Liposuction, also referred to as lipoplasty and suction lipectomy, is a plastic surgery procedure which removes excess or unwanted fat in order to sculpt the body and improve the body shape. Liposuction can be ideal for improving areas of the body which have not responded to diet and exercise, including the abdomen, buttocks, cheeks, chin, hips, knees, neck, thighs, upper arms, and waist. The result is a slimmer, smoother, more contoured body shape.
The best candidates for liposuction are of normal body weight but are bothered by areas of excess fat which have proven resistant to exercise and diet. It is also important that patients have realistic expectations for improvement.
Dr. Steinbrech perform liposuction on an outpatient basis at their JCAHO accredited office-based surgery facility at Gotham Plastic Surgery of New York City. In general, the procedure may take anywhere from one and two hours to complete depending on the size and number of treatment areas and the amount of fat being removed. Local anesthesia, general anesthesia or an epidural may be used. Very small incisions are made in the treatment area, through which a narrow, blunt-tipped tube known as a cannula is inserted. The cannula is manipulated by the surgeon in order to disrupt the fat cells which are then suctioned out.
There are many newer liposuction techniques available including ultrasound-assisted liposuction and tumescent liposuction. These generally offer several benefits over traditional liposuction including more precise fat removal and quicker recovery times. With tumescent liposuction, a solution comprised of saline (salt water), a local anesthetic called lidocaine, and a small amount of adrenaline to decrease bruising and bleeding is first injected to ease the removal of fat. With ultrasound assisted liposuction (UAL), ultrasonic energy is first applied which liquefies the fat before being removed.
Some discomfort can be expected after liposuction and this can be alleviated with medication. Drainage tubes may be temporarily inserted at the incision sites to collect excess fluid. Patients will be required to wear a compression garment similar to a girdle for several weeks after their procedure. This will help to support the new contours of the body and control swelling. Most swelling and bruising fades within about three weeks. Patients will see an immediate change in their body shape after surgery with continued improvement over time as the swelling fades. Work can usually be resumed within a few days, though strenuous activity should be postponed for two to four weeks.