is commonly used on men seeking a higher level of muscular definition. You may hear this type of liposuction referred to as hi-def liposuction or VASER® Lipo, or simply Vaser hi-def.
Liposuction During/After Surgery
Liposuction is performed either using general anesthesia or twilight sedation. It is considered an outpatient procedure. On average, each body part (i.e. tummy, thighs, etc.) will take approximately 30 minutes to complete. After surgery, patients will wear a compression garment on the treated areas. Liposuction will produce scars where the cannula incision was made, but these are usually small and will fade over time. Your improved shape will become apparent as the swelling subsides and the results may gradually improve over the following 2-6 months. With continued attention to diet and fitness, the loss of excess fatty tissue should be permanently maintained.
Liposuction Expected Cost
The price for liposuction will vary depending on the technique used and the extent of the surgery, and range anywhere from $3,000 to $9,500.
Plan Your Procedure
- Total Cost
- $3,000 - $9,500
- Recovery Time
- 3-5 Weeks
- Average Procedure Time
- 1-5 Hours
- Post-op Follow-up
- 1 Week
- Procedure Recovery Location
How Safe is Lipo?
The media sometimes tells stories of liposuction patients who have endured bad results at the hands of inexperienced surgeons. Today’s liposuction techniques are much safer and more predictable than ever before, but surgeon skill still remains the number one factor when researching this procedure. The goal is to attain a natural and smooth result. An experienced surgeon will be able to provide this outcome.
Is Lipo Permanent?
The good news is, fat cells that are removed during liposuction do not come back. Unfortunately, patients can still gain weight after surgery because the remaining cells can expand and become larger. However, patients who adhere to a healthy diet and exercise program will continue to see results years after surgery.
How Much Fat?
The amount of fat removed really depends on the size of the patient and their aesthetic goals. From a safety standpoint, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons recommends roughly 10 pounds of fat or less. Otherwise it is considered a high-volume liposuction, which does present an increased set of risks. It’s advised to get down to your ideal weight before undergoing a liposuction procedure.
Skin Tautness (Laxity)?
Liposuction is a surgery that removes fat and enhances the actual shape of the body. It does not address skin imperfections caused by sagging skin or cellulite under the skin. During your consultation, a discussion can be had regarding the available procedures, which address and improve skin texture. Some procedures recommended to correct skin laxity include abdominoplasty, thigh lift, neck lift, and butt lift surgeries.