Liposuction is a surgical procedure whereby localized fatty deposits that are resistant to dieting and exercise can be removed with minimal scarring. A narrow, hollow instrument, called a cannula, is inserted under the skin through a very small incision. A powerful vacuum then removes the fat cells as the cannula is moved back and forth underneath the skin. The ideal patient for a liposuction procedure is a person at their ideal body weight, firm skin tone, and with one or two regions of their body that need reducing. In women, these areas most commonly are the upper lateral aspect of the thigh (“saddle bag” area), and just below the waist (“love handles”).

Procedure:Improve body shape by removing exercise-resistant fat deposits with a tube and vacuum device. Can be performed using the tumescent technique, in which targeted fat cells are infused with saline containing solution with a local anesthetic before liposuction to reduce post-operative bruising and swelling. Common locations for liposuction include chin, cheeks, neck, upper arms, above breasts, abdomen, buttocks, hips, thighs, knees, calves, ankles.For larger volumes of fat or for fibrous body areas, ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty (UAL) may be used. UAL is a new technique in which a ultrasound probe is inserted beneath the skin to “liquify” the fat before it is suctioned.
Length:1 to 2 hours or more. UAL: 20-40 percent longer than traditional liposuction.
Anesthesia:Local, epidural, or general.
In/Outpatient:Usually outpatient. Extensive procedures may require short inpatient stay.
Recovery:Back to work: 1 to 2 weeks. More strenuous activity: 2 to 4 weeks. Full recovery from swelling and bruising: 1 to 6 months or more. Use of tumescent technique or UAL may decrease post-operative bruising and swelling.
Duration ofPermanent, with sensible diet and exercise.

Men most commonly complain of excess fatty tissue around their midriff (“spare-tire”). Other areas that can be treated with liposuction are the medial thigh, knee area, abdomen, calves and the chin area. Some cases of excess breast development in men can be treated with liposuction. Less common areas that can be treated with varying degrees of success are the ankles, arms, and cheeks.

Once the fatty tissue is removed, the skin must shrink down to accommodate the smaller and altered contours. In people with loose skin tone, this contraction of the skin may be incomplete. People tend to develop loose skin with age, but heredity is perhaps the most important factor. Some people at age 45 have excellent skin tone; others at 20 are borderline candidates for liposuction. If the skin tone is less than ideal, the benefit of a smoother contour will still be achieved, but there may be some rippling of the skin. Some patients are prepared to accept this; others may opt for an excision of the excess skin at the time of surgery, or as a second operation. These alternatives will be discussed with you at the time of your consultation.

Most liposuction is done under a general anesthetic, which means the patient is asleep during the entire operation. Small areas, such as the chin, can be done under a local anesthetic with sedation to help the patient relax. Most surgery is done on an outpatient basis, but some patients having large areas treated may be kept overnight. Very extensive liposuction may necessitate a blood transfusion. Under these rare circumstances, arrangements are made for you to donate your own blood prior to surgery.

After surgery a compression garment (a special type of girdle) or supportive tapes will be used. These must be maintained for six weeks after the surgery to allow the skin the best opportunity to contract down and achieve a good result. The areas treated by liposuction will be bruised and tender, but most people experience very little pain. Any routine postoperative pain can easily be relieved with mild pain medication. Depending on the type of work you do and the number of areas being treated, you may return to work 3-7 days after surgery. Mild exercises and sports may be resumed after three weeks.