Houston Liposuction

Dr. Tang on Houston Liposuction

Liposuction - Before and After

Liposuction has become the number one most common cosmetic surgery procedure in the United States. The American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons estimate that, in 2008, some 245,000 procedures were performed. The majority of procedures were performed on women and have been performed on men and women between the ages of 18 and 74.

Who is a Candidate for the Procedure?

The best candidates for liposuction are persons of relatively normal weight, but have pockets of excess fat in certain areas of their body that they are not able to get rid of through either dealing or exercise. The person should be healthy, psychologically stable and have realistic expectations of the results.

Loose, hanging skin will not reshape as well to the body’s new contours after liposuction which may require additional surgery to remove excess skin. If that proves necessary, there will be more visible scars, but not from liposuction alone.

Liposuction will not improve the dimpled skin look known as cellulite and can, in fact, make cellulite look worse.

The ideal candidate for liposuction would be someone in their twenties or thirties, or normal weight, width protruding fat deposits, usually in the lower abdominal area, hips or outer thighs that respond to neither dieting nor exercise. These fatty deposits generally are inherited genetically. This is not a procedure designed for weight loss or morbid obesity.

How Effective is Liposuction?

There is little hard data on whether patients are pleased with the outcomes. According to a plastic surgeon in Newport Beach, California, who has surveyed 8,000 patients, the satisfaction rate was around 90 percent. In up to 10 percent of cases, a second liposuction procedure was done within six months of the first procedure to ensure good results. Having additional procedures does not mean that the surgeon was incompetent, because it is always better to take out too little fat from a certain area than too much.

Besides the most common areas treated by liposuction, which include the lower abdomen, hips and outer thighs, other areas of the body can and have been treated successfully by liposuction. These other areas include chin, inner thighs, knees, calves, and ankles.

Again, liposuction is not a substitute for dieting and exercising, but it is a a proven method of removing localized pockets of fat that otherwise cannot be removed.

What is Tumescent Liposuction?

Although liposuction has been performed in this country for over ten years, a new technique known as tumescent liposuction has been performed only within the past two or three years. Using this technique, the procedure no longer has to be done under general anesthesia in a hospitral or outpatient surgery center, as was done in the past.

Not all patients are candidates for the tumescent technique. Therefore, some otherwise good candidates for lipsuction may still need to be done under general anesthesia.

Procedure

Tumescent means to be greatly swollen. The patient is brought into the operating room. An IV is started and medications to cause relaxation are given through the IV. The areas to be treated are thoroughly disinfected with an antiseptic solution and draped with sterile towels. Through small incisions, a long blunt needle is inserted under the skin and a relatively large amount of dilute solution of lidocain and epinephrine is injected into the layer of fat to be suctioned, making the area grossly swollen, therefore, tumescent. Within a few minutes, the solution causes the area to become numb and the blood vessels in the area to become constricted.

Then, through the same small incisions, long, narrow liposuction cannulas are inserted to perform the liposuction. The lidocaine causes numbness in the area while the epinephrine causes the blood vessels to become constricted so that there is significantly less bleeding using this technique.

The incisions are closed with a couple of stitches and bandages are applied. A girdle or some other compressive bandage is applied to help reduce swelling and bruising, and to give some support to the area.

The entire liposuction procedure usually takes between one to two hours depending on the number of areas to be treated and the amount of fat to be removed.

Advantages of Tumescent Liposuction

The advantages of tumescent liposuction are the cost of having the procedure done in the office setting rather than requiring the use of a hospital or outpatient surgery center. Also, there is usually less brusing, swelling, pan and postanesthetic complications such as nausea.

What are the Risks?

Liposuction is normally safe in healthy persons, in properly equipped operating facilities, and if performed by well trained and qualified physicians. In rare instances, the procedure may cause severe trauma, particularly when many sites are treated and large volumes of fat are moved in one setting. Other infrequent complications include fluid accumulation, which may require drainage, and injury to the skin.

Although serious complications are rare, other minor risk such as bruising, swelling, lumpiness, localized numbness and looseness of the skin are more common and usually temporary, lasting from a few weeks to a couple of months. Full recovery and final results may not be obtained until about six months after the surgery.

The scars from lipsuction are small and strategicallly placed to be hidden from view, even in a bikini. They also generally fade rapidly within a few months.

Other cosmetic problems may occur, even in the hands of very sklled surgeons. These include rippling or bagginess of the skin over the treated areas and pigmentation changes such as brown spots that may become permanent if exposed to the sun. Asymmetry with uneveness of the coutour of or the shape sometimes requires a second procedure for correction. Additional procedure may involve additional operating facility expenses.

What Can Be Expected After Liposuction Surgery?

The patient may leave the operating room shortly after the surgery is completed and must be driven home by another adult. Medication is prescribed for postoperative pain relief which is usually needed for only one or two days, and antibiotics are taken for four to five days to prevent infection. The girdle should be worn for six to eight weeks following surgery.

The patient comes back to the office after several days, usually five to ten days, to have the sutures removed and treated areas checked. If there are any unusual symptoms occurring between office visits, such as heavy bleeding, sudden increase in pain, redness, or swelling, the doctor should be contacted immediatly.

While most of the swelling and discoloration will be gone a month or two after surgery, some swelling can remain for six months or more.

Patients usually can return to work within two to three days. Follow-up office visits will be scheduled to monitor progress.

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