Who considers liposuction?

Areas of fatty excess in the abdomen, flanks, upper or lower extremities, or under the chin can affect how clothing fits and how we see ourselves. Women & men of all shapes and sizes undergo liposuction, but patients near or at their normal weight, and without sagging skin, will experience the most satisfying, long-term results. Liposuction is not a solution to achieving weight loss.

Women and men with regional pockets of fat unresponsive to diet and exercise, who have firm, elastic skin are ideal candidates for liposuction.

Sometimes adding abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), breast surgery, or other body contouring procedures may increase the likelihood of achieving your goals.

What is liposuction?

Liposuction, also known as lipoplasty or suction lipectomy, is a procedure that sculpts the body by removing unwanted fat from specific areas, creating a more desirable contour. While liposuction improves shape related to fatty deposits, it does not change muscle tone or sagging skin. Expectations and goals are discussed during your consultation. Depending on your specific goals and your body composition  Abdominoplasty, CoolSculpting, Brachioplasty (bat wing reduction) or another procedure may be more effective in achieving them.

It is always important to have realistic expectations about what the procedure you are considering can achieve. Dr. Kennedy spends significant time during your consultation reviewing what is possible and what your goals are.

How is the procedure performed?

  • Surgery is generally performed in our nationally accredited surgical suite.
  • Anesthesia providers monitor your heart & lungs and keep you comfortable during surgery
  • Several very small incisions are made in inconspicuous locations (generally hidden in scars, creases or stretch marks).
  • A numbing solution is instilled for comfort and to make liposuction safer on the skin and tissues.
  • A hollow cannula attached to a suction machine is used to remove fat from the specific areas of concern.*
  • Liposuction can be performed at the same time as abdominoplasty,  breast augmentation, or other surgery.

What is normal recovery?

Patients wear compression garments to minimize swelling, improve comfort, and optimize skin retraction after surgery. Prescription medications are used during this time to relieve minor surgical pain. Patients are generally back to work in less than a week. More vigorous activity can be resumed in 2 to 3 weeks.

What are the expected results?

An improvement in proportions and contour is the usual result following liposuction. It may take up to a few months to see full results due to swelling. Most patients find that clothing fits better and that there is improved self-esteem and self-confidence. Individual skin retraction can be unpredictable and will affect results. Individual results may vary 

The re-contoured body can still gain weight but usually in more normal proportions. Weight gain will alter results.

Are there potential complications?

Liposuction is a common surgery but no surgery is without potential risks. The majority of these are minor. Smoking increases your risk for numerous complications. General risks of any surgical procedure can be found on our information page by clicking HERE.

Liposuction does not remove all of the fat in the areas treated, and safety guidelines limit the amount of fat that can be removed. This can leave more fat in areas than you would desire. An uneven contour between sides and rippling (the appearance of fat) can be seen. Liposuction does not remove cellulite. Fluid or skin loss would be exceedingly rare. If multiple areas are being treated or significant fat is present - you might want to discuss if two sessions removing more fat from each area would provide results closer to your goal.

Additional FAQs

How much fat can you remove?

National guidelines limit removal to 5 liters of fat removal at each surgery. This is approximately 10# of fat and can make a dramatic change in shape and proportions. Dr. Kennedy will discuss this at your consultation.

Does liposuction remove cellulite?

Cellulite is a result of bands running from the muscle covering to the skin and individual fat cells pushing out past the fibrous bands. Liposuction may improve the appearance of some areas of cellulite - but liposuction is not a treatment of cellulite.

Can I achieve the same results with CoolSculpting?

CoolSculpting is a wonderful technology that can remove 20-25% of the fat without surgery and with little to no downtime. There are certainly advantages to CoolSculpting, but there are areas CoolSculpting cannot treat, you may need multiple sessions to achieve the results you can see with one session of liposuction and for larger areas. CoolSculpting can become more expensive (although for small areas it may be cheaper). A consultation to discuss your area(s) of concern will better answer this question for you.

How do I know if I need a tummy tuck or liposuction?

Liposuction does not change your muscle tone or skin appearance. If you are happy with your muscles and how your skin looks - liposuction may achieve your goals. If you prefer the look when you hold your tummy muscles tight and hate the sagging tummy skin, you will want to discuss a tummy tuck instead.

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