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Liposuction

Liposuction in Virginia Beach

The technology of liposuction is evolving and results are continually improving. For years, we have employed all variations of liposuction techniques including, the power assisted method, laser and ultrasonic. However, we prefer tumescent liposuction as it provides similar results with far less risk. More details on the liposuction process will be discussed during the patient’s consultation.

Table of Contents

What is Liposuction/VASER Liposuction

Liposuction is a surgical procedure designed to remove excess fat deposits from specific areas of the body to improve contours and proportions. It is one of the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures worldwide and can be performed on various body regions, including the abdomen, hips, thighs, buttocks, arms, back, and neck.

During traditional liposuction, small incisions are made in the treatment area, and a thin tube called a cannula is inserted through these incisions. The cannula is connected to a suction device, which removes fat cells from the body by vacuuming them out. The surgeon manipulates the cannula to break up and loosen the fat deposits before suctioning them away. The goal of liposuction is to sculpt and reshape the body by removing localized pockets of fat that are resistant to diet and exercise.

VASER liposuction is a variation of traditional liposuction that utilizes ultrasound energy to break down and liquefy fat cells before they are removed from the body. During VASER liposuction, ultrasound energy is delivered through a specialized probe inserted into the treatment area. This energy selectively targets and disrupts fat cells while minimizing damage to surrounding tissues, such as blood vessels and nerves. The liquefied fat is then suctioned out using a cannula, similar to traditional liposuction.

VASER liposuction is known for its ability to provide more precise fat removal, smoother results, and faster recovery compared to traditional liposuction. It can be particularly effective for treating areas with dense or fibrous fat deposits, such as the upper abdomen, flanks (love handles), and male chest (gynecomastia). Additionally, VASER liposuction may stimulate collagen production in the skin, resulting in improved skin tightening and contouring.
Overall, liposuction, including VASER liposuction, is an effective and popular cosmetic procedure for sculpting and reshaping the body by removing excess fat deposits. It is essential for patients considering liposuction to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon experienced in the procedure to determine their candidacy and discuss their goals and expectations.

Am I an Ideal Candidate? An Ideal Candidate for Liposuction

  1. Good General Health: Candidates should be in overall good health and free from any medical conditions that could increase the risk of complications during surgery.
  2. Localized Fat Deposits: Ideal candidates have localized pockets of fat that are resistant to diet and exercise efforts. Liposuction is not intended for weight loss but rather for body contouring and sculpting.
  3. Stable Weight: Candidates should be at or near their ideal body weight and have maintained a stable weight for several months. Liposuction is most effective when performed on individuals who are close to their target weight.
  4. Realistic Expectations: Candidates should have realistic expectations about the outcomes of liposuction and understand that it is not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle or weight loss. Liposuction can improve body contours, but it may not achieve perfection or address skin laxity.
  5. Healthy Skin Elasticity: Ideal candidates have good skin elasticity, which allows the skin to contract smoothly and conform to the new body contours after fat removal. Poor skin elasticity may result in loose or sagging skin following liposuction.
  6. Non-Smoker or Willing to Quit: Smoking can impair healing and increase the risk of complications after surgery. Ideal candidates are non-smokers or willing to quit smoking before and after the procedure to optimize healing and outcomes.
  7. Commitment to Post-Operative Care: Candidates should be willing to adhere to post-operative instructions provided by their surgeon, including wearing compression garments, attending follow-up appointments, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle to preserve results.
  8. Specific Body Concerns: Candidates have specific areas of concern, such as the abdomen, hips, thighs, buttocks, arms, back, or neck, that they wish to address with liposuction. VASER liposuction may be particularly suitable for dense or fibrous fat deposits in these areas.
  9. Consultation with a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon: It’s essential for candidates to undergo a comprehensive evaluation and consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon experienced in liposuction to determine their candidacy and discuss personalized treatment options.
By meeting these criteria, candidates can ensure that they are suitable candidates for liposuction and are likely to achieve safe and satisfactory results from the procedure.

What Happens During Liposuction?

During liposuction, whether traditional or using techniques like VASER liposuction, several steps are typically involved to remove excess fat deposits and sculpt the body’s contours. Here’s an overview of what happens during the procedure:
  1. Anesthesia: Before the procedure begins, anesthesia is administered to ensure the patient’s comfort. The type of anesthesia used may vary depending on the extent of the liposuction and the patient’s preferences. Options include local anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia.
  2. Incision Placement: Small incisions, typically measuring a few millimeters in length, are made in the treatment area. The location and number of incisions depend on the specific areas being treated and the extent of fat removal required. Incisions are strategically placed in inconspicuous locations to minimize visible scarring.
  3. Tumescent Solution (Optional): In some cases, a tumescent solution containing saline, local anesthetic (such as lidocaine), and epinephrine (to minimize bleeding) may be injected into the treatment area. This solution helps to numb the area, shrink blood vessels, and facilitate fat removal.
  4. Fat Removal: A thin tube called a cannula is inserted through the incisions and into the subcutaneous fat layer. The surgeon manipulates the cannula back and forth to break up and dislodge fat deposits, which are then suctioned out of the body using a vacuum device attached to the cannula. The surgeon carefully contours and sculpts the treatment area to achieve the desired results.
  5. VASER Liposuction (if applicable): In VASER liposuction, ultrasound energy is used to selectively target and break down fat cells before they are removed. A specialized probe emitting ultrasound energy is inserted into the treatment area, where it liquefies the fat cells while preserving surrounding tissues. The liquefied fat is then suctioned out using a cannula, similar to traditional liposuction.
  6. Closure of Incisions: Once the desired amount of fat has been removed and the desired contours have been achieved, the incisions are closed with sutures or surgical adhesive. Sterile dressings or bandages may be applied to the incision sites to protect them and promote healing.
  7. Compression Garments: After surgery, patients are typically instructed to wear compression garments or elastic bandages over the treated area. These garments help to minimize swelling, support the tissues, and facilitate skin contraction during the recovery process.
  8. Post-Operative Monitoring: After the procedure, patients are monitored in a recovery area until they are awake and stable. They may be discharged home the same day, or in some cases, may require overnight observation depending on the extent of the procedure and the patient’s overall health.
Overall, liposuction is a highly customizable procedure that allows surgeons to sculpt and contour the body by removing excess fat deposits. Whether performed using traditional liposuction techniques or advanced methods like VASER liposuction, the goal is to achieve natural-looking results and improve body proportions. It’s essential for patients to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon experienced in liposuction to determine the most appropriate technique and treatment plan based on their individual needs and goals.

Recovery Timeline Following Liposuction

The recovery timeline following liposuction, including VASER liposuction, can vary depending on factors such as the extent of the procedure, the areas treated, individual healing abilities, and adherence to post-operative care instructions. While every patient’s recovery experience is unique, the following is a general timeline outlining the typical progression of recovery after liposuction:
  1. Immediate Post-Operative Period (Day 1-2):
    • Immediately after surgery, patients may experience grogginess or drowsiness from the effects of anesthesia.
    • Mild to moderate discomfort, swelling, bruising, and fluid drainage from the incision sites are common. Prescription pain medication or over-the-counter pain relievers may be prescribed to manage discomfort.
    • Patients are typically advised to rest and limit physical activity during the initial recovery period.
  2. First Week:
    • Swelling and bruising are expected to peak during the first few days after surgery and gradually begin to subside.
    • Patients may be instructed to wear compression garments or elastic bandages over the treated areas to minimize swelling, support the tissues, and promote skin contraction.
    • It’s important to avoid strenuous activities, heavy lifting, and vigorous exercise during the first week of recovery to prevent complications and optimize healing.
  3. Weeks 2-3:
    • Swelling continues to decrease, and bruising fades over time, although some residual swelling may persist for several weeks.
    • Patients may gradually resume light activities and return to work, depending on their comfort level and the nature of their job.
    • It’s essential to continue wearing compression garments as recommended by the surgeon to support the tissues and maintain the new contours during the healing process.
  4. Weeks 4-6:
    • Most swelling and bruising have resolved by this point, and patients typically start to see noticeable improvements in body contours and discomfort.
    • Patients may gradually resume more strenuous activities and exercise routines, following clearance from their surgeon.
    • Incisions continue to heal and mature, and any residual discomfort or sensitivity gradually diminishes over time.
  5. Months 3-6:
    • By this stage, the majority of post-operative swelling has resolved, and the treated areas begin to settle into their final shape and contour.
    • Scars continue to fade and flatten over time, although they may remain pink or slightly raised initially.
    • Patients can expect to see the final results of liposuction, including improved body proportions and smoother contours.
  6. Long-Term Recovery:
    • While most of the visible signs of surgery resolve within the first few months, it may take up to a year or more for the treated areas to fully settle, and the scars to mature.
    • Patients should continue to attend follow-up appointments with their surgeon as scheduled to monitor their progress and address any concerns that may arise during the healing process.
It’s essential for patients to follow their surgeon’s specific post-operative instructions, including proper wound care, medication management, and activity restrictions, to ensure a safe and successful recovery from liposuction. If any unusual symptoms or concerns arise during the recovery period, patients should contact their surgeon promptly for guidance and assistance.
You can also watch the video below where one of our surgeons, Dr. Michael Denk, discusses liposuction during a recent seminar he delivered.

Maintaining Results

After liposuction, maintaining results requires a combination of healthy lifestyle habits and adherence to post-operative instructions. Here are some tips to help maintain the results of liposuction:
  1. Follow a Balanced Diet: Maintain a nutritious diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Avoid excessive consumption of processed foods, sugary snacks, and high-fat foods, as they can contribute to weight gain and fat accumulation.
  2. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated and support overall health. Adequate hydration can also help flush toxins from the body and improve skin elasticity.
  3. Regular Exercise: Engage in regular physical activity, including cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and flexibility exercises. Exercise helps maintain muscle tone, boost metabolism, and prevent fat accumulation in treated areas.
  4. Avoid Weight Fluctuations: Aim to maintain a stable weight within a healthy range to prevent fluctuations that could affect the results of liposuction. Rapid weight gain or loss can cause fat cells to expand or shrink unevenly, compromising the outcome of the procedure.
  5. Wear Compression Garments: Follow your surgeon’s recommendations regarding the use of compression garments or elastic bandages. These garments help minimize swelling, support the tissues, and promote skin retraction during the recovery process.
  6. Monitor Body Contours: Pay attention to changes in body contours and address any concerns promptly. If you notice significant weight gain, asymmetry, or changes in the appearance of treated areas, consult with your surgeon for evaluation and guidance.
  7. Attend Follow-Up Appointments: Schedule and attend all follow-up appointments with your plastic surgeon as recommended. These appointments allow your surgeon to monitor your progress, assess healing, and address any questions or concerns you may have.
  8. Practice Good Skin Care: Maintain good skincare habits to keep the skin healthy and hydrated. Use moisturizers, sunscreen, and gentle cleansers to protect the skin and promote healing.
  9. Avoid Smoking and Excessive Alcohol: Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can impair healing and negatively impact skin health. If you smoke, consider quitting, and limit alcohol intake to support optimal recovery and maintain results.
  10. Be Patient and Realistic: Understand that the final results of liposuction may take several months to fully manifest as swelling subsides and the body adjusts. Be patient with the healing process and maintain realistic expectations about the outcomes of the procedure.
By incorporating these strategies into your lifestyle and adhering to post-operative instructions, you can help maximize and maintain the results of liposuction over the long term. If you have any concerns or questions about maintaining your results, don’t hesitate to consult with your plastic surgeon for personalized guidance and advice.

Possible Complications

While liposuction is generally considered safe, like any surgical procedure, it carries the risk of potential complications. It’s essential for patients to be aware of these risks and discuss them with their surgeon before undergoing liposuction. Possible complications of liposuction may include:
  1. Bruising and Swelling: Bruising and swelling are common after liposuction and typically resolve within a few weeks. However, excessive bruising and swelling may occur, leading to discomfort and delayed healing.
  2. Infection: Infection at the surgical site is a potential complication of liposuction. Symptoms of infection may include redness, warmth, swelling, pain, and discharge from the incision sites. Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat or prevent infection, but in severe cases, additional treatment may be necessary.
  3. Fluid Accumulation (Seroma): Fluid accumulation, known as a seroma, may occur in the treated area after liposuction. Seromas can cause swelling, discomfort, and delayed wound healing. In some cases, the fluid may need to be drained through needle aspiration.
  4. Changes in Sensation: Temporary or permanent changes in sensation, including numbness, tingling, or hypersensitivity, may occur in the treated area after liposuction. Most sensory changes improve over time, but some patients may experience long-lasting or permanent alterations in sensation.
  5. Irregularities in Contour: Uneven or irregular contours may develop after liposuction, particularly if too much fat is removed or if the procedure is performed unevenly. Revision surgery may be necessary to address significant irregularities or asymmetry.
  6. Skin Discoloration: Temporary skin discoloration or hyperpigmentation may occur in the treated area after liposuction. This typically resolves over time but may persist in some cases.
  7. Skin and Tissue Damage: Liposuction can potentially cause damage to the skin, underlying tissues, blood vessels, or nerves, leading to complications such as scarring, skin necrosis, or changes in skin texture.
  8. Blood Clots: Rarely, blood clots (deep vein thrombosis) may form in the deep veins of the legs and travel to the lungs (pulmonary embolism), causing potentially life-threatening complications. Measures such as early ambulation, compression garments, and blood thinners may be used to reduce the risk of blood clots.
  9. Prolonged Healing: Some patients may experience prolonged healing or delayed wound healing after liposuction, leading to persistent swelling, discomfort, or delayed results.
  10. Unsatisfactory Results: Despite the surgeon’s best efforts, some patients may be dissatisfied with the results of liposuction. It’s essential to have realistic expectations about the outcomes of the procedure and communicate openly with the surgeon about goals and concerns.

Liposuction Before & After Photos

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