The Skinny on Liposuction
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What is Liposuction?
Liposuction is a body contouring procedure that reduces fat under the skin to address trouble spots throughout the body.
Traditionally liposuction has been used to tweak areas resistant to exercise such as the love handles, the lower abdomen, the neck, and the buttock. Liposuciton is performed through small access incisions hidden in inconspicuous areas. Because of this, the recovery is relatively quick compared to more invasive surgery, and the restrictions after surgery are few.
Unfortunately, however, liposuction does not have the ability to address any excess skin laxity. The overall success of the procedure depends on the skin retracting back after the fat is reduced. The ideal candidates are young patients with good quality, elastic skin. In patients where the skin does not retract, a skin tightening procedure can be performed to address the excess loose skin.
Not sure if you need skin tightening? Check out our blog post: “Do I Really Need A Tummy Tuck?.
Can I Use Liposuction To Help Jump-Start My Weight Loss?
An alternative use of liposuction is as a debulking procedure during weight loss to “jump start” the process of slimming down. This procedure results in a modest weight loss and an incremental improvement in contour that helps motivate patients to continue losing weight through dieting and exercise.
Compared to traditional liposuction, debulking liposuction focuses on performing the procedure quickly with large cannulas to get rid of as much fat as possible in as short a time as possible. This change in focus keeps OR and anesthesia time down and, therefore, significantly reduces cost. There is less attention paid to fine contour refinement and, therefore, patients must accept that there may be contour irregularities that may need further tweaking with contour focused liposuction or surgery in the future.
Recovery After Liposuction
As with any surgery, the pain after liposuction is usually worse in the 2-3 days immediately after surgery and tends to improve after that. Management of pain is usually through a combination of narcotic and non-narcotic pain medications taken by mouth, oral medications that lessen muscle spasm, and long acting local anesthetics injected during surgery or infused from a small pump.
Post-operatively, patients who have liposuction of their torso are placed into an specialised compression garment with smoothing foam backing. Patients wear this for the first two week after surgery. At that point, Dr. Tauber then recommends patients transition to a Spanx OnCore Firm Control Open-Bust Bodysuit or a Spanx Power Conceal-Her Medium Control Open-Bust Bodysuit (available on Amazon) for smoothing compression for the next month.
Get more details on the management of swelling and scars in blog post: Post-Operative Care After Plastic Surgery.
The ability to return to work and everyday activities is variable and depends on many factors including the type of work, the pain tolerance of the patient, and the extent of the procedures. Most patients are ready to return to their lives in 2 weeks.