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Northern California Liposuction/Liposculpture (Lipoplasty)

Lipoplasty, also named liposuction or liposculpture, is a surgical procedure designed to remove deposits of excess fat to create a desired body contour. This procedure permanently removes fat cells from areas including the neck, face, arms, chest, back, hips, thighs, buttocks, knees, calves, and ankles. Although liposuction is not a weight loss technique, it can effectively eliminate excess fat deposits in particular areas of the body, restoring a more proportionate and healthy body contour.

Women and men who are of relatively normal weight but have isolated pockets of fat, which cause certain areas of their body to appear disproportionate, take advantage of this procedure. These localized fat deposits may sometimes be genetically inherited and are not responsive to dieting or exercise. Liposuction is often the only means of eliminating these types of fat deposits.

 

How is liposuction performed?

In general, liposuction procedures use small incisions in selected areas with a high vacuum to remove fat cells. After the fat is removed, sutures (stitches) will be applied to the areas treated. Thereafter a bandage or garment will be applied to wrap the skin and minimize the swelling.

The "tumescent technique" involves injecting a solution with a local anesthetic into the areas to be treated prior to suctioning. An incision is made near the area from which the fat is to be removed; and a specially designed surgical tube, called a cannula, is placed through the incision into the fat. The cannula is attached by flexible tubing to a vacuum pump that removes the fat by suction as the cannula is manipulated beneath the skin. Compared to other conventional liposuction techniques, the tumescent technique is more precise and accurate. This procedure minimizes blood loss, removes more fat and has a faster recovery time.

Ultrasonic Assisted Lipoplasty (UAL) is a new method of liposuction that uses ultrasound energy to liquefy fat before it is suctioned. Because the fat is liquid at the time that it is removed, UAL is smoother and mechanically more efficient. In the United States, ultrasound has been used for surgical removal of tissues, other than fat, for more than twenty years. UAL has been used in Europe for more than ten years. UAL also minimizes trauma, resulting in less bruising and blood loss. UAL is particularly useful on fibrous areas of the body, such as the male breast, the upper abdomen and the upper back, which are difficult to treat with traditional techniques.

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How long does liposuction take?

Liposuction generally takes between one to four hours depending on the particular areas treated.

What type of anesthesia is used?

Liposuction is usually performed using local anesthesia along with a light sedative to make you feel drowsy and relaxed. When treating larger areas, general anesthesia is typically used causing you to be asleep during the whole procedure.

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Where is the procedure performed?

Liposuction is usually performed on an outpatient basis, in the surgeon's office-based surgical suite, an outpatient surgery center or hospital.

When can I return home and resume normal activities?

If you are having a small liposuction procedure, you may return home the same day, however you have to make arrangements for someone to drive you home and assist you with your daily activities for the first 24 hours. For larger liposuction procedures you may have to stay overnight for observation. Depending on the extent of the areas treated, most people return to work and normal activities within a week.

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How do I prepare for liposuction?

During your initial consultation, your surgeon will discuss the changes that you would like to make to your appearance. Since the appearance of your body is a matter of personal perception and preference, you will need to discuss your concerns in detail so your surgeon can determine the appropriate alternatives. You also should make arrangements ahead of time for someone to drive you to and from your procedure and to assist you with your daily activities during your recovery period.

Prior to your surgical procedure, the surgeon will perform a complete health history and physical examination to evaluate your overall weight, your skin and muscle tone and the overall distribution of fat deposits. In particular your surgeon will ask you about any problems you have had with high blood pressure, blood clotting or a tendency to develop large scars.

Knowledge of your allergies, medications and previous surgeries should be brought to your surgeon's attention at this time. Specific instructions to assist you in preparing for this procedure will be given to you after the health history and physical is complete. Depending on your individual health status, the instructions may include guidelines regarding your diet, alcohol intake, smoking and which medications to take or avoid. Your experience will be much smoother if you remain compliant with your surgeon's instructions.

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What precautions are necessary during recovery?

Immediately after surgery, you will need to continuously wear a support garment for one to three weeks. Please be sure to follow your surgeon's instructions regarding deep breathing exercises, diet, bandage care, bathing, showering, driving and exercising.

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What are the possible complications after liposuction?

Serious complications are uncommon with this kind of procedure. Generally, bruising lasts two to three weeks, but sometimes longer. A certain amount of numbness or reduced sensation in the treated area is to be expected. Some people may experience shaping irregularities in the treated areas following the procedure. Usually this is temporary, but may be permanent. As with any surgical procedure, bleeding, infection and other complications are possible. It is always important to be informed about the possible complications before any surgery. Be sure to discuss any concerns you may have with your surgeon.

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What results can I expect after liposuction?

You will experience some discomfort for an hour after the procedure, which may be relieved by medication. Your stitches are painlessly removed five to seven days after surgery. It may take two to four months for the swelling to completely disappear. In most individuals, liposuction scars are about one to two millimeters in length and barely visible. Your scars will be red or pink for six months and will gradually fade. However, all scars are permanent and their height, width, and final color are never completely predictable. Five percent of men and women have an additional liposuction procedure or a "touch-up" after six months. It is important to understand that it will take some time before you will see the dramatic final result of your new sculptured contour.

 

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