Dr. Alan Lim is a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Here the Doctor has answered some of the common questions Bizymoms visitors have about Liposuction.
Q. What is liposuction?
Liposuction is the selective removal of subcutaneous fat [fat under the skin] using cannula [blunt tipped metal tubes with side holes thru which fat is sucked] connected buy tubing to a vacuum machine.
Q. Who is a good candidate for liposuction?
Individuals with localized collections of fat that are resistant to reduction by weight loss. Examples include the "saddle bags" deformity on the lateral thighs, the "fatty pooch" or " muffin top" of the lower abdomen or the "double chin" of the upper neck. Ideal patients would be otherwise healthy, not overly obese [have a BMI less than 30], be non-smokers, be non diabetic, and have no bleeding tendencies. It's important that patients have realistic goals and expectations.
Q. What are the risks associated with liposuction surgery?
Liposuction is surgery. Like any surgery there are inherent risks-- bleeding, infection, scarring, skin or fat necrosis, patient dissatisfaction with results. In addition, with liposuction there are risks like over resection, under resection of fat, surface irregularities like rippling of the skin or skin discoloration to name a few.
Q. What technique will the surgeon use to perform the liposuction?
The operator makes a small cut through the skin and introduces the cannula into the area where fat is to be removed. Using a back and forth motion he controls the area of fat to be removed. By repeating this motion he controls the amount of fat removed. Prior to liposuction the area in question is injected with a tumescent solution-- mixture of salt water and epinephrine-- to facilitate the liposuction and reduce the amount of blood loss. Cannula of various diameters are used depending on the area to be suctioned.
Q. How long is the recovery period?
Depending on the area and number of sites, one to four weeks. Elastic garments may be necessary to compress the areas for even longer.
Q. Are the results of liposuction permanent?
Yes, the fat removed does not come back. However, if one gains weight, the remaining fat cells can enlarge and recreate some of the deformity.
Q. How much does liposuction surgery cost?
Fees are divided into three categories: professional fees, facility fees, and anesthesia fees. Professional fees are charged by the number of areas to be suctioned-- typically $1000 to $2000 per site. Facility and anesthesia fees are based on the time used to perform the procedure-- typically about $1500 per hour sometimes discounted slightly after the first hour. Some doctors offer a package price--a flat rate for all costs attached to a given anatomical area that is to be suctioned.