The New Jersey plastic surgery experts at the Plastic Surgery Group are sensitive to the difficulty many individuals have eliminating stubborn deposits of fat from certain “problem areas” on the body. Often, a person can be at or just slightly above their ideal bodyweight and still have localized pockets of fat that are resistant to a healthy diet and fitness routine. In these situations, liposuction surgery can help.
Liposuction is an effective way to remove excess subcutaneous fat (i.e., fat that is under the skin) from nearly any area of the body. Specifically, liposuction can treat the abdomen, flanks (“love handles”), back, knees, inner and outer thighs, hips, buttocks, upper arms, chest, chin and neck.
Liposuction is not a tool for massive weight loss. Instead, it is a procedure used to sculpt, or fine-tune, certain areas of fat that do not respond to a healthy lifestyle. Again, suitable liposuction candidates are at or within about 15 pounds of their ideal weight, and feel that they can maintain this weight. Although the fat cells that are removed with liposuction will not grow back, the residual fat cells can grow larger with moderate weight gain. With significant weight gain (of about 10 percent or more of one’s own bodyweight), new fat cells can develop both within and outside the treated area.
In addition, liposuction cannot restore skin elasticity and is intended for individuals with good skin health. This is so the skin will “bounce back” to a smaller shape and size after liposuction. For individuals with loose skin that has lost its elastic quality, a more intensive body contouring procedure such as abdominoplasty (“tummy tuck”) might be required for optimal aesthetic results.
With that in mind, appropriate candidates for liposuction surgery generally include individuals who:
• Are at or slightly above their optimal bodyweight, and feel confident they can maintain that weight following surgery
• Are bothered by localized fat deposits that are resistant to healthy lifestyle habits
• Have sound skin elasticity
• Are in good general health, both physically and mentally
Also, suitable liposuction candidates have a positive body image overall, as well as reasonable expectations for the surgical outcome (i.e., they seek cosmetic improvement, not perfection). Lastly, appropriate liposuction candidates have decided to have the procedure of their own volition.
During consultation with the board-certified plastic surgeons at The Plastic Surgery Group, the surgeon reviews the patient’s medical and surgical history and listens to their aesthetic objectives for surgery. Depending on the person’s anatomy, aesthetic goals and other factors such as how many areas of the body will be treated, the plastic surgeon recommends the treatment he or she feels is most appropriate to address the person’s unique anatomical needs and aesthetic concerns.
Liposuction surgery is generally performed on an outpatient basis, under general anesthesia. In select cases, liposuction may be performed under local anesthesia in the office or under IV sedation. Rarely, an overnight stay at a medical facility may be required for individuals undergoing liposuction on many areas of the body, or if a large volume of fat is being removed.
To start the liposuction procedure, the plastic surgeon makes several small incisions in the treatment area(s). He or she strategically places the incisions in areas of the body that are easily concealed either by clothing or by the natural contours of the body. The plastic surgeon typically injects a tumescent solution comprised of lidocaine (an anesthetic), epinephrine and sterile saltwater into the area to be treated, to minimize blood loss and bruising. The surgeon then inserts a cannula (a thin, hollow tube) through the incision, suctioning out the unwanted fat. Stiches are placed to close the miniscule incisions. The treated area is dressed with bandages and an overlying compression garment.
Following liposuction surgery, patients should expect to take four to seven days off from work or their usual routine. During this time, they need to get plenty of rest and avoid vigorous activity, including exercise.
The treatment area may be swollen, sore, bruised or numb, but these are normal symptoms that will improve with time. Patients must wear a compression garment over the treated area for several weeks following the procedure, as directed by the plastic surgeon.
The aesthetic results take about six months to become fully actualized, as this is how long it takes for any residual swelling to subside, but there will be some visible improvement immediately. During the follow-up appointments at the Plastic Surgery Group office, the surgeon monitors patients’ progress and let them know when it is safe to resume their normal activities, including their fitness regimen.
To schedule a one-on-one consultation with one of our board-certified plastic surgeons to find out more about liposuction, contact the Plastic Surgery Group by calling (973) 233-1933 for our Montclair location, or (212) 321-0406 for our New York City office.