Sculpting the body using a suction apparatus has been around since the mid-1980's. There are many areas of the body that have accumulation of fatty tissues that are very difficult to remove with exercise and dieting. In women, the outer thighs, hips and buttocks, and in men, the "love handles" and stomach are very common areas of difficulty. The inner thighs, knees and chest are also sometimes problem areas with some men experiencing abnormal deposits of fat in the breast region. Liposuction is the ideal solution for dealing with these deposits of fat. Using a long suction apparatus (cannula), the deep layers of fatty tissue can be removed in such a way as to sculpt the unsightly region into a far more pleasing appearance. The superficial layers are sculpted with very fine cannulas to create the pleasing lines and contours that fit with a particular body type. The goal of liposuction is achieved using the artistic eye and talented hands of the surgeon in conjunction with the natural contours of the body which, together, create a more beautiful body form.
The operation is most commonly performed under local anesthesia with Light Sleep Sedation. At The Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgery Center, Dr. Persons remains at the forefront of advances in cosmetic surgery. We are among the first to employ the Erchonia EML Laser for liposuction. The Erchonia Laser is first used upon the area to be liposuctioned. This emulsifies the fat and decreases bruising and post-operative discomfort. Small incisions are made around the groin region and/or the buttocks (areas that are hidden by the bathing suit bottom), and a long suction cannula is introduced into the fat pads to be sculpted. The deep, middle, and superficial layers of the pad can then be carefully removed. The use of very fine suction cannulas (microcannula technique), allows for very fine sculpting. Very small incisions, generally about a quarter of an inch in length, are used for a better result. Some of the incisions are closed with sutures and others are left open for drainage. This decreases bruising, swelling, and pain. A pressure garment is then worn for one to three weeks. Over a six week period, the new body lines become more and more apparent.
There Is More To It
Liposuction is a very safe operation; however, like any operation, there are some risks. The very nature of fat removal can sometimes result in irregularities and lumpiness. This is really not that different from what occurs naturally, but the patient needs to be aware that perfect symmetry can seldom be achieved. A new technology called VelaShape is now combined with liposuction in many circumstances in our practice. This technology helps tighten loose skin, decreases lumpiness and is the only FDA-approved treatment for reducing cellulite, the unsightly "cottage cheese" look about which so many women complain. When the skin tone is so lax that hanging can result, a skin excision will generally be advised, although in some instances, the true extent of the laxity cannot be seen until after liposuction.
The medical risks of liposuction are bleeding, infection, and very rarely, fat clots going to the lung. These are very rare problems. Routinely, the patient experiences some numbness over the area that has been treated. This slowly resolves over a four to twelve week period in almost all cases.
There is a good deal of swelling from liposuction. It generally takes about three months to appreciate fully the improvement gained. One can generally see some improvement even before the pressure garment is removed three days after surgery; however, be patient as your body will just look better and better with the passage of time. The recovery time is about three to five days before returning to work and three to four weeks before resuming sports or other physical activity.
The First Month After Surgery
As mentioned, the pressure garment will be worn for a total of one to three weeks. You will wear the garment continuously day and night for five days. You may remove the garment after three days to shower and wash the garment. It must then be replaced for the remaining two days. The garment can then be worn during the day only, for the remainder of the period.While there is generally very little pain after surgery, there is often soreness and stiffness. This can be very mild to moderately severe, and it generally lasts about three to seven days. There is often a variable amount of discoloration which takes a few weeks to completely resolve. After three weeks, massage and soaking in a hot tub or spa can be very useful in helping decrease soreness.