Getting into your best shape starts with eating a healthy diet and maintaining an active lifestyle.  Unfortunately despite strict adherence to a healthy diet and exercising, many of us still have stubborn fat that will not shrink no matter what we do.  For women, this is often located in the hips, buttocks, and thighs. For men, the waist and flank, which are also known as the “love handles”, are often the problematic areas.  However, each individual is unique and stubborn fat can be located in other areas including abdomen, face, neck, back, and chin. Liposuction surgery can safely and effectively remove the excess fat cell from the problematic areas.  It can also be performed alone or in combination with many other procedures safely. Adhering to safe technique in liposuction, board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Baotram Tran will sculpt your body into the one that you’ve always desired!

While liposuction does remove excess fat, it is not a weight reduction surgery.  Liposuction is a very effective stool used to address specific problematic areas of fat deposition to improve your body contour.  Your result will be maintained as long as your weight remains stable. If you gain weight after liposuction, the fat cells that you still have can grow larger, but typically not in the previous maldistribution manner.  See before and after photos of liposuction surgery.

Liposuction Technique

Dr. Baotram Tran uses safelipo technique to perform liposuction.  Safelipo technique involves using a power assisted liposuction to disrupt the fatty layer first, followed by removing the fat through the suctioning cannula, and finally blending the treated area into the surrounding tissue to achieve the most natural result.  The incisions are tiny and are placed in inconspicuous areas.  Most cases of liposuctions are done under general anesthesia.  In some cases where the area of concern is small, local anesthesia can be used for liposuction.  During your consultation, Dr. Baotram Tran will discuss with you the safest way to perform the surgery after a complete evaluation.

Benefits of liposuction?

Liposuction is safe and can quickly address the area of stubborn fat.  The significant improvement can be seen immediately after surgery, but the final result can take 3-6 months pending resolution of all the swelling.  Liposuction surgery removes the excess fat cells from the problematic areas. Your result will be maintained as long as your weight remains stable. If you gain weight after liposuction, the fat cells that you still have can grow larger, but typically not in the previous maldistributed manner.

Liposuction and the importance of skin elasticity?

Skin elasticity is how well your skin recoils after being stretched out.  The skin becomes stretched out with weight gain and pregnancy and hernias.  The better your skin elasticity, the better your result will be as the skin must recoil and shrink back to contour the underlying tissue after the excess fat removal.  However if your skin does not have good elasticity, the skin can droop, look irregular, and dimple after liposuction. If the skin sags before liposuction surgery, it can worsen after liposuction.  In individuals with poor skin elasticity, liposuction is often performed in combination with other surgery to remove the excess skin such as a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty. If excisional surgery is not desired with poor skin elasticity, then one must consider what is more important, having a flatter body contour overall with uneven skin or having a larger irregular body contour with smooth skin.

Candidate for liposuction?

Liposuction is ideal for someone who is overall healthy with good skin elasticity and specific areas of stubborn fat despite maintaining a healthy diet and exercising.  Smokers and patients who vapes will be advised to quit for at least 2 months prior to surgery and must remain nicotine-free for at least 2 months after surgery to allow optimal healing and result.  Your weight should also remain stable for at least 3 months prior to considering liposuction.

Recovery after liposuction?

Most liposuction surgery is an outpatient surgery.  You will notice significant improvement immediately after surgery.  You may go home on the same day. You do need someone to drive you home and be your company for at least 24 hours to assist you immediately after surgery.  Bruising will occur after the surgery and will take approximately 2 week to resolve. Compression garments are typically worn for at least 4 to 6 weeks to help reduce swelling and achieve optimal contour desired.  Some patients wear compression garments for even longer as it continues to reduce the swelling and improve the contour. Swelling can be present for 3 to 6 months, but again you will notice significant improvement immediately after surgery.  The surgery is well tolerated.  Most patients describe their postoperative course as uncomfortable rather than painful.  Strenuous exercise is to be avoided for 2 weeks after surgery, but normal daily activity of living and walking are encouraged.

Possible side effects and complications of liposuction?

Most commonly, you can experience temporary decrease in sensation of the skin in the area of liposuction.  Unevenness or irregularity of the skin surface can occur, more often in patients with poor skin elasticity or where the fat was under- or over-resected or in areas where your fat atrophies more.  Serious complications including, blood clots, pulmonary embolism from blood clot or fat, and infection. However, these serious complications from liposuction typically occur more with high volume fat removal of more than 5L.

Can liposuction be combined with other surgery?

Liposuction can often be safely combined with other surgery.  Dr. Tran will discuss with you about whether it’s safe to combine with other desired surgery after a complete evaluation.

Liposuction vs coolsculpting

Coolsculpting is a non-surgical method to dissolve the fat through cryotechnology or “freezing” the fat away without causing burn to the skin and soft tissue.  Small areas of stubborn fat can be treated. Through the cooling treatment at specific temperature, the fat cells undergo apoptosis or cell death. The cells then get reabsorbed by your body.  This process however takes time to complete. Typically, there are no significant changes in the volume of fat immediately after the procedure. It takes about 3-4 months to see the final result.  This process reduces on average about 20% of the fat cells so multiple treatments are typically required to get the desired result. There is no downtime with Coolsculpting. The treatment is done in the office without requiring any anesthesia.  Liposuction will remove as much fatty tissue as possible with significant improvement in the contour immediately after surgery, but it is more invasive and does require general anesthesia for most cases. There is also down time with liposuction, typically a few days to a week.  Your treatment plan will be customized to your need and desire after a complete consultation.

Is a consultation required for liposuction?

Everyone is unique.  A consultation is needed to provide you with a safe and optimal treatment plan that is customized to your need and desire.