Suction lipoplasty or liposuction removes excess fat deposits, which cause localized bulges in various areas of the body. Through tiny incisions, small tubes are used to suction away the fat deposits.
Liposuction can help your clothing fit better, as well as improve your appearance in a bathing suit. After liposuction, many patients describe the ability to buy clothes that “really fit” – they don’t have to buy larger sizes to accommodate the areas of excessive fatty tissue accumulation.
Suction lipoplasty is not designed for weight reduction. It is a contouring procedure, removing bulges to blend body outlines more aesthetically. Areas of the body where fat deposits can cause localized bulges include the neck, upper arms, upper and lower abdomen, flank areas (love handles), inner thighs, outer thighs and hips (saddlebags), buttocks, knee areas, calves, and ankles.
There are two layers or compartments of fat on your body – a superficial layer which has a fairly even thickness over most of the body, and deep compartments, which exist mainly in the areas just mentioned. If you are not overweight, but have a localized bulge in these areas, you have excess fat in the deep compartment. Deposits of deep compartment fat are hereditary, and usually do not respond normally to diet and exercise. Superficial compartment fat, on the other hand, increases significantly with weight and decreases with weight loss. Suction lipoplasty primarily removes deep compartment fat deposits to remove bulges.
The quality and elasticity of the overlying skin has a major impact on the success of suction lipoplasty. When fat is suctioned to remove a bulge, the overlying skin must shrink or contract to fit the new profile. Dr. Morris will discuss the elasticity of your skin during your consultation. The good news is that most patients generally have some areas where the skin elasticity is amenable to liposuction.
Although there is no absolute age at which the skin becomes too loose for the procedure, after age 50 to 55 (or occasionally sooner), the elasticity of the skin begins to decrease in most patients.
To summarize, a good candidate for suction lipoplasty should have localized fat deposits (not be extremely overweight), and have reasonably elastic skin overlying the areas of concern. This can be determined during your consultation with Dr. Morris.
Before the Surgery
Before your suction lipoplasty, Dr. Morris will very carefully outline the areas of bulging which are to be suctioned, and draw detailed lines to further define the shape and contour characteristics of the fat deposit.
During the Surgery
Tiny incisions are made in concealed areas where possible. We then infiltrate a solution to reduce blood loss. This is the tumescent technique, which Dr. Morris uses exclusively. This is the most important technique to look for when comparing methods of liposuction. He also uses power assisted liposuction which helps reduce the effort needed to remove the tissue.
Quite often plastic and other surgeons use technology as a marketing tool, touting “ultrasound” and “laser” assisted liposuction. Quite often these other methods are more expensive or can produce higher complication rates. No liposuction technique is going to give you a “six pack” unless you already have one under the fat being removed.
Small suction tubes are inserted to the proper depth of the fat deposit. The tube or cannula is then passed back and forth until an appropriate amount of fat has been removed. It is then moved a small distance, and the process is repeated. The entire bulging area is treated in this fashion, carefully removing small amounts at a time, and constantly checking fat thickness and contour as suctioning proceeds.
After suctioning is complete in one area, the opposite side is treated in the same way, comparing the two sides and adjusting to best match. Finally, the incisions are carefully closed, and an elastic garment is placed to put gentle pressure on the skin to prevent excess fluid accumulating in the area suctioned.
All of your incisions will be carefully closed with stitches and hopefully you will have fine line scars. Following suction lipoplasty procedures, most patients have mild to moderate discomfort. Many compare the discomfort to the muscle soreness one gets from exercising after a long period of inactivity. The discomfort is readily controlled with medication and generally lasts only a few days.
To minimize fluid collection and swelling in the treated areas, we’ll ask you to wear the elastic garment we provide for you, depending on the areas treated and the extent of your procedure
You may develop bruising in the treated areas, which will gradually decrease over 7-21 days, depending on your tissue characteristics.
The Stages of Recovery
|Bruising and swelling resolve:||7-21 days|
|Return to work, social activity:||1-3 days|
|Aerobic or strenuous activity:||14 days|
* Unless very many areas are treated, or a large volume of fat is removed.
We encourage return to most normal activity as soon as possible. This will ensure the best result possible. Our patients are extremely pleased and excited about their new shape, which expands clothing options and helps improve appearance in a bathing or work-out suit as well.
Suction lipoplasty does not significantly reduce your body weight – rather, it is intended to improve contour in the areas treated.
When fat is removed from beneath the skin, the skin can become somewhat looser. The degree of looseness depends on the elastic qualities of your skin before surgery and the amount of fat removed. If your skin is excessively lax before the procedure, the additional looseness after suctioning may be undesirable. In this situation, you may require excision of some tissue for an optimal result. As mentioned the cellulite or contouring treatments may also help in this situation. For many patients their primary concern is appearance in clothing; therefore, looseness of skin which is not usually detectable in clothing, is not an issue.
The amount of fat which can be removed depends on the amount present in each deposit. It is important to leave a thin layer of normal fat beneath the skin to prevent rippling or dimpling of the skin surface. Suctioning can only remove fat. If you have a bulge due to muscle or bone it will not be removed.
If you have a rippled or “cellulite” appearance of the skin prior to suction, it will not be eliminated by the procedure. It is possible to see small areas of skin rippling, dimpling, or contour irregularities following suction lipoplasty.
You will have some swelling, bruising, and numbness over the treated areas. These usually resolve in 2-3 weeks or sooner, and you’ll notice feeling starting to return (if it was decreased) in about 2 weeks. Although you’ll see an immediate contour change, it may take several weeks for improvement to be maximal.