Frequently Asked Questions About Liposuction
What is liposuction?
Liposuction is a procedure that removes fat from the body with a small cannula. The liposuction cannula is introduced through very small incisions so that there is very limited scarring with the procedure. Liposuction has been popular for over 30 years, and has been shown to be safe and effective. The equipment and techniques for liposuction have changed and improved over the years, which has allowed improvement of the final results. Liposuction techniques can be used in many areas of the body including the face, trunk, arms, and legs.
What are the indications for liposuction?
The best candidates for liposuction are at or near their ideal body weight but have areas of fat that are resistant to diet and exercise. Liposuction can be performed on patients that are overweight, and many of these patients are then motivated to lose weight and exercise after the procedure. Liposuction can also be used to help correct the aging process, an example being liposuction of the neck. Liposuction can also be used in conjunction with other procedures such as a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty).
The comments below have been made to Dr. Herring as reasons for getting liposuction:
“I have tried to get rid of the fat on my stomach with sit-ups, but it will not go away.”
“I want to wear a two piece bathing suit and want my stomach to be flatter.”
“Since I had children there are areas of fat that I can’t get rid of.”
“I would like for my thighs to be thinner so that I can wear slacks.”
“I am happy with the appearance of my face but would like to improve my neck.”
What are the goals of liposuction?
- Balance the figure so that there is good proportion.
- Have smooth contours in clothes without bulges in the wrong places.
- Improve appearance in bathing suits.
- Improve self confidence and self image.
Should I feel embarrassed that I want to get liposuction?
No. You should never be embarrassed because you want to improve yourself. Millions of patients have had liposuction, and have been inspired to improve muscle tone after the procedure.
Is liposuction safe?
Yes. In healthy patients liposuction is considered safe and effective.
Where is the best place to get the most accurate information about liposuction?
As with any decision made to get a medical procedure, the more information you have regarding liposuction the better. Information on liposuction can either be scientific or it can be opinion. Scientific information on liposuction would be the same for all Plastic Surgeons. Opinions of Plastic Surgeons regarding liposuction will vary to some degree, but in general the information will be similar.
The best source of information regarding liposuction is a person to person consultation with a surgeon trained to perform this procedure.
There are a number of good resources to obtain information including the internet, professional societies, health care professionals, and personal communications with friends, but none of these sources are as good as a person to person consultation. By seeing a Plastic Surgeon, you are able to get information about your specific situation, and the options for treatment. Dr. Herring has performed liposuction for over 25 years and will go over these options that will be used for your surgery at the time of the consultation.
Who should perform my liposuction consultation?
Your liposuction consultation should be done by the same surgeon that will perform your procedure. A trained Plastic Surgeon is able to diagnose your specific situation, and explain what options are available. In addition, the Plastic Surgeon can understand your concerns and your goals, and base your treatment accordingly.
How much time should my Plastic Surgeon spend with me during the consultation for liposuction?
Your Plastic Surgeon should spend enough time during your liposuction consultation to answer all your questions. The consultation for liposuction can last 15 minutes, or well over one hour, depending upon how many questions you want to ask.
What is informed consent?
Informed consent is the process of learning about a procedure and then making a decision regarding that procedure. The patient should go through the informed consent process for liposuction, and understand the material before making a decision to have the procedure. The informed consent process is a shared responsibility of the patient and the Plastic Surgeon. The Plastic Surgeon should provide written material regarding liposuction, and explain it too the patient. The patient should make an effort to understand the details of liposuction so that he/she can make an informed decision.
How does the process work in order to get liposuction?
Before the liposuction procedure, a face to face consultation is completed with a Plastic Surgeon. You will receive printed material regarding liposuction, and have the opportunity to ask questions after you have read the material. There is no time limit to the liposuction consultation, and in some circumstances a second consultation will be done. After the consultation for liposuction, Dr. Herring will make a recommendation for your procedure. The liposuction procedure can then be scheduled.
What type of anesthesia is used for liposuction?
The type of anesthesia used for liposuction varies widely. For very small areas of liposuction, local anesthesia alone may be sufficient. Oral sedation can also be used with local anesthesia for the liposuction procedure. Local anesthesia alone can be used for larger areas of liposuction but many Plastic Surgeons prefer to use small amounts of intravenous sedation given by a qualified anesthesiologist or anesthetist. The combination of intravenous sedation and local anesthesia for liposuction is generally considered safe and effective.
How is liposuction different from a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)?
With the pure liposuction procedure only fat tissue is removed. With the tummy tuck procedure, both fat and skin are removed. There are some patients that are best treated by a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty). There are other patients that are best treated by liposuction. There are also patients that can be treated by liposuction or tummy tuck (abdominoplasty). For patients that fall into the liposuction or tummy tuck category, it is important to understand both procedures so they can choose which one is right for them. Some patients in this category will choose tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) and some will choose liposuction.
What techniques of liposuction are available?
Liposuction can be performed in many different ways. Options for the patient include anesthesia techniques, cannula size, machine type, depth, position, and training of the surgeon. The most important factor is the training and experience of the surgeon. Good results can be obtained with most techniques, but some techniques carry more risk than others due to the inherent nature of the equipment. Dr. Herring will answer questions about options for liposuction at the time of your in person consultation.
Will I have swelling after liposuction?
Yes. There is swelling associated with any surgery, and liposuction is no different. The amount of swelling with liposuction is related to many factors, including the general condition of the patient, location of the liposuction, the amount of tissue removed, and the anesthesia technique.
What is tumescent liposuction?
Tumescent liposuction is a technique commonly used by Plastic Surgeons that involves placing a solution of very dilute medicine in the area to be treated. The medicine serves 2 purposes in liposuction. First, it typically contains an anesthetic that helps numb the tissue. Second, the solution contains a second medicine that helps minimize blood loss. The fluid containing the medicine also serves a purpose in liposuction. After the liposuction procedure there is swelling of the tissue, and the extra fluid helps prevent loss of fluid from other parts of the body that can cause low blood pressure. By performing tumescent liposuction most of what is removed is pure fat, and there is very little loss of blood. Because there is very little loss of blood with tumescent liposuction, the swelling will go away quicker.
What are the types of incisions made for liposuction?
One of the advantages to liposuction is there are no planned long incisions. Because there are no planned long incisions, the healing process has little discomfort. Usually, there are between 2 and 6 incisions that are several millimeters long, or about the width of a pencil eraser. Because the incisions are so small, in most patients they are inconspicuous after healing.
Does the skin shrink after liposuction?
Yes, the skin does shrink after liposuction. The amount the skin shrinks after depends on the elasticity of the skin. In patients with good elasticity there is significant skin shrinkage. In patients with poor elasticity there is less skin shrinkage. The skin shrinkage process does take time after liposuction, and it can take several months for most of the swelling to disappear.
Can liposuction be combined with other procedures?
Yes. Liposuction is frequently combined with other procedures such as tummy tuck (abdominoplasty).
What is the recovery period after liposuction?
Most patients can go back to work the day after liposuction. About three weeks after liposuction almost any activity is possible.
Is there much post-operative discomfort with liposuction?
No. Most patients have excellent recovery and minimal pain with oral pain medicine after liposuction. Many patients will take pain medicine for 1 or 2 days after liposuction, and then require nothing after 2 days.
Does liposuction replace proper diet and exercise?
No. Liposuction is not a substitute for proper diet and exercise. In order to get the best result after liposuction, diet and exercise are necessary. If a patient gains weight after surgery, the final result will not be as good.
Are there any risks with getting liposuction?
Yes. There are risks with any surgery, including liposuction but the risks are considered to be minimal. Risks with liposuction are further minimized when the patient follows the post-operative instructions.
Do I have to go to the hospital to get liposuction?
No. Liposuction can be performed in the office setting. The patient can usually go home after liposuction to recuperate.
When can I drive after liposuction?
Usually the patient can drive 1 or 2 days after liposuction. One restriction is the use of strong pain medicine; the patient should not drive until he/she stops taking that medicine.
How will I contact Dr. Herring after I have liposuction?
At the appointment before the liposuction procedure, you will be given Dr. Herring’s personal cell phone number for any questions and/or concerns.
For additional information on Liposuction, contact Dr. Herring at Herring Plastic Surgery in Fayetteville, North Carolina.