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Have any stubborn fat you can’t seem to get rid of, no matter how much you diet and exercise? Liposuction at our Columbus, Ohio office is a foolproof solution. Here are some frequently asked questions about liposuction that may be able to help you determine whether or not it is the best option for you:
- What is liposuction?
- What is SmartLipo™?
- What is Lipodissolve?
- Which type of liposuction is best for me?
- Do I have to have general anesthesia to have liposuction?
- What is the procedure like?
- What is recovery like?
- How do I choose the right surgeon?
- If I have liposuction, will the fat come back in other areas?
- What are the risks of liposuction?
- Do I need liposuction or a tummy tuck?
- Do I need both liposuction and a tummy tuck?
What is liposuction?
Simply put, liposuction is an outpatient operation that removes pockets of fat. It works by suctioning out fat, almost like a vacuum cleaner. That said, liposuction is not a weight loss procedure. It is not safe to remove large amounts of fat with it, but it is perfect for contouring parts of the body, and for removing particular areas of fat that just won’t go away.
What is SmartLipo™?
There are many ways to perform liposuction, and all of them remove fat with suction. SmartLipo™ claims to dissolve the fat with a laser, which makes the job easier for the surgeon. The laser heats up the dermis (lower layers of the skin), so it has the effect of tightening the skin. The Columbus Institute of Plastic Surgery now offers this method of liposuction.
What is Lipodissolve?
Lipodissolve uses injections to chemically dissolve fat. This is unfortunately too good to be true—the chemical used is not FDA approved. To perform Lipodissolve, many injections need to be administered as it only works on about a dime to quarter sized area. This means that to do a thigh, for example, up to hundreds of injections would be required for it to work, which would be very uncomfortable for a patient. For these reasons, along with the fact that there is a good chance that Lipodissolve simply does not work, our practice does not offer it to our patients.
Which type of liposuction is best for me?
There are many types of liposuction available today. New methods are being developed every day, and our surgeons are always learning and staying at the forefront of plastic surgery. The current methods include Smartlipo™, Ultrasonic liposuction, Suction-Assisted liposuction, and Power-Assisted liposuction. These all have a lot in common—they can be performed with only light sedation, they all use tumescent fluid, and the incisions used are very small—but the main difference is how the fat is “melted.”
Smartlipo™ uses a laser, Ultrasonic uses ultrasonic waves, Suction-Assisted uses suction, and Power-Assisted uses mechanical power. Each works as well as the next. The best method for you depends on your individual needs. Our surgeons are happy to discuss all of these with you during your consultation.
Do I have to have general anesthesia to have liposuction?
Absolutely not! In fact, most of our patients have liposuction with only IV sedation, also known as twilight anesthesia. With this type of anesthesia, the patient is awake during the procedure. This may sound a bit worrisome, but rest assured that with IV sedation, the patient is very comfortable and does not remember any part of the surgery the next day.
What is the procedure like?
During the operation, tiny incisions—each about the size of a mosquito bite—are made in two to three spots of the area where the liposuction will be performed. Then, a mix of numbing medication and medications that reduce bleeding is placed in the area through the incisions. Usually, the fluid—called tumescent fluid—inserted and the fat removed is a 1:1 ratio, meaning if two pounds of fat are being removed, two pounds of the medication mix would be put in. This is called the tumescent liposuction technique. It numbs everything so that surgery is possible while the patient is awake. Next, the fat is removed using liposuction cannulas. Following the procedure, small pieces of tape are placed over the incisions beneath gauze and a compression garment.
What is recovery like?
As you wake up from surgery, you may feel only a mild amount of pain, or no pain at all. Regardless, you should take oral pain medication as soon as you can, so that the medication has time to kick in.
It is very important to take into consideration the amount of pain you will experience; which is dependent on the amount of fat removed and the number of areas from which it was taken. For example, if you have one pound of fat removed from one area only, then you probably have a very mild amount of pain. If you have more areas worked on or a larger amount of fat removed, you will feel more pain. Soreness will continue for about two weeks. Here are some other after-effects to keep in mind:
- Bruising is usually an issue if several areas are involved; bruising is present for about seven to ten days post-op.
- For a day or two following surgery, lots of seepage from the incision points will occur. It will resemble the fluid that comes out of a ketchup bottle before the ketchup itself comes out. The body is not bleeding; this seepage is normal. Keeping gauze over the areas as instructed is very important.
- A good amount of swelling is completely normal and part of the healing process. A compression garment is worn for about six weeks, during which the swelling recedes.
- After liposuction, patients can return back to work in just a few days, but again, this depends on the amount of fat removed and the number areas worked on.
How do I choose the right surgeon?
This is arguably the most important decision of this whole process. It is very important that the surgeon is board certified in plastic surgery specifically—many surgeons are board certified, but not in plastic surgery. The surgeon should also be trained in plastic surgery and belong to the American Society of Plastic Surgery. Both Dr. Bivik Shah and Dr. Robert Centeno belong to it, and they are one of the few surgeons who perform liposuction in our Columbus Institute of Plastic Surgery offices, rather than off-site.
If I have liposuction, will the fat come back in other areas?
Some common concerns that patients tend to have are related to the longevity of results following surgery. With liposuction, specifically, people often wonder whether the fat will return to other areas of the body. The answer to that is no; however, it is entirely possible if a patient doesn’t maintain their weight by leading a healthy lifestyle. Diet and exercise are huge components of overall health, and they will keep the fat from returning at all. In terms of fat returning the area that the liposuction was done, a patient would have to gain over fifty pounds for any weight gain to be visible in that area.
What are the risks of liposuction?
Like any surgical procedure, there are some risks associated with liposuction. These include the usual dangers of bleeding, infection, and undergoing anesthesia. In very rare cases, an infection may become severe enough to warrant a trip to the hospital.
The most common complication to occur after liposuction is the presence of a small area that is firm or uneven. This will usually go away on its own or by massaging the area for about two months. If it doesn’t go away, you may need it to be removed with more liposuction. It is an easy fix.
You may have read sensationalist news stories about deaths resulting from liposuction. We want to stress the rarity of this occurring—it is about 1 in 5,000 surgeries. The majority of these tragedies occur because an under-trained doctor fails to follow the safest procedures, or attempts to remove too much fat at one time. Our surgeons understand the limitation of this procedure and are careful not to over-tax the healing capabilities of the human body.
Liposuction is a very safe procedure and, when performed by trained individuals, is an excellent way to achieve the body of your dreams.
Do I need liposuction or a tummy tuck?
If your goal is to have fat removed to achieve a smaller belly, then liposuction is your best bet. If you have stretchmarks, loose skin, or a little pouch in the lower half of your belly, then a tummy tuck would be a better option. In general, liposuction will do a wonderful job of removing fat, however it will not tighten the skin or tighten the abdominal muscles. A tummy tuck will remove all of the skin, stretch marks, and fat under the skin from the belly button to the groin hairline.
Do I need both liposuction and a tummy tuck?
If you would like to have fat and loose skin removed, having both liposuction and a tummy tuck simultaneously would mostlikely be your best option. Getting both at the same time will allow you to achieve a full hourglass figure.