What is it?
We live in a very body conscious and health conscious society where people are willing to go the extra mile to make themselves look and feel good. Because of this, liposuction appeals to a wide variety of people with different problem areas. It can be used on all different parts of the body to sculpt and contour, is an outpatient procedure, and has minimal down time, recovery and scarring. Even extremely fit individuals often have stubborn areas of fat that they cannot get rid of no matter how much they work out. Liposuction is an excellent choice for these situations. However, liposuction is not a generalized weight loss tool, and you should be at a stable healthy weight before considering it. Also, liposuction alone is not an appropriate choice for a patient with extra skin as it will tend to only make the skin looser. These situations generally require some type of skin removal as well. Often liposuction can be combined with other procedures to optimize results, and, if appropriate, the fat removed can also be reinjected into different parts of the body like the breast or buttock. Before surgery we will ask you to purchase a compression garment. If you're looking for the best liposuction in Houston or laser liposuction in Houston, look no further than Lift Plastic Surgery.
What happens during surgery?
Before your procedure, the areas of fat to be removed will be marked. The procedure is done under general anesthesia. First, several small incisions are made as access points. Then the area to be treated is filled with something called “tumescent fluid”. The fluid has lidocaine in it to help with pain, as well as epinephrine to decrease the risk of bleeding from the trauma of the liposuction. Some of this fluid will be sucked out, some will be absorbed, and some will drain from your incisions. Then, fat is removed using something called a cannula. A cannula is a hollow metal tube that can have different sizes and shapes depending on the area being treated. The cannula is connected to plastic tubing which is connected to a container that collects the fat, and this is all connected to a vacuum that applies suction to the system. The cannula is passed back and forth under the skin and above the muscle to remove the necessary amount of fat. Sometimes ultrasound or lasers are also added to help liquefy the fat and tighten the overlying skin. After the desired amount of fat is removed, the incisions are sutured closed, gauze is placed over the incisions to control drainage, and you are placed in a compression garment.
What will my recovery be like?
If more than 5 liters of fat and fluid are removed, you must stay overnight in the hospital for monitoring. Otherwise you are able to go home after the procedure, and start showering the next day. You should expect that you will have some drainage of fluid from the incision sites for several days as your body gets rid of extra fluid. You should plan to use gauze pads to absorb the drainage and prevent soiling of your clothes. Postoperatively, you will have some discomfort, swelling and bruising, but it is usually not significantly painful. You must wear a compression garment at all times other than showering for the first 6 weeks to limit swelling and improve your results. No vigorous exercise or activity is allowed for the first few weeks after surgery to limit swelling, but you may otherwise resume your normal activity right away. Expect that it will take several months for your swelling to completely resolve before you see your final results.
What are the risks?
Though we take every precaution to prevent it, It is possible to have some contour irregularities after surgery where the cannula passes under the skin. Fixing them may require injecting some fat back into the area to smooth it. You should realize that liposuction can help tighten the overlying skin to a certain degree after surgery, but, if your skin tone is poor or you have extra skin, liposuction may actually make your skin look looser or more “emptied out”. If this is the case, you may also need an additional procedure to remove and tighten this extra skin.