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Liposuction Surgery

Liposuction Pre and Post Operation Images by Dr. Steven Williams at Tri Valley Plastic SurgeryActual Patient
Body sculpting liposuction
Length of Surgery 1-2 hours per area
In/Outpatient Out patient
Anesthesia Local, Sedation or General
Duration of results Results of liposuction are permanent. Weight gain can reduce post-op improvements

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Am I a candidate for body sculpting liposuction surgery?

If you are considering surgical liposuction, it is important that you have realistic expectations. Although dramatic results can be achieved, they may not be as immediate or obvious as you would like. The success of liposuction surgery, as with all cosmetic procedures, depends on a number of individual factors, such as age, skin elasticity, skin excess, weight, and overall health.

The ideal liposuction candidate is someone with localized areas of fat, good skin elasticity and close to their ideal body weight (think 10 - 30 pounds). Liposuction can be used to treat multiple areas.

There are questions that you should ask yourself before you decide to undergo body sculpting liposuction:

  1. Are you in generally good health?
  2. Is your excess fat in specific areas?
  3. Does your skin tone have reasonably good elasticity?

Liposuction is not suitable for people with:

  • A weakened immune system
  • Heart problems
  • A history of blood clots or restricted blood flow

Liposuction surgery cannot be used to treat obesity alone. It will also not necessarily eliminate cellulite. The procedure helps to improve a patient’s body contour, and will not make you lose weight.

What is a body sculpting liposuction surgery?

Body sculpting liposuction (also referred to as lipoplasty or contouring liposuction) is the removal of fatty tissue from localized problem areas of the body. It is a very popular method of localized fat reduction that uses a suction technique to remove pockets of fat from troublesome areas such as the thighs, hips, abdomen, and upper arms.

Body sculpting liposuction helps both men and women to improve the contours of their bodies through a relatively simple and safe surgical procedure. The liposuction process involves the insertion of a cannula (a slender, hollow metal tube) through a small incision concealed in a skin fold near the site to be reduced, and scars are virtually undetectable. Through repeated movements of the cannula under the skin, fat globules are separated and removed by vacuum suction through the cannula. Usually only one small incision will be needed for each area being treated with body sculpting liposuction. The area concerned is injected with tumescent solution prior to insertion of the cannula, in order to reduce bleeding, control pain and to assist the breakdown and loosening of the fat deposits.

Liposuction will sculpt or recontour the body, but does not necessarily result in significant weight loss. The aim of body sculpting surgery is to lose inches rather than weight, and to alter the patient’s shape. It is very effective in removing of unwanted bumps and bulges and in improving the body’s silhouette.

Areas of the body that benefit the most from body sculpting liposuction are:

  • Cheeks, jowls, and neck
  • Upper arms
  • Breast or chest areas
  • Back
  • Abdomen and waistline (love handles in men)
  • Hips and buttocks
  • Inner and outer thighs
  • Knees, calves and ankles

Liposuction surgery can be combined with other cosmetic surgery techniques and may be carried out in a number of areas at the same time.

The amount of fat removed varies but more than five liters of fat removal typically will require a hospital stay. Fat cells removed by liposuction are permanently removed. You will still gain weight if you overeat, though the fat will show in other areas.

Different types of liposuction

  • Tumescent liposuction - This is the most common form of liposuction and is highly effective at improving contour and tightening skin. The surgery involves the injection of a large amount of fluid (a mixture of salt solution, lidocaine, and epinephrine) into the area being treated. The amount of fluid injected is usually the same amount as the fat being removed. This provides local anesthetic, helps to prevent fluid and blood loss, and makes the removal of the fat easier.
  • Ultrasonic assisted liposuction (UAL) – an ultrasonic cannula uses sound waves to liquefy the fat cells. The fat must then still be suctioned from the area treated. Ultrasonic can be useful for males with dense breast tissue.
  • Laser assisted liposuction - employs a laser to disrupt fat cells. At Tri Valley Plastic Surgery we typically prefer tumescent liposuction over laser techniques because of the predictability of skin tightening and fewer side effects

When you visit Tri Valley Plastic Surgery, you will discuss your areas of concern with Dr. Williams.

Factors such as a patient’s physical condition, genetic makeup, diet, exercise, smoking, alcohol use and skin elasticity can affect the results of the procedure. Dr. Williams will also consider your general state of health, any underlying conditions which may affect the results of the body sculpting procedure, and any medications you are taking. We will estimate the amount of fat that should be removed from each area to achieve your desired body shape.

The liposuction operation may be carried out under general or twilight anesthesia (where the patient is sedated, but not unconscious) or even under local anesthesia. This depends on the individual case. The length of the body sculpting procedure depends on the number and extent of areas treated, though is normally around 1 hour per area.

Pressure garments will normally be applied immediately after your surgical liposuction to control swelling and prevent any accumulation of blood or serum under the skin. This minimizes swelling and speeds recovery. Bruising, swelling and discomfort after the liposuction operation is a normal but temporary condition and are well managed with pain medication.

Body sculpting liposuction surgery procedure steps

Step 1- Anesthesia

The body sculpting liposuction procedure is performed under a general or twilight anesthesia (where you are sedated but not unconscious) or local anesthetic, depending on the type and number of liposuction procedures you undergo. The procedure is usually performed on an outpatient basis unless large volumes of fat are being removed.

Step 2 - The incisions

After administering the anesthesia, the next step in liposuction surgery is to create tiny incisions in the area of the body where the tumescent fluid will be injected and fat deposits will be removed. These incisions are usually quite small, a third of an inch at the most. These incisions are then used to insert the cannula, a thin vacuum tube, which will extract the fat.

Step 3 - Fat removal

Dr. Williams will insert the cannula, through the incision (or incisions), into the deep fat layer beneath your skin. Using back and forth movements, the cannula removes the unwanted fat deposits beneath the skin.

Step 4 - Closing the incisions

The incisions are then closed with a single dissolving stitch.

Body sculpting liposuction recovery and healing steps

When you wake up from your liposuction procedure you will be able to notice small improvements. As your body absorbs the fluid added over the next several weeks these results get more and more dramatic. There is often some bruising and swelling to the areas treated, however this should subside after a few weeks. The areas affected by the surgery will be swollen, sore and tender to the touch for three to six months after surgery. You will be required to wear a support garment for up to six weeks after your liposuction operation. The appearance of the treated areas will continue to improve once swelling subsides, and your unwanted fat will be gone, resulting in a slimmer, smoother body contour.

Liposuction recovery times vary from procedure to procedure depending on the area treated and individual differences.

Try to take things as easy as possible, as your liposuction recovery will be much speedier if you do.

You can expect to really see your new body shape about three to six months after your liposuction surgery, and it is important that you continue to eat healthy and exercise to maintain your new figure.

Body sculpting liposuction side effects and surgery risks

As with all major surgery, liposuction carries risks, such as bleeding, infection and an allergic reaction to the anesthesia. Complications vary depending on how large the procedure, though bruising and swelling are normal.

Liposuction side effects vary from patient to patient, and these are the most common:

  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Discomfort
  • Infection
  • Numbness – usually temporary
  • Extended healing time

With today's modern techniques, potential liposuction side effects have been greatly reduced. Bruising usually disappears within a few weeks of having a liposuction procedure, and swelling will improve gradually over a few months.

This is a powerful technique that has provided our patients amazing results.


The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) American Board of Plastic Surgery Yale University Plastic Surgery Yale School of Medicine American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Expert Reviewer of California Medical Board
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