Liposuction has long been used as a body contouring method to remove pockets of unwanted fat. As a liposuction surgeon in Los Angeles, I offer several methods of liposuction that can be used to help suction fat including the tumescent, power assisted, and ultrasound assisted techniques, to name a few. While this body contouring method is appropriate for small-scale fat removal, particularly in areas such as the abdomen, back, love handles and thighs, it is important for women and men to understand that liposuction should not be considered a substitute for eating a healthy diet and living an active lifestyle.
What Liposuction Can and Cannot Do
Liposuction is helpful for removing small pockets of fat that remain resistant to diet and exercise, and it is important to note that this procedure should not be considered for large-scale fat removal. As a plastic surgeon in Los Angeles, sometimes called the beauty capital of the country, I frequently have consultations with people who want to contour and shape their bodies to look more toned and lean. This is a perfectly legitimate reason to be considering liposuction.
While liposuction can provide remarkable body contouring results, it is not a cellulite removal method, and in some cases overall skin tone may appear somewhat decreased after a liposuction procedure, particularly if a patient has less than optimal skin tone or slightly sagging skin to begin with. If skin tone is a particular concern to you, talk with your surgeon about options for cellulite treatment, such as SmoothShapes, and skin tightening, including Thermage.
For the most part liposuction is a permanent solution for fat removal. The fat cells that are suctioned will not increase in number, but they can increase in size. Those who have had a liposuction treatment should try to maintain their body weight at the time of surgery even after their procedure to ensure that the results remain for many years.
There are several types of liposuction techniques that can be used, depending on the patient, including:
Tumescent Liposuction: I use the tumescent liposuction technique for my Los Angeles patients who want to remove localized fat deposits in various areas of the body. This method uses large volumes of saline solution, local anesthesia and adrenaline to make the fat cells easier to remove while limiting blood loss. Then, a cannula (small tube) is inserted that suctions away excess fat. This is a very traditional liposuction method and is widely used in practices across the country.
Power Assisted Liposuction: This liposuction technique uses a suction tube that vibrates at the tip at a fast speed in order to help break up and loosen the fat cells. This allows for gentler suctioning of the fat cells, and causes less damage to surrounding tissue than other liposuction methods. Other benefits include decreased surgical time, less anesthesia required, and greater precision.
Ultrasonic Liposuction: Ultrasonic liposuction emits high-energy sound waves through the cannula that rupture the cell walls of fat cells, subsequently causing the cells to liquefy. Traditional liposuction is then used to remove the liquefied fat. The ultrasonic method is most beneficial for removing areas of fat that are especially fibrous, such as the chest, flanks and lower back.
Smartlipo: This innovative body contouring method works by using laser technology to rupture fat cells. The cannula emits laser energy that liquefies fat cells, and the fat cells can be suctioned away or left to be absorbed naturally by the body through its own cleansing process.
In summary, while it is not an acceptable way to lose weight, liposuction can be extremely helpful in contouring and shaping the body. However, like all cosmetic procedures, liposuction also has its limitations and having a complete understanding of what is possible is essential for patients to be satisfied with their procedure outcome and also the liposuction cost.
Dr. David Stoker is a board certified Diplomate of the American Board of Plastic Surgery specializing in cosmetic surgery, including Los Angeles liposuction procedures. He was chosen by The New York Times, in the The New York Times Style Magazine, as one of the top cosmetic plastic surgeons in the nation with special mention of his experience in liposuction, tummy tucks and breast surgery.
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