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Liposuction: What to Expect

Submitted by Dr. Bernabe Vazquez on July 31, 2020
Your liposuction questions answered

When you’re in pretty good shape, but still struggling with stubborn fat in hard-to-change places, liposuction is a highly effective treatment option. This procedure has been popular due to its success rate since the 1980’s and goes by several names such as lipectomy, liposculpture, lipoplasty, body contouring, or (most commonly) just lipo. 

Liposuction is a safe surgical procedure that uses a suction technique to remove undesirable fat for patients who are close to their ideal weight and have small areas or pockets of fat that they are unable to get rid of naturally through diet and exercise alone. 

What happens during liposuction? 

More extensive surgeries require general anesthesia, however more localized treatment areas might only require local anesthesia. Small incisions are made in easy-to-hide locations near where the procedure is being performed, and a cannula (a thin tube that connects to a vacuum) suctions fat from the body. Depending on the extent of fat being removed and parts of the body being treated, the procedure may take less than an hour, or sometimes several. 

What happens after liposuction?

Post-surgery, pain levels during recovery depend on the treatment area, pain tolerance, and the amount of fat removed – but are almost always manageable. Recovery time is shorter than for procedures like a tummy tuck, breast augmentation or face lift — but it still takes time. The use of ultra-tight compression garments are imperative to swelling reduction and pain management, and also help give you the best results possible. We also highly recommend a round or two of lymphatic massage after your surgery, as it speeds your recovery, reduces swelling, and promotes healing. It could take several months to see final results, as the body swells after the procedure. To keep the surgery results long term, the patient should maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Popular liposuction treatment areas include …

Liposuction around the abdomen, waist & flanks is a very popular option.
  • Upper and lower abdomen – these should be treated together to achieve a smooth, consistent appearance.
  • Flanks – also known as the rear of the “love handle” area, removing the flanks results in a more hourglass figure.
  • Waist – “love handles” are difficult to get rid of for both men and women. Liposuction causes a noticeable decrease in size as the waist area has optimal skin elasticity.
  • Inner thighs – the desire to not have the inner thighs touch (or having a “thigh gap”) is very popular with women.
  • Outer thighs – also referred to as “saddle bags”, the outer thigh is a common problem area for women.
  • Buttocks – for those wanting to shape the rear, there are better procedures such as the Brazilian butt lift.
  • Upper arms – liposuction can remove excess skin and fat due to aging while toning the area.
  • Hips – women desire a more feminine silhouette with a curvy defined buttock and hips.
  • Neck – for those who have a stubborn double chin or sagging skin, lipo will safely remove and tighten unwanted fat and tissue.
  • Lower legs – often a bit more challenging, due to having to reshape the entire calf/ankle with very little “deep fat” pockets.
  • Face – sculpt the natural contours of the face by removing small pockets of fat/tissue to enhance the cheekbones and eyes.

Although liposuction is a very popular and common procedure, it is still wise to do your research and choose a board certified plastic surgeon for this (or any) cosmetic procedure to reduce your risk. Dr. Bernie Vazquez has been actively board-certified for the duration of his 35-year career, and has successfully and safely performed liposuction and other cosmetic surgery procedures for thousands of patients. 

Ready to learn more about liposuction or other plastic surgery procedures? Give us a call, and we’ll get you set up with a free, no-obligation consultation.