Liposuction is a minimally invasive, cosmetic surgery primarily used to improve appearance rather than provide physical health benefits. Often, those who pursue lipo are those who have tried every other alternative (healthy lifestyle – balanced diet, consistent exercise, regular sleeping habits, etc) without the desired results. Liposuction is then considered in order to treat the areas of body fat that are resistant to exercise and diet.
As people gain weight, fat cells begin to slowly increase in size and volume. Liposuction significantly reduces the number of cells in the targeted area. In a sense, liposuction could be considered a fat prevention technique just as it is an excess fat removal technique.
What Areas Does Lipo Target?
Liposuction is used to remove fat from areas of the body that haven’t responded to diet and exercise, such as the:
- Upper abdomen
- Lower Abdomen
- Lower Back
- Bra roll
- Male chest area
- Inner thighs
- Outer thighs
- Upper arms
Types of Liposuction
Tumescent liposuction utilizes a combination of saline solution with an anesthetic (lidocaine) and a vessel-constrictor (epinephrine) to prepare the targeted area for suction. These three solutions are pumped just below the skin. The fat is then suctioned out through small suction tubes. Tumescent is one of the most popular liposuction techniques.
Dry liposuction is seldom used today as there is a higher risk of complications, bruising, and bleeding during and post-operation. No fluid is injected prior to fat removal. (NuBody Concepts does not utilize dry liposuction for fat removal.)
Power-Assisted Liposuction (PAS):
Powered liposuction uses a specialized, mechanized cannula that moves back-and-forth rapidly. This allows plastic surgeons to remove fat more easily.
Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction (UAL):
Ultrasound or ultrasonic liposuction uses a small tube (cannula) that is energized via ultrasound. This often melts the fat away on contact. The vibrations break down the walls of the fat cells and emulsify the fat, which makes it easier to suction it out. This method is great for fibrous areas (such as the back or male breast) or areas that have been treated with lipo before.
Once ultrasonic lipo has been performed, suction-assisted lipo is used to remove the liquified fat.
Radio Frequency Assisted Liposuction (RFAL):
Also referred to as radio frequency assisted lipolysis, this technique applies radio frequency energy through a thin cannula that is inserted under the skin. This energy generates bursts of targeted heat that contracts the underlying tissues, making it one of the best skin tightening techniques available today.
Combined with tumescent or power-assisted lipo, RFAL is an effective non-surgical alternative to tummy tucks, arm lifts, and thigh lifts.
Laser-Assisted Liposuction (LAL):
Laser-assisted liposuction is similar to tumescent and ultrasonic lipo. This procedure uses tumescent fluid and a small tube to deliver laser energy through a small incision to emulsify the fat underneath the skin. Laser lipo is less invasive and causes less trauma than many other liposuction methods.
The Lipo Procedure
As stated above, liposuction typically takes about 2 hours to complete. It may take 30-60 minutes longer if you add on skin tightening for even better results. Most patients are able to resume normal activities within 1-2 days.
Does Fat Come Back After Lipo?
Most often, no, fat will not “come back” after liposuction. Once the fat has been removed from the area, it will not grow back. However, the fat cells that do remain in that location can grow bigger as a patient gains weight.
One thing you may notice post-op: because there are fewer fat cells in the treated area, other areas of the body where treatment did not take place may appear to be bigger in size comparatively.
What are the Risks?
As with any surgical procedure, liposuction does carry its own risks. Some of the most common side effects include bleeding or an adverse reaction to the anesthetic. Before the procedure, your plastic surgeon will discuss all known risks with you to make sure you are fully informed and consent to the treatment.
Risks may increase if the surgeon is working on larger portions of the body or performing multiple procedures during the same operation. It is best to talk with your surgeon about these risks and how they may apply to you.
Does Liposuction Offer Lasting Results?
The results of the procedure will not be noticeable right away. Typically, after liposuction, there is a short waiting period for inflammation to go down. For some it may be several weeks and others several months. However, most swelling settles after the first month and you should notice less bulk at the operation site.
Permanent results will typically be seen in patients who are able to continue managing their weight. However, as mentioned before, as weight is gained post-op, the distribution of the weight may alter. If someone had liposuction performed on their hips, they may notice weight gain in their buttocks.