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Liposuction Frequently Asked Questions

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Liposuction Risks
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Am I a Candidate
  Liposuction FAQs
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1. What is the difference between traditional liposuction & tumescent liposuction?

Traditional liposuction involves what is referred to as "dry technique," where a cannula (tube) is inserted directly under the skin and fat cells are sucked out. When liposuction was popular in the 1970's, there were horror stories about blood loss, disfigurement and even death. The trauma associated with traditional liposuction is now attributed to the "dry technique" which is more invasive painful and requires a longer recuperation period than any other liposuction technique. It is rarely used today. With traditional Liposuction, in addition to the greatly increased likelihood of skin irregularities, many patients complain that they do not see a noticeable change in their shape following the procedure. They often feel that not enough fat has been removed.

Tumescent liposuction, also referred to as liposculpture, permits liposuction totally by local anesthesia instead of general anesthesia. This technique is now considered the safest form of liposuction for removing very large amounts of fat because there is virtually no blood loss. Not only has tumescent liposuction proven to be safer than traditional liposuction which uses general anesthesia, but it also has proven to be less painful, has minimized post operative recovery time and has produced optimal cosmetic results.

Local anesthesia used in tumescent liposuction for liposuction is so effective that patients no longer need intravenous sedatives, narcotic analgesics or general anesthesia. Over the years, numerous patients who previously had liposuction with general anesthesia have had second treatments with tumescent liposuction. Virtually every one of these patients has found tumescent liposuction to be less painful, to provide better results and to result in more rapid healing and recovery.

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2. I exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet. Why can't I budge the fat deposits on my hips, thighs and waist?

Many women gain weight on their hips and thighs during their teenage years. Often this is of a genetic predisposition. The main contributors to later fat deposition, however, are hormonal changes in a woman, such as pregnancies, menopause or hormone replacement therapy. A healthy diet and regular exercise alone is not sufficient for many patients. Treatment options include liposuction or liposculpture either with a traditional procedure using tumescent liposuction or the newer laser liposuction methods such as SmartLipo or VaserLipo.

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3. What can I do about my "floppy" arms?

Excessive fat and/or skin in the upper arms can often be extremely embarrassing to many women, young and old. Another name for "floppy" arms is "bat wings" or "tuckshop" arms. The skin of the upper arm becomes very thin and fragile and does not contract quite as well after weight loss or liposuction. Sometimes the excessive skin in the arms causes such embarrassment that an arm plasty or brachioplasty can be performed.

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4. Who is a good candidate for liposuction?

Women and Men over the age of 18 and who are in good health are candidates for liposuction. It should be noted that liposuction is not a solution for people who are obese or have large amounts of fat. Since liposuction is most effective when combined with a lifestyle of good nutrition, diet, and exercise, those individuals who practice this lifestyle or are willing to alter their lifestyle to a healthier regiment will see the best results.

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5. Who is not a good candidate for liposuction?

A person who expects absolute perfection is not a good candidate for liposuction. Excessively obese patients are usually not good candidates for liposuction. A person who has serious medical problems is not a good candidate for liposuction.

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6. Is liposuction a reasonable treatment for obesity?

Liposuction is not a good treatment of obesity. Liposuction is not effective, even as a last resort, for people who are unable to lose weight by dieting and exercise. Obese patients almost always regain the weight that is removed by liposuction unless there is a dramatic reduction in calorie intake (by dieting) or a significant increase in calorie expenditure (by exercising). Whenever large-volume liposuction has been used in an attempt to treat obesity by surgery, there has been a significant increase in the incidence of serious surgical complications. It is not safe to remove huge amounts of fat by liposuction. It is dangerous to remove more than 8 to 10 pounds of fat by liposuction in a single day. Thus, liposuction will not be of any significant benefit for an obese patient who believes that liposuction will aid in the effort to lose weight.

On the other hand, an overweight person whose weight has been stable for many years and has certain problem-areas of fat may be a good candidate for liposuction. Liposuction in an obese patient is reasonable when the goal is to improve a troublesome body contour area. It is not reasonable to use liposuction as a surgical technique for weight loss.

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7. Does liposuction remove cellulite?

Liposuction improves the silhouette of the body, but does not necessarily eliminate the pre-existing subtle "puckering" of the skin that is often referred to as "cellulite."Liposuction does reduce the degree of cellulite to a minor degree but it is unlikely to produce a significant improvement or to completely eliminate cellulite.

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8. How Long Does Recovery After Liposuction Last?

Under most circumstances, when liposuction is an outpatient procedure, recovery is usually quick. Most people can return to work within a few days and to normal activities within about two weeks. You should expect bruising, swelling and soreness for a least a few weeks. However, every person's outcome will vary based on factors such as volume of fat cells removed and area of removal. Your doctor will discuss what results you can expect to achieve and how to best maintain your new body shape.

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9. Are the Results of Liposuction Permanent?

The fat cells are removed permanently, so if you gain weight after the procedure, it usually will not concentrate in the area that was treated. However, it is important to note that liposuction will not prevent you from regaining weight. To keep your new shape and new weight after liposuction, you must follow a proper diet and exercise plan.

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10. What Are the Risks of Liposuction?

All surgical procedures involve some risk. However, liposuction has a good safety record and the risks associated with the procedure are minimized when performed by a specially trained, board-certified plastic surgeon.

Although rare, risks include infection and skin discoloration. As with all surgery, common sense is important. The risk of medical problems can be minimized by avoiding extremely long procedures or excessive removal of fat.

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11 . Does the fat come back in other spots after liposuction?

If a patient does not gain weight after liposuction, then fat does not accumulate in other areas of the body. However, if a patient gains a significant amount of weight, say more than 10 pounds (5 kg), after liposuction, then the fat must go somewhere. In fact, the fat accumulates in every area of the body in proportion to the amount of fat cells in each area. Areas where fat cells have been removed by liposuction will accumulate relatively little fat, while areas not treated by liposuction will collect relatively more fat. For example, if a woman gains weight after liposuction of her hips, outer thighs, and abdomen, then most of the fat will be deposited elsewhere such as the woman's breasts, face, back and legs.

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12. Is Liposuction Covered By Insurance?

Because it is a cosmetic procedure, liposuction is not covered by most health insurance plans. Ask to talk with a representative who can explain the costs of the procedure and payment options.

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