Liposuction is a surgical fat removal procedure to slim and smooth treated areas and eliminate stubborn fat pockets that persist with exercise and dieting. Body contour can be dramatically enhanced by removing fat judiciously from the right areas. For many patients, liposuction helps to kickstart their fitness goals and serves as motivation to continue toning and shaping their bodies at the gym.
There is a common misconception that liposuction is a simple and fast procedure. It is actually a lengthy multi-step procedure that requires experience to achieve great results. First, tumescent solution is infiltrated into the tissue that we plan to remove. This solution contains epinephrine to constrict blood vessels and reduce bleeding and lidocaine to reduce pain. Next, we perform power-assisted liposuction with the SAFE technique to remove fat through very small incisions with long thin cannulas. SAFE – Separation, Aspiration, and Fat Equalization – is a three-part process to break up the connections between the fat cells, remove fat evenly, and then further smooth the contour and remove any irregularities. Some surgeons also add an additional step of applying energy, such as ultrasound, laser, or radiofrequency energy, to help break up the fat and potentially lead to skin tightening. These energy devices have added risk and have not yet been shown to significantly change outcomes, so I do not currently use them. Some of the newer technologies are promising and research is under way.
The best candidates for liposuction are patients with areas of excess fat and good skin tone. After removal of fat, the skin shrinks back to some degree but there is a risk of loose skin if too much fat is removed. Keep in mind that liposuction is used to enhance the body’s contour, but it is not a weight loss surgery and does not affect the fat on the inside of the abdominal wall that surrounds the organs. Before and after liposuction, it is important for patients to maintain a stable weight for the best possible results. Significant weight fluctuation can lead to contour irregularities that may need to be corrected.
Depending on how extensive the liposuction procedure is, a closed-suction drain may be required for 1-2 weeks after surgery. Drains reduce the risk of seroma, a fluid collection formed by your body in response to surgery.
Patients initially have swelling and may notice areas of firm tissue where liposuction was performed. In most cases, we provide patients with a compression garment to wear for 2-6 weeks after surgery. The majority of the swelling goes away in the first month after surgery, but it takes 3-6 months for the swelling to completely resolve and to see the final result. For many patients, we offer endermologie or manual lymphatic decompression treatments in our spa to help swelling go away faster.
Liposculpture and liposuction essentially are the same thing. Liposculpture refers to the finesse procedure of creating fine contours when sculpting the body. Liposcupture can be performed alone on people with limited body fat as a sculpting procedure. It can also be performed as the final stage of liposuction after most of the de-bulking has taken place and the goal then is to finely sculpt areas of the body like the abdomen, hips, underarm fold, and other small areas where smooth contours are desired. Liposculpture can actually re-shape the body and it truly is a body contouring procedure. Sometimes it’s even combined with fat grafting in order to decrease curves in some areas and create curves in others. Some athletic patients with enviable physiques prior to surgery can actually take their appearance to the next level with liposculpture. This process is ideal for addressing areas of stubborn fat that don’t respond to diet and exercise. It is rare that even the most fit people are perfectly proportioned. Sometimes liposculpture may be the “secret” of the fitness instructor with the seemingly flawless physique.
Liposuction can be completely transformative in removing unwanted excess fat and creating smooth contours. Lipo 360, as the name would indicate, is Liposuction all the way around the midsection. By performing liposuction to the front of the abdomen, the waist, flanks, or “love handles” and even the lower back, the waist can be made significantly smaller. In women, lipo360 accentuates the hips and buttock, creating a feminine hourglass contour to the body. In men, lipo 360 can restore the V-shaped chest and abdomen that’s typical of very fit men. Of course this can make patients look and feel great in swimwear, or out of clothing, but it also make clothing fit beautifully by eliminating any bulges and making beautiful curves. Patients can then enjoy wearing belts, tucking in shirts, and having shirts and dresses that are form fitting.
Dr. Schmidt and Dr. Law typically prefer to perform Lipo 360 with the assistance of an MD anesthesiologist. This allows for optimal safety, enhanced patient comfort, and for the most ideal and dramatic results.
Cankles, or heavy ankles can often be corrected with liposuction for a beautiful result. A patient must be carefully evaluated to be sure the issue is excess fat and not edema. Many women with very large calves find liposuction of this area to be life changing The term cankles is a word to describe thick lower legs. Ideally, the lower calf area will taper and provide a contour in the lower leg near the ankle. Even slender and very fit women can have unwanted fat in the lower leg area. This unwanted fat may make women uncomfortable in dresses, skirts and shorts, and it may even make wearing boots difficult if not impossible. Removing unwanted fat from the lower leg through liposuction can provide a beautiful result that can make the legs look longer and provide a more slender looking silhouette. The removal of fat in the lower leg is a procedure that requires precision and attention to detail. When excess fat is expertly removed in way that leaves legs well proportioned and smooth the results can be absolutely transformative.