Patients at our Baltimore liposuction practice can select from tumescent or ultrasonic liposuction techniques to help create a more pleasing body contour. Cosmetic surgeon Ronald Schuster, MD can help each individual determine which method of liposuction surgery is most appropriate for them.
Purpose of Liposuction Surgery:
- To remove fat which is concentrated in certain areas that do not respond to diet and exercise
- To reduce inches, NOT weight
- To make you look better both in and out of clothing by changing your shape and improving body contour irregularities caused by disproportionate and localized accumulations of fat
Tumescent and Ultrasonic Liposuction Techniques:
The tumescent liposuction method uses a hollow tube, called a cannula, which is inserted through a small 1/2″ incision. Tumescent fluid is put into the fat to help in its removal. It contains a dilute local anesthetic which provides for pain relief both before and after surgery, as well as epinephrine, which reduces blood loss during the procedure. Fat is then broken up and suctioned out of the body.
The ultrasonic liposuction technique, or Ultrasound Assisted Liposuction (UAL), uses high frequency sound waves to break down fat cells, causing the fat to flow out. The fat combines with injected fluid to create an emulsion. The “liquefied” fat is then suctioned out using vacuum pressure. Ultrasonic liposuction is particularly useful for removing fat in difficult areas such as the back, upper abdomen and outer thighs. It is also good for treating excessively large male breasts, a condition called gynecomastia.
These procedures may be performed with either general anesthesia or IV sedation.
Ultrasonic and tumescent liposuction are performed as outpatient procedures.
Recovery After Liposuction:
- Relatively easy, mild to moderate soreness for a few days
- Swelling and bruising for two weeks
- Recommend a few days to one week off from work
- Back to full activity and sports in two weeks
- Wear a compression girdle for three weeks
- Final results of liposuction can take about three months
- No treatment
- Diet – usually affects size but minimal affect on shape
- Exercise – may affect size but minimal affect on shape
- Excision of fat and excess skin
General Liposuction Information:
- Surgery you do not need – Totally/purely elective surgery
- Realistic expectations are the key to liposuction success
- Improves appearance in mirror, photographs, clothing
- Shape dictated by location of fat cells
- Location of fat cells influenced by heredity (familial traits) and gender (male vs. female)
- Size can be changed by weight reduction but shape stays relatively the same
Limitations of Liposuction Surgery:
- Cannot provide skin elasticity. The ability to shrink over new contour is unknown; younger patients usually have better elasticity than older patients. The more fat removed from an area, the greater the difficulty for the skin to shrink smoothly over the new contour (regardless of age).
- Not appropriate for obese patients or those who have excess or loose skin.
- All humans are asymmetrical; symmetry may not result from liposuction.
- Suction lipectomy alters shape but is not an answer to weight problems; weight is controlled with diet and exercise.
- Skin dimpling (“cellulite”) present before surgery will remain after surgery.
- Does not correct body contour irregularities caused by structures other than fat (i.e. muscle, muscle weakness, bone, intra-abdominal contents, grandular tissue).
- Sometimes not possible to achieve ultimate result in just one operation.
How long do the results of liposuction last?
Once removed, fat cells typically do not duplicate or reform.* Reducing the number of fat cells in an area will produce a change in shape that is expected to be permanent.* Subsequent alterations in the body contour may occur as a result of aging, large weight gain (20-30 lbs) or loss, pregnancy, and/or a variety of other circumstances which may not be related to the location of fat. The amount of fat that is contained in the fat cells that are left behind is controlled by diet and exercise; body weight may remain the same if diet and exercise levels remain unchanged. During your consultation at Dr. Schuster’s Baltimore, Maryland area center, tumescent and ultrasonic liposuction expectations will be discussed in detail to help you make an informed decision.
Surgical Techniques, Anesthesia, Facility and Recovery:
- Local anesthesia and sedation vs. epidural and sedation vs. general anesthesia
- Office O.R., outpatient surgical facility, hospital O.R.
- Incisions, cannula, suction machine, fat removal
- Dressings, support garments
- Post-op hospitalization (may be optional)
- Restrictions and return to normal activity
Temporary Liposuction Side Effects:
- Discomfort (pain/sensitivity)
- Restricted activity
Fairly rapid resolution of most temporary side effects is expected but final contouring may not be complete for a minimum of six months after ultrasonic or tumescent liposuction.
Permanent Liposuction Side Effects:
- Scars – small, well hidden
Possible Risks and Complications Associated with Liposuction Surgery:
- Bleeding/blood loss/transfusion – see liposuction care instructions for medications to avoid
- Contour irregularities/depressions
- Autogenous blood discussed
- Skin loss – extremely rare
- Pulmonary embolus – extremely rare
- Fat embolus – extremely rare
- Delayed healing
- Injury to abdominal contents – extremely rare
- Waviness or surface irregularities
- Pigmentation (very rare)
EVEN THOUGH THE RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS CITED ABOVE OCCUR INFREQUENTLY, THEY ARE THE RISKS THAT ARE PARTICULAR TO LIPOSUCTION SURGERY OR OF GREATEST CONCERN. OTHER COMPLICATIONS AND RISKS CAN OCCUR BUT ARE EVEN MORE UNCOMMON. THE RISKS OF SURGERY ARE COMPARABLE TO THE RISKS YOU TAKE EVERY DAY WHEN DRIVING OR RIDING IN AN AUTOMOBILE.
Any and All Risks and Complications of Liposuction Surgery Can Result In:
- Additional surgery
- Time off from work
- Expense to you
Insurance usually does not cover liposuction surgery, and treatment of complications may or may not be covered by insurance.
Contact our Baltimore, Maryland center for more information on ultrasonic and tumescent liposuction techniques or to schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Schuster.
*Individual results may vary