Liposuction

Liposuction is a very common, popular procedure. It is an elective procedure that allows the plastic surgeon to remove undesirable, subcutaneous fat in isolated areas that do not respond well to diet and exercise. These areas include the hips, thighs, abdomen, knees, face, and neck.

Liposuction is most successful in people with good skin tone who have fatty deposits. It is not a treatment for obesity. If weight gain occurs after liposuction, the fat will be deposited in areas that have not been treated. The procedure can be repeated, if necessary. To maintain the highest standard of patient safety during liposuction, there is a limit on how much fat can be removed at one time.

A variety of factors can affect the results: Physical condition, genetic makeup, diet, exercise, smoking, alcohol intake, and skin elasticity.

Body contours made irregular by fat can be improved by this procedure. Liposuction alone cannot correct irregular body contours resulting from other reasons, such as muscle weakness or hernia. However, liposuction combined with other procedures can correct these deformities with good results.

The Procedure

Liposuction is performed under general anesthesia on an outpatient basis in Chicago Surgical Specialists’ state-of-the-art surgical center. Small, discreet incisions (less than one-half inch), are made in the areas to be treated. A cannula is inserted in each incision and attached to a suction machine that removes the fat. Liposuction may take an hour or more, depending on how many areas are involved.

Recovery: What to Expect

Recovery from liposuction is relatively easy. Expect a fair amount of swelling and bruising in the two weeks following surgery. Patients are given special garments to wear that apply pressure, minimize swelling, and provide support during the healing process. These garments also assist in retraction of the skin. Stitches are typically removed in a week to 10 days.

Results are recognizable almost immediately and continue to improve as swelling subsides. The day after surgery you should be up and walking around. Increase your activity daily until full activity is resumed at two to four weeks. You will be ready to return to office work in three to five days after your procedure and can resume more active employment at 10-14 days post-procedure.

Patients should avoid the sun until all bruising is subsided. Sunscreen should always be used, but most especially during your liposuction recovery period because temporary decreased skin sensation can cause patients to be unaware they are getting sunburned.

The results of liposuction are permanent. It takes approximately 90 days to see the final result. After liposuction, patients who gain a large amount of weight might see rippling in the treated areas, depending on skin elasticity.

Possible Complications

As with any surgical procedure, complications can occur. Cosmetic complications include contour irregularities, skin discoloration, asymmetry, scar tissue, and collection of blood or fluid under the skin. Uncommon complications include lasting loss of sensation, skin breakdown, fat embolism, serious infection, or shock. Bleeding does occur during liposuction so there is a limit to the amount of fat that can be safely removed during a scheduled procedure.

Following liposuction, incision scars will go through a maturation process. In the first eight to twelve weeks, scars may be red and possibly raised. After six to twelve months most scars become pale, flat, and soft. You may experience numbness, burning, or tingling around the incision site. These symptoms are almost always temporary.

Please let us know if you are prone to keloid scars that are larger, raised, and overgrown compared to typical scars.