If you’ve tried dieting and exercise but never seem to lose the fat in the right areas, you may have considered liposuction as a solution. We are here to help you understand all aspects of the procedure and help you decide if undergoing liposuction is worth it for you.
What Is Liposuction?
Liposuction is a minimally-invasive cosmetic procedure that permanently removes stubborn areas of fat to sculpt and contour the body. It can be used on many “problem areas” such as abdomen, back, bra bulges, hips, thighs, butt, arms, and neck. It is performed by a plastic surgeon who inserts a thin cannula through tiny incisions to suck out the fat.
Liposuction has been around for some time – ever since the first cannula was invented in Italy in the late 60s. And it has shown amazing staying power, even though other fat reduction treatments have flooded the market in recent years. According to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, it is one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures in the world, with 1.7 million procedures performed in 2018.
89% of members of the plastic surgery review site Realself rate liposuction as “worth it.” They cite that they have more confidence, feel younger, and like that their clothes fit better than before. Many also say it has helped them develop a healthier lifestyle and increased their fitness.
Benefits of Liposuction
There is a reason why liposuction is so popular. Its main advantage is that it produces dramatic results after a single treatment. Patients can see their results almost immediately once the swelling resolves. By comparison, non-invasive treatments like SculpSure and CoolSculpting require several sessions, with months before a patient will see any results.
On the other hand, liposuction is only minimally-invasive. No general anesthesia is necessary, the downtime is just a few days, and the tiny incisions don’t tend to scar. This makes liposuction preferable to a tummy tuck for patients who shy away from more invasive surgery.
As a special bonus, the fat that’s removed from one area can be purified and transferred to the breasts or face to create more fulness.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Liposuction?
Ideal candidates are within 30% of their ideal body weight, in good general medical condition, and don’t smoke. If you are just looking for a weight-loss solution (Orbera), liposuction may not be the best answer. Its focus is body contouring, not losing weight.
Another indicator for a good liposuction outcome is skin elasticity. A good candidate has excellent skin elasticity, as the skin needs to shrink back to the new body contours after the fat is removed. If a patient has bad skin elasticity due to aging, pregnancy, or extreme weight loss, the skin won’t shrink back. Typically, younger patients have better skin elasticity, but it’s not always a matter of age alone.
How much of your fat is visceral also plays a role. Visceral fat cannot be suctioned off. This tends to be more of a problem in men than in women.
Here is a simple test: If you can pinch your skin and it springs right back, it likely has enough elasticity to provide good results. But the best way to determine if you’re a good candidate for liposuction is to schedule a consultation with a plastic surgeon.
Which Type of Liposuction is Best?
All liposuction suctions off fat, but there are many different technologies to achieve that. Power assisted lipo employs an oscillating cannula for a speedier procedure. Water assisted lipo uses a saline solution to flush out the fat while numbing the area. Laser lipo (mostly known as SmartLipo) uses a hot laser to liquefy the fat. Ultrasound-assisted lipo uses a type of vibratory energy to loosen up the fat. And radio-frequency assisted lipo (RFAL) emulsifies the fat and helps collagen production. Aqualipo combines water assisted lipo with one or more of the other methods to achieve maximum fat removal and skin tightening.
RFAL is the newest among liposuction techniques. BodyTite in particular has shown great promise with skin contraction. This is very encouraging for candidates with poor skin elasticity who previously could not hope for good liposuction outcomes. Patients who might previously have needed a tummy tuck or arm lift now have a less-invasive alternative using RFAL.
We’d like to emphasize that selecting the proper procedure is less important than selecting the right surgeon – ideally someone who routinely performs liposuctions. In many cases, a single technology won’t achieve the desired outcome, but rather a combination based on a careful assessment of your situation.
How Much Does it Cost?
According to Realself, the average cost of liposuction is $6,125 Most surgeons quote prices based on treated areas – with the first area the base price and subsequent areas heavily discounted. You can have several areas treated in one liposuction procedure, such as your abdomen, things, and bra bulges. The more areas treated, the longer the procedure.
Please note that cost can vary greatly based on geography, surgeon experience, fee structure, type of liposuction, type of facility, or type of anesthesia. When comparing surgeons, make sure you know what is and isn’t included in the quote – some plastic surgeons do not quote an all-inclusive price.
It is also worth noting that liposuction is considered cosmetic surgery, meaning it is not covered by moth health insurance.
We hope we have given you a good idea if liposuction may be worth it for you. We would love to have you meet with a board-certified plastic surgeons to help you determine if you’re a good candidates. Click here to schedule a consultation in Nashville or Memphis, TN.