Posted December 16, 2015
Liposuction is an invasive surgical procedure that improves body contour by removing fat cells between the skin and the underlying muscles. Though it’s commonly thought of as a weight loss solution, liposuction is meant to be a sculpting procedure for various parts of the body: the abdomen and waist; hips and thighs; and the cheeks, chin, and neck. It is used to reshape areas of the body that have most likely not responded to regular diet and moderate exercise. Liposuction is not an effective treatment for cellulite, stretch marks, or sagging skin.
The best candidate for liposuction is someone who is close to their ideal body weight. They have localized areas of fat that are resistant to change through diet and exercise. The person may have unwanted bulges but should not be overweight. In some cases, liposuction can be used to initiate a weight loss program but it is not intended to remove large quantities of fat.
Liposuction can be performed on any adult man or woman who is generally healthy and active. While there are no age limits for the procedure, it’s important to take note of the skin’s elasticity. As we age, our skin starts to lose the ability to snap back after it’s been stretched by fat.
The procedure consists of cannulas (small stainless steel tubes) that are inserted into the body through very small incisions in the skin. Fat deposits are dislodged by the tubes and then suctioned out with the surgical vacuum. This procedure is typically performed as an outpatient procedure. It may be combined with other procedures to achieve the patient’s desired outcome.
The results of liposuction come in several stages and vary based on each individual. Results may be seen immediately after the surgery, but then swelling will take over. 80 to 90% of the swelling should disappear within three months. Most people see final results six months after surgery, but you may continue to see improvements for up to a year.
The length of recovery depends the type of procedure and where it was performed. Most doctors recommend taking a week off from work, but those getting small amounts of liposuction may only need a few days. Exercise and other strenuous activity can typically be resumed in two to three weeks following the procedure. Most patients will be back to full speed within four to six weeks, though swelling may last longer. A compression garment should be worn over the treated areas for four to six weeks. This will help control swelling and promote the skin contraction. It’s important to follow your doctor’s post-surgery instructions to ensure the shortest recovery time possible.