Liposuction, also called lipoplasty or suction-assisted lipectomy, removes deposits of excess fat from specific areas of your body. A liposuction procedure can slim your hips and thighs, flatten your abdomen, reshape your waist, and even eliminate a double chin.
The ideal candidate for liposuction has localized areas of excess fat and otherwise normal body weight and good skin elasticity and is also free of any complications or preexisting medical conditions, including heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, skin/connective tissue disorders, etc. Liposuction is not successful in treating generalized obesity. Patients who are generally overweight, but who exhibit unsightly bulges of fat, may be candidates for the treatment of these areas alone. Localized fat deposits may sometimes be an inherited trait and often do not respond to diet or exercise. In these cases, liposuction is often the only way to eliminate fat.
Because liposuction does not reduce the amount of skin or address muscle tightening, optimal results are often obtained in those patients with good skin elasticity. Young patients typically have skin that readily contracts to the underlying frame. That said, pleasing and satisfactory results can also be obtained in older patients with somewhat less skin elasticity. Those patients with more skin laxity and poor elasticity may benefit from the removal of the excess skin to achieve intended results. This might include tummy tuck, arm lifts, breast lifts, and buttock lifts. To determine if your skin elasticity is appropriate for liposuction, you should schedule a consultation with our Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Brian Coan.
In the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Cary area, liposuction is now nearly as common for men as for women. The areas commonly treated are:
- Hips and Waist
- Chest – Male and Female
- Flanks and Back
- Upper Arms
- Inner, Outer, Anterior Thighs
- Under the Chin/Double Chin Area
Through tiny incisions, a narrow tube or cannula is inserted and used to vacuum the fat layer that lies deep beneath the skin. The cannula breaks up the fat cells and suctions them out, removing them permanently.
Liposuction is by far one of the most common aesthetic procedures performed. Because it seems a simple concept to remove fat, it is, unfortunately, an area that is open for marketing tactics that overplay its simplicity and long-term surgical results. Therefore, beware of doctors promoting liposuction that are not trained plastic surgeons. If too much fat is removed with liposuction, you can be left with irregular contours and sagging skin. When fat is removed from the main area without attention to surrounding areas, you may be left with unevenness.
Liposuction can frequently be done safely in combination with other cosmetic plastic surgery procedures. We recommended that you first seek consultation from a plastic surgeon that is trained, experienced, and knowledgeable in all fields of cosmetic surgery and understands the physiological implications on the body.
Whether your goal is to correct an area or remove fat pockets due to aging, we can assist you in discussing your options and help you look for ways to obtain your desired result.
Can visceral fat be removed?
Liposuction procedures target subcutaneous fat reduction. Diet and exercise are the only means of reducing visceral fat.
Who is good candidate for liposuction?
The ideal liposuction candidate is in their 20s to early 40s, a nonsmoker, and has good skin quality and elasticity. We recommend patients being within 10 pounds of their ideal weight. However, a thorough examination and assessment with our double-board certified plastic surgeon can help you determine if liposuction is the best option for you and your goals. Different body areas also can be expected to respond differently to liposuction. Some areas such as the upper back, flanks, and even abdomen tend to be the most forgiving and allow for the most dramatic improvements. Other areas require excellent elastic skin quality to achieve ideal outcomes.
Can the removed fat be transferred anywhere else?
Depending on your aesthetic goals, fat can be transferred to many different areas of the body, the most common being the buttocks, breasts, face, hands, and elsewhere.
How long do you need off work after liposuction?
While it depends on the nature of one’s job, most patients need no more than 1-2 weeks off of work after a procedure. Many of our patients can resume a desk job as soon as they are comfortable and are no longer taking narcotic pain medication. However, activity restrictions after surgery include no lifting, pushing, or pulling any object over 20 pounds for 6 weeks. For those with physically-demanding jobs, we strongly encourage patients to be placed on “light-duty” when returning to work. At 6 weeks, patients can resume any and all activities, including exercise.
How painful is liposuction recovery?
The majority of our patients find liposuction to be a manageable procedure in regards to pain. The recovery often entails soreness and achiness rather than severe pain. We find that patients have a much easier and comfortable recovery if they stay on top of their hydration with adequate water intake within the first few days after surgery. We also encourage a high protein/low sodium diet to mitigate post-operative swelling and fluid retention as much as possible.
Does liposuction get rid of cellulite?
Liposuction targets subcutaneous fat does not address or correct skin concerns such as laxity or cellulite. Liposuction is optimal for patients who are close to their goal weight with great skin quality.