Confused About Liposuction Options?


According to recent statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, liposuction surgery was the most common cosmetic surgery performed nationwide in 2013, at over 360 thousand procedures, up over 16% from the previous year. There are many liposuction techniques and non-surgical methods of fat removal, making it confusing for patients trying to decide what’s right for them.

I’ve heard of laser lipo, smart lipo, power lipo, ultrasound lipo?? Help!
Yes, there are many variations of liposuction surgery.  The basic concept is that small nicks are made in the skin and a fluid administered that contains medications to prevent pain and bleeding. A thin metal wand connected to suction is then used to remove unwanted fat. For many years, surgeons have looked for ways to add some form of “energy” to the process to make it easier and more efficient. The “energy” can come in the form of mechanical vibration (“power assisted lipo”), laser (“smart lipo”) and ultrasound (“vaser lipo”).
The bottom line is that each variation has a role in making the process easier, but none improve upon the final results beyond standard liposuction. Laser lipo melts the fat, but standard liposuction still needs to be performed afterwards. Power and ultrasound assisted lipo can help remove tough areas of stubborn fat, for example from the back and the male chest. During our personal consultation, I can explain if any of these are right for your particular case.

How about cool lipo?
This is a liitle different and is the informal name for CoolSculpting, (also known as Zeltiq). This is a non-surgical technique done right in the office. The CoolSculpting unit uses mild suction to apply cold temperature to the fat, thus melting the fat, which then is absorbed by your body.
The pros are that it is essentially painless and requires no anesthesia or downtime. In my opinion, it is the only legitimate non-surgical alternative to liposuction. The cons are that it is only applicable to parts of the body that have a “roll” shape, such as the love handles and bra line roll. In addition, each session removes only 25% of what operative liposuction can give you, so it is best used in patients with relatively small amounts of unwanted fat.

I don’t like my belly. Do I need a tummy tuck or lipo? What’s the difference?
A tummy tuck removes excess skin below the belly button and tightens the muscle layer. So, if you have loose skin, liposuction alone is not a good idea because the skin will deflate further and your appearance may actually worsen. If you have good skin tone (that springs back after you pull it away from your belly), then liposuction may be right for you.
You can tell if you have weak abdominal muscles that would be helped with a tummy tuck by doing a “crunch” sit-up. If your abdomen bulges in a “sausage” shape from your pubic bone to the bottom of your breastbone, you would likely benefit from a tummy tuck.
Many patients benefit from a tummy tuck combined with liposuction to the upper abdomen, flanks and back.

Where else can you do lipo?
Liposuction can be performed anywhere on the body where there is excess fat and good skin tone. Common areas include the neck, arms, male chest, abdomen, flanks, back, thighs and calves
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Bel Air Plastic Surgeon