For some people, no amount of exercise or dieting removes fatty deposits in parts of their bodies, such as the thighs, hips, abdomen, and upper arms. Whether it’s due to aging or genetics, having this extra, seemingly immovable fat can cause a poor body image and a lack of self-confidence. The plastic surgeons at Johns Hopkins, in Baltimore, Maryland, offer liposuction, or lipoplasty, a process that removes excess fat deposits. Improving body contours and proportion can lead to increased self esteem and confidence.
Types of liposuction
Several types of liposuction can be done at Johns Hopkins. You should consult with your cosmetic surgeon to see which would work best for you. The basic procedure is done with a small, thin metal tube called a cannula. The plastic surgeon makes very small incisions in the area where the liposuction is going to be done. The cannula is inserted and breaks up and vacuums away fat deposits beneath the skin.
- Ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL) – ultrasonic energy is administered to the fat, forming an emulsion. This liquefied fat is then removed. UAL is appropriate for fibrous areas, large areas, and redo liposuctions.
- Tumescent liposuction – a large amount of anesthetic is injected into the area being treated, which causes the fat to swell and firm up, allowing the surgeon to remove it more smoothly and with minimal bleeding.
- Power-assisted liposuction (PAL) – uses tumescent liposuction and a special cannula that uses vibration to break up fat cells so they can be suctioned out. PAL allows plastic surgeons to remove more fat in a shorter period of time, providing enhanced results, a safer procedure, and faster recovery.
What to expect during liposuction
Generally, whichever kind of liposuction is done, it can be done as an outpatient procedure if it is not being done in conjunction with a more invasive procedure. You will likely receive a local anesthetic and sedation to keep you comfortable.
Recovery from liposuction
After the procedure, you will be able to walk and move around comfortably. Your plastic surgeon will probably provide you with a compression garment that you will wear for at least several days to speed recovery time. Your doctor may also prescribe pain medication to deal with pain in the day or two after the procedure.
The swelling, bruising and numbness begin to disappear in about a week. Though you may need to take a few days off of work, you should be able to return to normal activity and work within a week.
Because the incisions are so small, the scars that may occur will also be quite small and not very noticeable.