When your body has areas of fat that are very difficult to reduce, liposuction can offer you a means to reliably slim your body contour to a more aesthetically pleasing shape. Liposuction can be done on almost any area of the body, but the abdomen (tummy), flanks (love handles) and thighs are by far the most popular areas that people choose to reduce. The procedure is done on an outpatient basis, and it involves using hollow metal rods called cannulas to suction out excess fat out of the desired areas. Please see our Liposuction FAQ for more information on this procedure.
How does liposuction work?
Your body has two layers of fat underneath your skin. There is a superficial layer which has a fairly even thickness over the body, and a deep layer where excess fat can be deposited and result in bulges. These deep layer bulges are what cause the unwanted changes in your body contour. Liposuction is used to reduce the amount of fat in the deep layer to restore your body contour to a more cosmetically pleasing shape.
What areas can liposuction improve?
Liposuction can effectively reduce fat deposits in the abdomen (tummy area), flanks (love handles), outer thighs (saddlebags), inner thighs, buttocks, face, neck, upper arms, axillas (armpits), knees, and calves.
Are there any limitations?
Liposuction is not a weight loss procedure; rather it is used as effective way to improve the contour of your body. If you are significantly overweight, then liposuction might not be the best option for you. The quality of your skin may or may not be a limitation to liposuction. Please see the next FAQ for more information.
What are the effects of liposuction on the skin?
Liposuction in of itself should not directly affect your skin, however removing a significant amount of fat underneath the skin can sometimes cause the skin to be looser after surgery. The amount of looseness or laxity of the skin is affected by two factors - the amount of fat removed and the elastic properties of your skin. The elasticity of your skin decreases with age, becoming significant decreased by age 45-50. In your consult, Dr. Hermann will go over in great detail his thoughts on how liposuction will affect your overlying skin.
What are the possible risks from having liposuction?
Despite what you have may heard from either stories in the news or from information from other fat reducing techniques, liposuction is a very safe procedure. Of course, the general risks of any surgery (bleeding, infection, abnormal scarring, etc.) are possible in a very percentage of cases, and abnormal contour of the skin is a risk specific to liposuction that does occur in a very small percentage of liposuction cases.
The bad outcomes from liposuction you occasionally read about in the news are usually a result of trying to do too much liposuction at one time. Dr. Hermann is a conservative surgeon who holds your safety a priority above everything, so rest assured he would not perform or recommend any surgery that would put you at significant risk.
How does liposuction compare to other fat loss techniques I have heard about?
It seems that new ways to reduce fat in the body such as with injections, freezing the fat, etc., are coming onto the scene all the time, and Dr. Hermann is asked about these procedure quite frequently. The one thing to remember is that there is a reason that plastic surgeons as a whole do not embrace these new techniques. Although some may actually have some effectiveness in reducing unwanted fat, the problem with these techniques is their lack of reliability in giving consistent results, and many of them can leave a patient with abnormal contour of their body and/or skin.
Plastic surgeons, who are accepted as the experts on improving the appearance of the body, know that liposuction remains the gold standard for safe and consistent improvement of unwanted fat, and therefore continue to use it over the newer techniques with less consistent results.
How does the process of having liposuction go?
First you will see Dr. Hermann in consult where you will discuss your desires for removing unwanted fat. Once you have decided together with Dr. Hermann that your expectations are realistic and that you are a good candidate for the procedure, he will mark the areas you want to reduce and estimate the total amount of fat to be removed.
When you go to the operating room for your procedure, you will be put under anesthesia and Dr. Hermann will make a few very small incisions and then inject a solution into the fat which prevents bleeding as well as numbs the area so that your pain after surgery is decreased. He will then suction out the fat using hollow metal rods called cannulas. After the procedure is complete, you will be placed in a compression garment which you will wear for a few weeks. You will go home the same day as your surgery.
What can I expect in the post-operative period?
Liposuction is not an overly painful procedure. You will have some discomfort in the days immediately following your surgery, but your pain should quickly improve. Bruising and swelling are very common after liposuction. In fact, swelling is fairly constant for about two weeks, but then begins to resolve. The bruising should resolve in 2-3 weeks. By six weeks after your surgery, the swelling should have gone down to a level where you can really start to see the results of the fat removal. Complete resolution of swelling can take as long as 2-3 months.
Dr. Hermann encourages you to return to your daily activities very quickly after surgery, with the exception of exercise or working out, which he asks that you refrain from for a period of four weeks to prevent the risk of post-operative bleeding.
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