The Ins and Outs of Lipo
By guest blogger Michelle Copeland, D.M.D, M.D
(Part 2 of a 3-part series)
In the first installment of The Skinny on Liposuction we discussed how to know if you’re a good candidate for this body contouring procedure. This section we will call THE INS AND OUTS OF LIPO – things to consider and tips I give my patients based on years of providing liposuction to hundreds of patients.
To recap: Liposuction removes fat cells through small incisions, and once removed they are gone from that area forever – eliminating lovehandles, cankles, waddle neck, flabby arms, and all of those other annoying areas where fat deposits and can be impossible to contour through diet or exercise. By removing the fat cells, the skin around the affected area is stimulated to tighten for a better shape.
Online Consultation Notes:
How long does the procedure take and will I need anesthesia?
The length of the procedure depends on the area and amount of fat to remove. The type of anesthesia used will also depend on the area, but often local or twilight anesthesia is used.
Will there be scarring?
Refinements in liposuction using narrow cannulas has resulted in little to no scarring, and any scarring can be well hidden by an experienced plastic surgeon.
What can I expect in the recovery process?
A morning off or a long lunch hour may be all that is needed for some liposuction procedures. Recovery is usually easily managed, with patients returning to work in a few days at the most. I recommend compression garments for a few weeks to help define the new body shape and reduce swelling. Light exercise after a week is helpful in boosting circulation and stimulating the skin to tighten.
How to choose a doctor:
Liposuction is so quick and seems so easy to perform, but it is surgery and you should only consider having it done by an experienced cosmetic surgeon, in a licensed operating room. Check their credentials and find out how often your doctor performs the procedure you are considering. Make sure your doctor has explained exactly what you should expect in terms of results and recovery. Most doctors can also provide before and after photos from their patients. There are also many sites out there that provide patient feedback from their patients – like a yelp for doctors. RealSelf.com is a good one. Last but not least – ask a friend. Who better to give you a referral than a friend who had positive results.
Lipo for a healthy start:
Liposuction has truly been transformative for many of my patients. So many of them have used the procedure as a springboard to better health habits. Maybe it’s the confidence they get from no longer having to worry about outsized arms or hips or stomach, or maybe it’s a feeling of responsibility to their new, improved selves.
How to prepare for liposuction:
· Avoid alcohol, spicy and salty foods the day before the procedure to limit risk of swelling. Don’t take aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications for two weeks prior.
· Do not show up for surgery with a tan or sunburn – sun stresses the skin and may affect pigmentation as the skin tightens
· Bring comfortable clothing you can put on easily after surgery
· Enjoy a pre-op shower since you won’t be able to shower for the first post-op week
· For men: if you are having abdominal lipo, bring a jockstrap for support after the procedure
There are several other liposuction techniques that you should be familiar with if you’re planning to have a consultation. Most of the procedures I perform will utilize several, depending on the objectives of the patient:
Tumescent or “Super-Wet” Liposuction http://www.drcopeland.com/procedures_tumescentlipo.php; is a method I use in almost every procedure. By injecting a solution containing epinephrine and an anesthetic, the blood vessels are constricted and fat pockets are bloated, making it easier to manipulate the cannula under the skin and requiring less jabbing and movement by the surgeon. This method reduces blood loss and results in less post-operative swelling and bruising.
Ultrasonic- Assisted Liposuction http://www.drcopeland.com/procedures_tumescentlipo.php; uses ultrasonic waves, transmitted beneath the skin via a wand-like device, to liquefy fat so that it is easier to remove. For obese individuals, large volumes of fat can be removed during a single procedure.
Power-Assisted Liposuction (PAL) for the Abdominal Area http://www.drcopeland.com/procedures_palipo.php; With this technique, the tip of the suction tube vibrates at rapid speed. The vibration loosens fat cells, making them easier to vacuum out. The procedure is less traumatic to the tissues and less costly than Ultrasonic Liposuction.
VASER Liposuction: http://www.drcopeland.com/procedures_vaserlipo.php; Vaser liposuction combines ultrasonic technology with the power-assisted technique – vibrating cannulas that gently emulsify fat minimizing trauma to the surrounding tissue.
Smart Liposuction: http://www.drcopeland.com/procedures_smartlipo.php; This procedure uses laser light to liquefy fat and tighten the surrounding skin. It involves less downtime and side-effects than traditional liposuction and is particularly good for small areas of fat deposits, for example, the neck and jowls.
Next: we will look at new options for non-invasive body slimming, like Zerona. Do they work and are they safe?
World-renowned, Harvard-trained plastic surgeon, biochemist, and best-selling author, Dr. Michelle Copeland has been sharing her skin care secrets with celebrities for years. After graduating first in her class at Harvard University, she became the first female plastic surgeon in the United States to hold combined doctorate in dentistry and medicine. Dr. Copeland practices plastic and reconstructive surgery in New York City. Learn more at www.DrCopeland.com and www.DrCopelandSkinCare.com