LIPOSUCTION Procedure Pictures
A good diet and exercise regimen are important keys to a healthy lifestyle. Despite taking care of themselves, many patients find that they have certain pockets of fat that remain resistant to weight loss and exercise. Whether it’s a double chin, love handles on the waist, saddlebags on the thighs, or a stubborn belly bulge, liposuction may be an option to remove the excess fat and improve the contour of these areas.
If you are ready to learn more about how liposuction can improve your look, request a consultation online with Dr. Steele, or call our office at 712-224-8677. We serve patients in Sioux City, IA and surrounding communities and we welcome patients who wish to travel from Sioux Falls, SD and Omaha, NE.
Benefits of liposuction
Liposuction is one of the most common cosmetic procedures performed in the United States. It is a technique that permanently removes unwanted fat by suctioning it out through very small incisions. It can be used safely in almost all locations throughout the body. It is important to remember that liposuction is not for weight loss or a treatment for obesity, but rather an opportunity to achieve a more attractive shape through body contouring which can improve your appearance in many ways:
Dr. Steele typically performs liposuction as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia for optimal patient comfort. Small incisions are made and a metal tube (cannula) is used to place saline solution containing adrenaline into the fatty areas to be removed. This is known as tumescent solution. Tumescent solution provides turgor (firmness) to the tissues which assists with fat removal, and the adrenaline (epinephrine) shrinks the blood vessels in the tissue to minimize bleeding.
A variety of different liposuction techniques are available, but Dr. Steele prefers the SAFELipo® technique pioneered by Dr. Simeon Wall Jr. This technique uses power-assisted liposuction (PAL) to safely separate the fat and then remove the fat in a smooth and even fashion which minimizes asymmetries and contour irregularities.
At the end of the surgery, foam pads may be placed over certain areas such as your hips and thighs and then you will be placed into a compression garment. Drainage tubes may be necessary with very large amounts of fat removal.
The length of surgery will vary depending on the number of areas to be treated and whether or not another surgery is performed simultaneously. In some combined cases, such as a mommy makeover or lower body lift, an overnight observation may be required.
Although you will notice some swelling and bruising, you will notice an improvement in your contour right away. It is very important to wear the compression garments for 6-8 weeks to encourage skin contraction and the resolution of swelling. Normal activity and sedentary work can be resumed within 5-7 days. Cardio activity should be limited for at least 4 weeks. It will take at least 3-6 months for all of the swelling to resolve.
Will I have scars after liposuction?
A small incision (5mm) is made to allow the liposuction cannulas into the fatty areas to remove the fat. The scars are very small and often hidden in natural creases or areas covered by undergarments and bathing suits. It is likely that nobody will notice these small scars unless they are pointed out to them.
What happens to the skin after liposuction?
In patients with good skin quality and elasticity, the skin will contract down to reveal the new contour created by removing the excess fat. In some cases I see patients who ask for liposuction when the more appropriate procedure to perform is a tummy tuck. In patients with extensive stretch marks or loose skin, liposuction of the underlying fat will very likely result in excess skin due to the poor skin quality and inability of that skin to “bounce back” after liposuction. Liposuction may be used as an adjunct in these patients during a tummy tuck for optimal contour.
How much fat can be removed with liposuction?
This will vary depending on the size of the patient, their aesthetic goals, and the amount of fat in each location. While liposuction is not meant for weight loss or obesity, most patients will notice significant improvement in their body contour. General recommendations for safety include limiting the total fat removal to 5 liters of fluid (approximately 10 pounds). Patients who are closer to their ideal body weight will get better results with decreased complications compared to overweight and obese individuals.
What’s the difference between a tummy tuck and liposuction?
Liposuction removes fat below the skin to improve contour. It does not improve excess skin or stretch marks. An abdominoplasty procedure does several things:
- Removes some fat from the midsection
- Removes excess, loose/stretched-out skin
- Tightens the abdominal muscles which helps flatten the abdomen when viewed from the side and helps narrow the waist when viewed from the front.
- Redistributes the skin from the upper abdomen to the lower abdomen. This tightens the skin and helps thin the fat layer of the abdomen as well.
A tummy tuck will reverse the changes of pregnancy and weight loss, while liposuction is useful for removing fat from isolated areas. In order to get a good result with liposuction, the patient should be close to an ideal weight and have good skin tone. If liposuction is performed in an area without good skin tone (lots of stretch marks), the patient will very likely be left with loose skin that does not contract or shrink down.
Is liposuction permanent?
Yes, the fat cells that are removed during liposuction do not come back. If a patient gains weight, however, the remaining fat cells or fat cells in other locations will expand and become larger. Patients who maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen after surgery will maintain their results for years.
Is liposuction safe?
There are many stories in the media of adverse outcomes after liposuction. Generally these are the result of inexperienced, poorly trained non-plastic surgeons. Today’s liposuction techniques are very safe when performed by a well trained, board certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Steele.
What about cellulite?
Cellulite is caused by fibrous, scar-like bands of tissue that connect the skin to the deeper layers of fat. The result is dimpling as the fat cells expand between the bands. Liposuction may improve the appearance by reducing the tightness of the fibrous bands. Cellulite is very difficult to treat and may require other treatments to dissolve the scar bands.
When can I return to work?
Most patients can return to a desk job within 4-7 days after surgery. Patients with very strenuous jobs will need at least 3-4 weeks to recover.
When can I resume my exercise regimen?
For an isolated liposuction procedure, most patients can resume their workouts at 3-4 weeks postop. If liposuction has been combined with a tummy tuck or mommy makeover, you recovery will be longer and the return to strenuous exercise will be slower.
When will I see my final results?
You will notice some improvement immediately after surgery; however, typical bruising and swelling will camouflage your final contour for several months. It is important to wear the compression garment as instructed by Dr. Steele to facilitate resolution of your swelling. You will gradually notice improvement as the swelling goes away, but it will take 3-6 months to see the final result.