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Background On Liposuction

Liposuction is one of the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures in the world. In the hands of a plastic surgeon, the procedure is very safe, with few complications.

Liposuction involves the removal of fat by small tubes, or cannulas, attached to a vacuum aspiration device. Only fat in the subcutaneous layers of the body is accessible for liposuction. Therefore, those with fat inside their abdomens, for example, are not helped by liposuction, but instead must resort to weight loss through dieting, exercise or stomach reduction surgery. Liposuction is not performed for weight loss purposes. Liposuction reduces the net number of fat cells permanently, thus making it theoretically more difficult for you to regain fullness in the treated area. The overall effect is to improve body contour. Both men and women tend to accumulate fat in characteristic areas. These areas, such as the hips and thighs in women and the flanks and abdomen in men are typically less responsive to weight loss. Liposuction treats these areas effectively.

Liposuction Consultation

A comprehensive assessment of each patient on an individual basis is essential to the development of a specific treatment plan directed at identifying those specific areas that may be responsive to liposuction. In many instances, patients seek consultation for what amounts to a desire to lose weight. A stable weight of less than 50% over the ideal body weight is necessary to be considered a candidate for liposuction. The ideal candidates have very specific areas of their bodies, which cause them concern and seem to be unresponsive to dieting and/or exercise. Liposuction affords the surgeon the ability to sculpt those specific areas with very small incisions (and thus very inconspicuous scars), thus bringing the patient into proportion with the rest of his or her features.

Dr. Capella offers a complimentary consultation during which he gathers a medical history, including the patient’s weight gain and loss pattern, diet and exercise regimen, and goals for the procedure. If Dr. Capella finds you are 100 lbs. or more overweight, he may suggest a gastric bypass procedure to provide permanent and significant weight loss. Any previous medical conditions need to be identified prior to assessing the patient for surgical candidacy. Height and weight measurements are taken and a physical examination is done to assess the skin tone and texture, skeletal abnormalities such as scoliosis, and muscle bulk and tone.

Liposuction Pre-Operative Visit

It is imperative that patients refrain from ingesting any medications or other substances that could potentially be the cause of surgical complications. A list of medications should be reviewed and discontinued at least two weeks prior to operation. Patients are seen just prior to their surgery date for a general physical examination to ensure that no underlying medical problems exist, which may interfere with the safety of their surgery. Specifically, any infections that arise prior to operation, however trivial they may seem, should be reported to our office.
Prophylactic antibiotics are prescribed prior to and for a few days after surgery to reduce the risk of surgical wound infection. A prescription for pain medication is also written, so that you have pain pills when you return home from the operation.

Pre-operative photographs are taken so that you can see the improvement from your surgery afterwards. We generally take post-operative photographs at three months after your procedure.

You will be asked to sign a surgical consent form, which enumerates the risks of the procedure in detail. These risks will also be explained at the consultation. You will be asked to pay the surgical fee at your pre-operative visit. The fee is determined at the time of the consultation, and is different for every scenario or combination of areas treated, and so cannot be specifically provided here.

You will need to arrange for an escort to drive you to and from the operating suite located in our office. Patients cannot operate motor vehicles after surgery, and we will not place recently sedated patients into taxis for transport home. We can arrange for medical transport in the event you cannot find an escort. It is mandatory to have someone stay with you for at least 24 hours after surgery, for your comfort and safety.

Day Of Liposuction Surgery

Day Of Liposuction Surgery
Most liposuction procedures are performed under a combination of local and general anesthesia, with some small volume procedures being done under local anesthesia with sedation. Dr. Capella will discuss the anesthesia requirements for your procedure at the time of your consultation.

Skin markings are made to outline the sites to be treated. The anesthesia is then administered, and in every instance the fat is infused with a very dilute local anesthetic to distend the fat cells, which makes it easier to extract them and improves the ability to contour the areas smoothly. At the conclusion of the procedure, an elastic compression garment is placed to control swelling and to reduce the risk of fluid build-up beneath the skin.

After a period of at least an hour to monitor you in our recovery room, you will be discharged into the company of an adult escort.

Liposuction Recovery Process

You will almost certainly experience some fluid drainage from the incisions, which can be dramatic and needs to be anticipated in terms of protecting clothing, car seats, and mattresses. It is wise to obtain an impermeable or rubber sheet for aftercare for this reason. This drainage usually stops within 48 hours. At that point, you will be seen in the office and the initial dressings removed and all incisions checked. You will then be able to shower. Wearing the elastic garment is optional at this point. Some patients feel more comfortable with it, while others, especially in the summer, find them unpleasant. There is no data to suggest wearing a garment improves overall outcome.

Certain side effects of liposuction include pain, burning, swelling, bruising, oozing (blood-tinged fluid), and temporary numbness. The pain is usually well controlled with the prescribed medication, but a feeling of soreness persists for several days to several weeks. It takes at least six weeks to begin to feel normal again. The skin is usually quite numb and feels very hard to the touch. It may even take as long as six months for the tissues to feel absolutely normal, depending on the extent of the procedure.

Most patients return to sedentary type work in a few days to a week, to physical work in one to two weeks. Though moderate exercise (e.g. walking) is encouraged in the early post-operative period, vigorous exercise such as swimming, jogging, aerobics, and weight training should generally be avoided for about a month. Dr. Capella will be following you on a regular basis to give you specific feedback about your activity level.

Risks of Liposuction Surgery

Serious medical complications from liposuction are infrequent, but include bleeding, infection, skin irregularities, numbness, asymmetry, lumpiness, looseness or darkening of the pigmentation of the skin, blood clots that block blood flow, excessive fluid loss that can lead to shock, excessive fluid accumulation that must be drained (seroma), perforation injury to the skin or other organs, and adverse reactions to anesthesia. Scars from liposuction are small, but can sometimes be prominent, particularly in patients with dark pigmentation. Some cosmetic problems may require additional surgery for correction. These complications, though infrequent, may result in additional expense to you. Read more about the risks of liposuction by clicking here.