What to Expect After Liposuction Treatment?

With over 80,000 procedures performed yearly liposuction is the #1 cosmetic procedure performed in the United States. The benefits of liposuction include instant improvement to the appearance, however, there are many misconceptions about what to expect after treatment. Liposuction is done under local anesthesia, so there is no downtime or pain associated with the procedure.

Patients are encouraged to get up and walk around within a few hours of surgery in order to help prevent blood clots from forming in their legs. The most common places liposuction is performed include the abdomen, chin, back, arms, thighs, buttocks, and hipline. For areas like the arms, thighs, and buttocks liposuction is commonly performed with another surgery to sculpt the body (e.g. lipectomy). The Tummy tuck procedure is often paired up with liposuction.

The most common complaints that patients complain of after surgery are swelling and bruising. Swelling can last for several months, which is completely normal due to the trauma of having surgery in that area. Bruising is normal and will usually go away within a few weeks.

What is Liposuction Treatment?

Liposuction is a cosmetic procedure, so there is no guarantee of fat loss or weight loss. In some cases, liposuction can actually add more volume to the area because it empties out pockets of fatty tissue that had been previously untouched by diet or exercise. When performing liposuction on the stomach the surgeon aims to remove excess fat but not tighten the abdominal wall.

The main goal of liposuction is to improve contour and shape by removing localized pockets of fat. After treatment, you should be able to resume activities within 2-3 days depending on how strenuous your job is. Most patients are very pleased with the outcome of their procedure, however, it is important to remember that the final results of liposuction will not be apparent until 6-8 weeks after treatment.

Does it Really Remove Excess Fat or Fat cells?

Liposuction does not reduce the number of fat cells in the body; it simply removes excess fat that your body can’t get rid of on its own. The most common areas for liposuction treatment are the abdomen, chin, back, arms, thighs, and buttocks. It is a kind of a weight-loss method, but not that conventional.

Tumescent Liposuction vs Liposuction

During liposuction treatment, you will be given either tumescent anesthesia or general anesthesia. Liposuction with tumescent anesthesia uses a solution of saline and epinephrine to place the patient under a local anesthetic. The solution causes muscle paralysis that eliminates discomfort. The procedure is also much faster because it doesn’t require the same level of anesthesia.

Liposuction is also done under general anesthesia, which is given intravenously. This technique requires an overnight stay in the hospital and has a much longer recovery time because it places the patient in a coma-like state. Recovery time for liposuction treatment using tumescent anesthesia can be anywhere from 2-3 days, while liposuction treatment requires a much longer recovery period.

Overall, tumescent liposuction is a much safer and less invasive procedure compared to traditional liposuction.

Benefits of The Liposuction Procedure

The most common areas for liposuction treatment are the abdomen, chin, back, arms, thighs, and buttocks. For these specific areas, the benefits of liposuction include:

– instant improvement in appearance

– safe and effective (well-researched) procedure

– no downtime or pain/discomfort associated with the surgery

– less invasive than traditional liposuction

– minimal scarring, which is easily hidden beneath clothing

– not a permanent weight loss solution, but can assist in weight loss by removing excess fat

– relatively low cost compared to other plastic surgeries

Types of Liposuction

There are 3 main liposuction techniques, including:

– Superficial Symmetric Suction Assisted Lipectomy (SASAL)

This is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that uses a cannula and suction to remove fat from the body. It can be used on nearly any part of the body and has a high success rate. All the loose skin is also taken care of.

– Ultrasonic Assisted Lipectomy (UAL)

This type of liposuction is performed with an ultrasonic aspirator, which breaks down fat cells as it sucks them up into a cannula for removal. With UAL, the cannula has an ultrasonic tip that breaks down fat into tiny pieces to assist with liposuction. It is also called ultrasound-assisted liposuction.

– VASER Liposuction

Laser-assisted liposuction uses ultrasound waves to liquefy fat cells before they are suctioned up through a cannula. VASER suits larger areas and is very popular with patients who want to reshape their bodies and get rid of stubborn pockets of fat in specific areas such as the stomach, arms, or thighs.

Each procedure is customized for the specific needs of each patient. If you are considering liposuction, it’s important to speak with your doctor about what approach will work best for your body type and desired results.

How Long is the Recovery Phase?

Recovery time for liposuction varies widely, depending on the type of anesthesia used, which areas are treated, and how many procedures are performed. For tumescent liposuction, recovery takes about 2-3 days. With more traditional liposuction methods, recovery takes at least 2 weeks to a month or longer.

Are There Any Side Effects?

The most common side effect of liposuction is bruising, which will fade in about 2 weeks. You may also experience some numbness or discomfort at the site of the incision that can last for several months, but this usually subsides after a short period. Side effects are rare, but they include rippling and changes in skin texture, which improve over time.

Are the Results Permanent?

The results are not permanent, but they are long-lasting if you maintain your weight with a healthy lifestyle.  Liposuction is only fat removal, so over time, new fat cells can form and bulges can return in different areas of the body and you can gain weight again.

What Should I Expect in Terms of My Appearance?

Results vary depending on your individual needs, your body type before the liposuction surgery, and how much fat is removed. Some patients may need several procedures to achieve the results they desire, but you can expect to see an improvement in the appearance of your body with each procedure.

With tumescent liposuction, results are usually visible within 7-10 days after treatment with most patients looking like they have lost 5-10 pounds. However, the final results are not noticeable for at least 2 months after treatment due to the remaining fluid in the body.

The liposuction procedure is usually performed on an outpatient basis so you can go home on the same day as your surgery and return to regular activities within a few days.

Dr. Jim Brantner M.D. provides the full range of cosmetic surgery and reconstructive plastic surgery. Get in touch with us for more information.