A well-proportioned, fit physique just makes you feel more confident and comfortable in your own skin; not to mention making things easier and more fun when it comes to buying clothes. When diet and exercise don’t do the trick alone, liposuction may be the solution for contouring and/or getting rid of excess fat.
Liposuction, (or lipoplasty), removes deposits of excess fat from specific areas of the body, face or neck. It can also be used to contour specific areas of the body such as hips and thighs, abdomen, calves, ankles and under the chin.
Liposuction is not a “cure all,” however.
Here's what it CAN do:
- Liposuction can be used to improve several areas of the body at the same time.
- Liposuction can be performed along with other cosmetic procedures, but keep in mind that the more you do, the greater the health risk. Dr. Barnthouse will be the final judge as to whether having multiple procedures is a safe option for you.
- Lipoosuction may be used to treat gynecomastia, or male breast enlargement, which occurs in both teenagers and adult men.
Here's what it CANNOT do:
- Liposuction is NOT a substitute for proper diet and regular exercise. Once performed, it will come back if you don’t observe a healthy lifestyle.
- Liposuction won't eliminate cellulite (a condition that gives the skin a dimpled appearance).
Liposuction is not for everyone
If you suffer from certain medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease—or have had previous surgery near the area to be contoured, you may not be a viable candidate for the procedure. It’s critical that you let Dr. Barnthouse know if you have any of these medical conditions or if you have had surgery in the past.
About the procedure...
Dr. Barnthouse will make one or more small incisions near the area to be suctioned, taking care to “hide” the incision points in contour lines of the skin. Then a cannula (a slim hollow tube) attached to a flexible tube and a suction pump, is inserted into the incision and the fat layer. By moving the cannula back and forth through the fat, the doctor will suction away the excess fat. For some areas, a hand-held syringe may be used to provide the vacuum instead of a suction pump.
Among the fat-suctioning techniques that may be applied:
- Tumescent Technique - Fat is pre-injected with a salt-water solution containing small amounts of adrenaline and local anesthetic.
- Ultrasound-assisted Lipoplasty (UAL) - Energy from sound waves is used to liquefy the fat before it is suctioned.
Dr. Barnthouse may perform your liposuction in a hospital, an outpatient surgery center or an office-based surgical suite. The type of anesthesia used in your procedure will be based on your needs and health. Dr. Barnthouse will discuss your options prior to surgery. You may receive local anesthesia (usually with sedation) which numbs only the affected areas. Regional anesthesia, such as an epidural block (the kind of anesthesia commonly used in childbirth) is another option. General anesthesia is also an option.
How you can prepare for surgery...
In the weeks and especially days, prior to surgery, it’s important to keep your body and metabolism as healthy as possible.
Here are some things you can do to insure a smooth process:
- Avoid certain medications that may complicate surgery or recovery – Dr. Barnthouse will advise
- Stop smoking – for good if possible, but at least for a period of time before and after surgery
- Arrange for help or special care following surgery – you will need some assistance to help you through the initial days of discomfort and post-op exhaustion
Post-Surgery: What to expect
Following your surgery, you’ll spend time in the recovery area while you wake up from the anesthesia. For some patients, small drainage tubes will have been placed beneath the skin. You’ll have discomfort, of course, but most can be controlled with medication prescribed by Dr. Barnthouse.
Expect to wake up wearing an elastic bandage or specially designed compression garment. Dr. Barnthouse will tell you how long you must wear the garment and how you can remove it to bathe.
For those patients having minimal liposuction, the nurses will encourage you to get out of bed very shortly after the surgery. If the procedure was more involved, you’ll remain in bed for a day or two, getting up only to use the toilet and/or eat meals.
Remember, the more involved and extensive your liposuction, the longer it may take to recover. Although everyone heals at a different rate, you can expect that your recovery will follow this general time line:
One Week Post-Op:
- Swelling peaks and then begins to diminish
- Your stitches will be removed
- You can resume non-strenuous activity as you feel up to it
Several Weeks Post-Op:
- You’ll notice a decrease in bruising, swelling and discomfort
- Sensation will return and numbness will subside
- You may resume most of your normal exercise and activities
- Swelling will continue to subside
A few months post-op and beyond:
- The full positive effects of your procedure will become apparent
- You’ll feel better every day and look terrific!