in Phoenix & Scottsdale AZ
What is liposuction?
Liposuction is a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure that uses a thin, hollow tube called a cannula to remove localized areas of body fat. The cannula is inserted through extremely small incisions and then moved back and forth to loosen excess fat, which is suctioned out using a vacuum or a cannula-attached syringe. Treated areas look slimmer and more contoured, and in better overall proportion to the rest of the body. However, liposuction is not a method for losing weight and is not effective in eliminating cellulite or tightening loose and sagging skin.
Who is a Good Candidate for Liposuction?
The ideal candidate for liposuction is in good overall health but has one or more areas of fat that do not respond to diet or exercise. Areas that are often treated with liposuction include the thighs, abdomen, arms, back, hips, buttocks, chest, face, calves, and ankles. Liposuction can be performed alone or in conjunction with other cosmetic procedures, such as rhinoplasty and abdominoplasty.
The Liposuction Procedure
One of the most common liposuction techniques is tumescent liposuction, which may get an assist from ultrasound or laser. It is performed on an outpatient basis.
During tumescent liposuction, a solution comprising a saline solution, lidocaine (an anesthetic), and epinephrine (a blood-vessel contractor) is injected into the area being treated. The solution causes the targeted tissue to swell and becomes firm, which makes it easier to remove via the cannula. The advantages of this technique are that the anesthetic is built-in, so there is no need for general or IV sedation, and blood loss is minimized because the epinephrine constricts blood vessels.
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How long after liposuction will I see my results?
Patients enjoy the way they have immediate results and that they continue to get even better moving forward after liposuction. The fat removed by Dr. Ong is gone for good. You’ll immediately notice a difference in the treated areas. These will continue to improve as your swelling and bruising clears. With the fat gone, the overlying skin will begin to tighten down, and this will continue to happen for a few months.
What can you not do after liposuction?
Recovery after liposuction is not difficult at all. There aren’t really any restrictions on what you can or cannot do. This is quite different from a tummy tuck, where patients cannot lift anything over 8 pounds for a period of weeks due to the long incision. The one must after liposuction is to wear your compression garments for the duration that Dr. Ong recommends. These garments not only reduce swelling and bruising, but they also help the skin and tissue adapt to your new slimmer contours.
How much fat can be removed in my liposuction session?
Sometimes, Dr. Ong sees a patient who believes that liposuction is a weight-loss procedure. It is not. Actually, removing too much fat in a single surgical session is dangerous; there is a limit to how much fat can be safely removed at one time. This is generally thought to be no more than 12 pounds or 6,000 milliliters. When Dr. Ong removes fat with liposuction on the lower face, chin, and neck, she takes far less fat than areas such as the abdomen or thighs.
Are my results from liposuction permanent?
As mentioned above, Dr. Ong removes the fat cells permanently with liposuction. Humans typically have a set number of fat cells, and those cells become smaller when we lose weight and larger with weight gain. With liposuction, some of these cells are removed, and these cells are gone for good. If you gain some weight, your existing fat cells typically become larger. However, if you gain a large amount of weight, your body can create new fat cells.
Most of our Scottsdale patients are so thrilled with their slimmer contours after their liposuction that they consciously make a point to adopt a healthier lifestyle moving forward, eating better food, and exercising regularly. When you do this, patients love their slimmer contours for the rest of their lives.
Does the skin tighten down once the fat is removed with liposuction?
During your consultation with Dr. Ong, she checks the elasticity of the patient’s skin. This is to ensure that it still has enough elasticity that it can tighten down once the fat beneath it is removed. Wearing your compression garments is an important aspect of this. The compression created by these garments helps your skin tighten down to its new slimmer contour.
If Dr. Ong feels that the patient doesn’t have good elasticity in his or her skin, she won’t recommend liposuction. Removing fat under loose, inelastic skin won’t create a good result. If this is the case in the abdomen, for instance, Dr. Ong would then recommend a tummy tuck instead of liposuction because tummy tucks mainly remove loose, sagging excess skin.
Is there much pain after liposuction?
As mentioned above, early liposuction in the 80s was a somewhat violent procedure, and the patient had to be under general anesthesia. The tissue trauma created could make for lingering soreness for a few weeks.
Thankfully, those days are over. Thanks to the tumescent solution Dr. Ong uses, the fat is easier to remove, blood vessels are constricted, and lidocaine provides local anesthetic. Recovery is not overly painful at all, it’s more of a soreness than can be easily managed with over-the-counter pain medication.
What are the potential risks involved with liposuction?
When liposuction first came to the U.S. from France (where it was developed) in the 1980s, it was a pretty violent procedure. Cannulas were large and had to be moved back and forth very aggressively under the skin to break loose and suction away the fat. This caused extensive bleeding and subsequent bruising and tissue trauma that could last for months.
That has all changed. Today’s tumescent liposuction swells the area, constricts the blood vessels, and makes the fat cells easier to break loose and suction away. The procedure has become less and less invasive, and initial recovery usually takes just a couple of days. Formerly, patients had to be under general anesthesia, but now only sedation and local anesthesia are required.
But this is still a surgical procedure despite the fact that it doesn’t involve large incisions. It involves the risks of any surgery: excessive bleeding, infection, reaction to anesthesia, and the like. These are all rare with liposuction.
There are some specific complications with liposuction:
- Contour irregularities — The treated area can appear bumpy or wavy. If the patient has inelastic skin, this is more prevalent.
- Numbness — Any numbness in the area is usually temporary, but it can endure.
- Fluid accumulation — Temporary pockets of fluid (called seromas) can form. These may need to be drained.
All in all, liposuction is a very popular and satisfying procedure for Dr. Ong’s patients, and the risks are minimal.
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Call today for questions or to schedule an appointment at (480) 771-7771 or complete a Contact Form here! Ong Institute for Plastic Surgery and Health proudly provides Scottsdale, Phoenix, Mesa AZ, and the surrounding areas with liposuction procedures.