Liposuction is a cosmetic procedure that removes fat that you can’t seem to get rid of through diet and exercise.
A plastic or dermatologic surgeon usually does the procedure on your hips, belly, thighs, buttocks, or face to improve their shape. But liposuction can also be done with other plastic surgeries, including facelifts, breast reductions, and tummy tucks.
If you decide to go ahead with liposuction, your surgeon will give you instructions on how to prepare for it. These may include diet and alcohol restrictions.
Tell your surgeon about any allergies you have and any medications you take, including over-the-counter and herbal supplements. She will likely recommend you stop taking certain meds, such as blood thinners and certain painkillers several weeks before surgery.
What Should I Expect?
Your liposuction may take place at your doctor’s office or a surgery center. Make sure that the place where you’re getting it done is accredited, and is known for its professional standards, safety and good results.
You’ll go home the day of the procedure. Make sure to have someone drive you home afterward. (If you’re having a lot of fat removed, you should get the surgery done in a hospital, where you might stay overnight).
Before your liposuction starts, your doctor might mark the areas of your body that will be treated. She may also take photos to use later for before-and-after comparisons.
Next you’ll get general anesthesia — which means you will not be awake during the procedure — or a “local,” which means you will be awake but not feel any pain.
Types of Liposuction
There are just a few different liposuction techniques. But what they all have in common is the use of a thin tube, called a cannula, connected to a vacuum to suction the fat from your body.
Tumescent liposuction is the most common technique. Your surgeon injects a sterile solution into the area where the fat is to be removed. It consists of saline — which is salt water – along with lidocaine and epinephrine. The solution makes it easier to suction the fat with less blood loss and pain.
Ultrasound-assisted liposuction, or UAL, uses sound waves energy under your skin to rupture the cell walls of the fat. This liquefies the fat so it can be suctioned out.
Laser-assisted liposuction, or SmartLipo, uses a laser to produce a burst of energy to liquefy the fat.
How Long Is Recovery?
You might not have to stay in the hospital depending on the type of surgery you had. But you should expect bruising, swelling, and soreness for at least a few weeks.
Your surgeon may require you to wear a compression garment for 1 to 2 months after surgery to control swelling.
You’ll probably also have to take some antibiotics to prevent infection. Most people can return to work within a few days and get back to normal activities within 2 weeks. But every person is different.