Frequently Asked Questions
About Liposuction (FAQ)
1. What are the
common methods of liposuction generally used today?
2. Are my liposuction results
3. What should I expect at my
4. How is a liposuction procedure performed?
5. Where are my incisions going
to be made; are there any scars, will people know?
6. How will I feel after my
7. Is it very painful to have
liposuction, how long will I be bruised?
8. When will I be able to return to work?
9. When will I be able to see my
10. What are the risks of liposuction?
1. What are the common
methods of liposuction generally used today?
- Tumescent Liposuction
Tumescent liposuction is the most common method used in
liposuction. It incorporates the injection of the combination saline, lidocaine (for pain relief),
epinephrine (to constrict the blood vessels, called vasoconstriction,
which lessens blood loss and lidocaine uptake), saline (as a carrier and
to help swell, the tissues), and sodium bicarbonate (which lessens the
stinging of the solution). The tumescent fluid has also been shown
to have antibacterial properties which is the reason why there are less
infections with tumescent than other procedures, when the surgeon adheres
to standard sterile protocols. This method also allows a surgeon to
perform liposuction without the use of additional anesthesia, although an
oral sedative may be given in conjunction to ease any anxiety.
However, liposuction is often performed under Twilight sedation.
General anesthesia is unnecessary with Tumescent Liposuction only.
- Ultrasound (or
-sonic) Assisted Liposuction (UAL):
This method uses high energy
ultrasonic energy to melt the fat before it is suctioned out.
With internal UAL, large amounts of tumescent fluid is injected and
then a rod is inserted into the subcutaneous fatty areas to melt the
fat. With external UAL, tumescent fluids are also
injected, but a metal paddle is passed over the skin to melt the fat
before suctioning. With UAL there is the risk of burns both
inside and outside the body. Although some surgeons still use
UAL, others are reluctant due to the high risks of burns.
Surgeons are tending to veer away from this type of UAL.
VASER LipoSelection® (or Wide
Awake Liposuction): VASER is considered a fourth generation UAL
method. VASER also uses ultrasonic energy but this method gently
breaks up and liquefies the fat. VASER can actually be performed
under local anesthesia only, hence the coined term, "Wide Awake Lipo".
Standard UAL required General anesthesia or very heavy Sedation.
VASER is very precise and the energy is significantly less than
standard UAL (50% less applied power), but still effective, which
leaves the surrounding tissue undamaged. VASER also uses a
specifically designed grooved cannula tip and lower level suction and
massage to further reduce tissue damage. Tumescent fluid is also used
with VASER. Bruising and swelling is reported to be less than with
standard tumescent liposuction.
The heat generated by the ultrasonic
energy also causes a thermal wound response which causes tissue
contraction and thus tightens the skin.
Liposuction (PAL or MicroAire Technique):
uses al high-speed "linear reciprocating" suction cannula.
The idea is that the cannula moves more easily through the fibrous
fatty areas, can be more precise, and also grants the surgeon less
exertion while performing the procedure. PAL is also used with
tumescent fluid. It is reported that with PAL there is less
bruising and swelling. However, I have had PAL and had bruising
and swelling that didn't seem insignificant to me. Tumescent fluid is
also used with laser-assisted liposuction.
- LASER-assisted Liposuction (SmartLipo):
Laser liposuction uses a cannula which houses a laser to melt fat.
Tumescent fluid is also used with
laser-assisted liposuction. The
cannula is inserted into incisions
to break down the fat and either laser cannula with suction is used
simultaneously, or in some methods, suction is performed after the fat
Bruising and swelling is
reported to be less than with standard tumescent liposuction.
The heat from the laser also causes a
thermal wound response which causes tissue contraction and thus
tightens the skin.
- See our Types
of Liposuction section for more information on additional methods.
Are my liposuction results permanent?
When your fat cells are removed via liposuction, the results are
permanent. We only are given a certain amount of fat cells,
approximately 30 billion, do not regenerate. New fat cells can
only form if you have hyperplastic obesity, and sometimes when a woman
is pregnant. If you choose to have chemical fat removal, his
method does not destroy the cell itself, but rather triggers the fat cell to
release its contents. You can gain lipids back into that fat cell if
you consume more calories than you expend. You can also still
gain mass in an area which has been treated by liposuction if there are
fat cells left to store lipids. This may create a lumpy appearance.
You will also gain mass in other areas which were not treated if you
consume more calories than you expend.
What should I expect at my liposuction consultation?
You will typically meet with your surgeon and discuss your options,
look at before and after photos, have a physical examination, discuss
the risks and meet with a financial planner with a quote for how much
your procedure will cost. Please see the
section for more in-depth information,
How is a liposuction procedure performed?
Depending upon the method, in this case tumescent
liposuction, your surgeon will usually make a few small incisions and
infuse the treatment area with a tumescent fluid Your
surgeon will then wait a few minutes for the solution to take effect. A cannula (a hollow, titanium rod), which is hooked up to a
high pressure vacuum, is inserted and will suction the fat out.
Your surgeon will move the cannula back and forth in a fan motion and
contour the area. With other types of methods, sometimes the fat
is melted and then later suctioned out, r suctioned at a very low
negative pressure at the same time. Please see our
Types of Liposuction section for
Where are my incisions going to be made; are there any scars, will
The incisions for liposuction are very small and
are made near the area that will be treated. This can range from
inside of the knees, the pubic area, the navel, the outer thigh or hip
and other areas. Only a few incisions are made as the cannula is
long and can reach the target area. People may be able to see some
incisions while wearing a bathing suit, although they will fade in time
How will I feel after my liposuction procedure?
When you immediately wake up you may feel very
sleepy and confused from the anesthesia, You will feel
uncomfortable, numb, tingly, and several other sensations, Your
body has been through an elective surgery and the tissues have been
dissected and fat suctions. You will have to give your self time to heal
properly. Please see our
Liposuction Recovery section for more in-depth information.
Is it very painful to
have liposuction, how long will I be bruised?
The majority of your swelling will subside within
the first few weeks. Expect to be sore in your treatment areas.
However, your prescribed pain medications should alleviate any
considerable discomfort that you feel. You will more than likely be
bruised in some areas. This is all normal. Any severe
swelling or very black areas should be reported to your surgeon.
Please see our Liposuction Recovery
section for more in-depth information.
When will I be able to return to work?
Most patients report that they felt comfortable
returning to work after 2 weeks, although some may only be able to take
a week off. Your comfort level is dependent upon the areas
treated, the amount removed, how gentle or aggressive your surgeon may
be and the pace at which your body heals.
Please ask your surgeon when he suggests you will be able to return to
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When will I be able to see
my true results?
Swelling is a normal process of healing. It
is your body's way of healing itself. You will also have fluid
which has been injected, as well as possibly saline drips. Your
lack of movement will also affect fluid retention and your digestive
system so you may feel bloated and heavier after your procedure. This is
temporary. The majority of your swelling should be gone within a
few weeks. However, you will notice stiffness and tightness in your
treatment areas, and to adjacent areas as well. Please see our
Liposuction Results section for a
break down of what to expect month by month.
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What are the risks of
The general risks of liposuction include hematoma,
seroma, infection, contour deformities, fat necrosis, general
dissatisfaction and pulmonary thromboemboli. There are also risks
associated with anesthesia. Please see our
Complications & Contraindications Section and
Anesthesia section for
Facial liposuction risks
are far less than body liposuction due to the amount of fat and fluids that
are suctioned out. The impact of under chin liposuction is less
because of the sheer volume and area that is treated. However, it
is not without its risks as well. Please see our
Facial Liposuction section for more