Liposuction is an elective cosmetic surgery procedure to “remodel” ones body by removing discrete pockets of fat that are resistant to diet and exercise. Liposuction is one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures in the US. The goal of liposuction is very simple: to remove fat to make the treated area thinner.
If you have one or more areas that are always heavier than the rest of your body, it is probably an inherited trait and, for most people, no amount of diet or exercise can bring these areas into proportion. If you have very heavy hips or thighs and the rest of you looks thin, when you lose enough weight to achieve thin hips or thighs, the rest of your body becomes too thin. Thankfully, liposuction can help attain a proportional body shape.
Liposuction is not a weight-loss method, as it removes fat from specific areas, while weight-loss, at least in most individuals, results in fat loss all over your body. Ironically, the thinner you are, the better your liposuction results will be. If you are generally heavy, diet and exercise will improve your overall body shape better than will liposuction. When a person loses weight, they lose fat from all over their body. Liposuction does not do the same thing as weight loss.
Where Can Liposuction be Performed?
Liposuction can be done on many different areas of the body.
- Cheeks & Chin – You may be a good candidate for this procedure if your cheeks are fuller than wish them to be and your skin is very supple. Removing fat under the cheek bones can create a more pronounced hollow to accentuate the cheek bones. Fat can be removed from under the chin as well.
- Nasolabial Folds – Those with thick heavy folds of fat just above the smile lines may benefit from liposuction of the fat from the area called the nasolabial folds. A very small cannula is used to remove fat from this area through a tiny incision in the nose or mouth. This procedure does not erase the smile lines but it may help them appear less deep. The facial skin must be supple enough not to droop after this procedure, otherwise a skin tightening procedure may be needed.
- Neck – Many people have extra fat in their neck, even if the rest of their body is thin. A tiny incision is made under the chin and (sometimes) behind the ears to accomplish this procedure. For some patients, especially older ones, some type of lifting procedure may be necessary in addition to liposuction.
- Arms – If the upper arms are too heavy, liposuction can restore proper proportion. Just as is the case for any area of the body, the skin should be supple to ensure that it will not be loose after fat removal. If the skin is loose, a tuck procedure, called a brachioplasty, may be a better alternative than liposuction alone. When liposuction of the arms is done, there is the possibility of sculpting the fat to accentuate the muscles. In addition, if you are contemplating liposuction of the arms, be aware that you may have to wear compression sleeves down to your hands to prevent your wrists and hands from swelling due to the compression of the upper arms.
- Chest (Female) – Reducing breast size is generally done with a surgical procedure known as breast reduction. A reduction mammoplasty or breast reduction involves removing skin, fat and breast tissue and tightens the skin and moves the nipple to a higher position. Although liposuction can reduce the size of the breasts, only a small amount of fat can be removed, so this procedure works best for women whose breast skin is tight enough to avoid drooping of the breasts after the fat is removed.
- Chest (Male) – Enlarged male breasts, a condition medically known as gynecomastia, is not unusual among men. When breast enlargement is primarily due to excess fat, liposuction can relieve the problem.
- Abdomen and Hips – The abdomen and hips are among the most common areas treated by liposuction. For patients with supple skin the results are usually very pleasing. Often, Dr. Gerut does some sculpting to accentuate the outline of the abdominal muscles. If you have lost a fair amount of weight or have had children, bulging of your abdomen or hips may be due to loose skin and/or muscles, in which case liposuction will not be as effective as you wish. During your consultation, Dr. Gerut will advise you as to the best options for your specific situation.
- Brazilian Butt Lift – Liposuction around the buttocks followed by fat injection into the buttocks is increasingly popular for patients wanting a more lifted and sculpted bottom. Although fat injection is never 100% effective, the removal of fat from the lower back (lumbar area) adds to the success of the procedure.
- Thighs – Liposuction can be effectively done at the inner thigh and the outer thigh. As with any area, the results are best if the skin is supple. For patients who have loose skin, a thighplasty procedure may be done with the liposuction.
- Lower Legs and Ankles – For those with heaviness of the knees and lower legs or ankles, liposuction can be very rewarding. Because the skin is thick and usually not loose, the results are often quite rewarding. As you probably know, many individuals’ feet and ankles swell simply from standing all day. If you have liposuction of the lower legs, you will wear special stockings to keep the swelling down for quite some time after surgery and you may have to wait longer to see the final results.
Ideal Candidates for Liposuction
Liposuction is appropriate for healthy adults who:
- Have one or more areas of the body that are heavy or out of proportion
- Have skin that is fairly tight and supple
- Have a stable weight that has not increased/decreased more than 20 lbs. for many years
- Have areas of fat that remain even after losing weight.
How Liposuction is Performed
Liposuction is an elective outpatient plastic surgery performed in Dr. Gerut’s fully accredited and licensed surgical suite located in his office in Hewlett, Long Island. Plastic surgery patients benefit from the attention to detail and patient comfort and safety that result from Dr. Gerut’s many years with the same surgical team, which includes a board certified anesthesiologist. If the area to be treated is small, such as beneath the chin, local anesthesia, with or without sedation, can be used. If the area to be treated is more extensive (thighs or abdomen, as an example), or you wish to have several areas treated in the same session, such as thighs and abdomen, for example, general anesthesia is the most comfortable choice.
Several different types of liposuction have been developed over the years, including the standard, tumescent liposuction, as well as laser-assisted liposuction, called SmartLipo, which is also called laser-assisted liposuction. The benefits of both procedures will be discussed with you at your plastic surgery consultation. The primary difference between traditional tumescent liposuction and SmartLipo is the ability to tighten the skin during the liposuction procedure.
Once anesthesia has been placed, tumescent fluid, made of sterile salt water, will be placed into the area to be treated. Tiny incisions are then made to allow Dr. Gerut to insert the small cannula (hollow tube) to remove the fat. After he has carefully sculpted the treated area, steri-strips will be placed over the incisions and a dressing applied. If you are having a larger area of liposuction, such as in the abdomen, thighs or arms, a compressive garment will be applied at the end of the procedure. You will wear this garment 24/7 until Dr. Gerut instructs you to discontinue its use.
Recovery from Liposuction
Most patients recover quickly from liposuction. Discomfort is usually minimal but, naturally, the larger the treated area the more discomfort that is experienced. Bruising and swelling are normal consequences of the procedure and can be treated with ice packs. Walking is the best exercise, and Dr. Gerut advises against more aggressive exercise until he gives you the go-ahead. Incisions are well-hidden and are tiny, resulting in nearly invisible scars.
The results of liposuction can have a positive effect on the way you feel about yourself. If you’re concerned about areas of fat that you have been unable to lose with diet and exercise, board certified New York plastic surgeon Dr. Gerut is here to help you. Call us at 516-295-2100 or complete our online consultation form to learn how you can get the look you’ve always wanted!