Everyone suffers from “problem areas” - that is, areas in which unwanted fat accumulates; when weight gain occurs, the fat seems to go directly to these problem areas. A healthy diet, daily cardiovascular workouts, and targeted exercises can help patients remain within their ideal weight range. However, these practices do not always sculpt the body to the degree that the patient desires. In these cases, our Philadelphia surgeons may recommend liposuction surgery.
Candidates for liposuction surgery should be with the weight range guidelines for her or his height and frame, in generally good health, and not smoke. Liposuction candidates have unwanted deposits of fat on the following areas of the body:
- Love handles
- Upper arms
- Under the chin
We perform the tumescent and power-assisted liposuction (PAL) techniques, which make it easier to remove fat and result in a more comfortable recovery period.
- Tumescent: The tumescent liposuction technique involves injections of a combination of a local anesthetic (to numb the treatment area), salt water (to cause the fatty tissue to swell up), and adrenaline (to shrink the blood vessels and minimize bleeding). The amount of fluid that is injected will relate to the amount of fat removal; the tumescent fluid amounts to two to six times the amount of targeted fat removal. Once the fatty tissue has swelled up, it is extracted using a cannula, a suctioning device shaped like a narrow tube. The tumescent, or wet, technique is associated with less bleeding and bruising than the traditional liposuction, or dry, technique.
- PAL: MicroAire’s PAL® LipoSculptor™ is a cannula that uses a reciprocating motion on its tip to break up and suction out fat with increased ease. The PAL liposuction technique results in less trauma to surrounding tissues and minimized discomfort after surgery.
The liposuction procedure generally takes about two hours to perform. The surgery involves the following steps:
- Surgical markings are made on the area of the body being treated
- If necessary, the patient is put under general anesthesia
- Antibacterial solution is applied to sterilize the treatment site
- The tumescent solution is injected into the treatment area
- A small incision or incisions are made
- The cannula is inserted in the incision or incisions to vacuum out fat
- The incisions are closed
- The treatment area is cleaned and compression bandages or garments are applied
Patients that have more than 10 pounds of fat removed will stay in the hospital over night. All other patients are discharged after liposuction surgery.
Patients may experience pain for four to five days after surgery; prescribed pain medication can be used to alleviate pain. Swelling may last for up to three weeks and bruising may last for up to a month, though these side effects are at their worst the first week after surgery. Ice can be used to minimize swelling and bruising.
Strenuous activity should be avoided for two weeks. At that time, patients can start exercising again, but should not lift anything that weighs more than 10 pounds.
For one week after surgery, patients should wear their liposuction compression garment at all times, except when showering. After the first week, patients can switch to a lycra or spandex compression garment, which should be worn for an additional five weeks.
Avoid sun exposure to the incision site for six months after surgery. If you are out in the sun, be sure to protect the incisions with bandages or sunscreen.
Liposuction Side Effects
Liposuction side effects are normal and should fade completely within a few months of surgery:
- Tenderness, numbness, or itching sensation at the incision site
There are possible risks and complications of liposuction, which include:
- Allergic reaction to medical materials
- Loose skin (this can be treated with a tummy tuck)
- Skin unevenness
- Nerve damage
- Blood or fluid loss
- Permanent skin numbness
We advise our Philadelphia patients that the results of liposuction are not visible immediately. In the first few weeks after surgery, fluid accumulation and swelling make it impossible to see the final results of surgery. Patients will have a better idea of what their final results look like at one to three months after surgery.
Philadelphia Liposuction Consultations
Contact our Philadelphia practice to schedule your liposuction consultation at Jefferson Plastic Surgery.