What Is Liposuction?

body5 copyLiposuction, often called lipoplasty, describes a group of procedures that are utilized as a component of “body contouring.” Specifically, liposuction involves the removal of fat from underneath the skin to help sculpt an area, but this method typically is not utilized as a weight loss technique. It targets specific troublesome areas that you may have to help shape your appearance.

What Areas of the Body Can Liposuction Treat?

When you see our board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. David L. Durst, about a liposuction procedure, he will examine and interview you to find out what your specific areas of concern are. Generally, these are areas that you have not been able to shape up with dieting and regular exercise. Many of these troublesome areas are genetically determined and simply cannot be improved despite your hard work. In that situation, liposuction can be very helpful for helping you achieve your aesthetic goals.

After examining you, Dr. Durst will suggest which areas would benefit the most from the liposuction procedure. Sometimes, areas that you may have not noticed should be considered to achieve a natural-looking balance. Liposuction can be performed on the abdomen, thighs, calves, arms, chin, and posterior (back) waist. Many patients may only need one area done, and others may need more. Additionally, liposuction often can be accomplished in combination with a tummy tuck or facelift for a more transformative outcome.

How Is the Liposuction Procedure Performed?

After Dr. Durst has outlined a treatment plan for you, he will detail the specifics of your surgical procedure. Some liposuction treatments can be accomplished under local anesthesia on an outpatient basis, but these usually are fairly small target areas. Most liposuction procedures will be performed under general anesthesia so the fat can be comprehensively contoured. The procedures typically will be on an outpatient basis and involve very small incisions. Through these openings, Dr. Durst suctions away the excess fat cells, creating a more toned body contour.

VASER® Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction

Dr. Durst performs a particular type of liposuction called VASER® ultrasound-assisted liposuction. This technique utilizes ultrasonic energy to help gently break up the fat so that it can be more smoothly removed. The process begins with a tumescent saline solution that is used to fill the target area. Ultrasonic energy is then guided throughout the area to loosen the fatty tissue, which is then carefully removed through a narrow tube (cannula). With this VASER® method, the liposuction treatment can be better customized to address small or large target areas without causing any damage to the surrounding tissues.

Depending on the extent of the patient’s needs, the VASER® liposuction procedure can take anywhere from one hour to several hours to complete. More specific details about your liposuction procedure will be discussed with you during your consultation, allowing you to make an informed decision about your care as well as to help you know what to expect at each stage of the process.

What Is Liposuction Recovery Like?

By utilizing VASER® ultrasound-assisted liposuction, Dr. Durst believes this generally results in less bruising and discomfort for the patient as well as a more “even” removal of the fat. Afterward, you will wear a special compression garment for several weeks to help manage post-operative swelling. Most patients are up and about on the day of their surgery, and discomfort can be controlled with prescriptions that Dr. Durst will provide. Patients can typically return to work after about one week.

Early on, the results are difficult to see due to swelling. Most patients should start to see an improvement after a couple of weeks, and then by six weeks after surgery, the results often will be quite dramatic. Light exercising by walking can be begun a couple of weeks after the procedure, and then heavier exercise can be started after several weeks. To preserve liposuction results long term, it is important to maintain one’s physical fitness and body weight.

Are Liposuction Results Permanent?

Patients often ask Dr. Durst if the results from liposuction are permanent. In general, the answer to this question is yes. If a patient keeps their weight fairly stable and maintains a good overall fitness level, the results can last many, many years. When patients do gain or lose weight in the future, the changes tend to be proportional with the rest of their body, and so it does not seem that the fat is coming back in the area that was previously treated.

How Much Does Liposuction Cost?

Since each liposuction procedure is customized to the unique needs of the patient, the total cost will vary from case to case. There are multiple factors that may affect how much you can expect to pay, such as the number of areas being treated and the extent of your fat removal needs. On average, the total price range of VASER® ultrasound-assisted liposuction is $3,000 to $7,000. Patients will receive a more personalized cost estimate at the time of their consultation, when Dr. Durst has had the opportunity to determine their candidacy and the specifics of their treatment plan. If you would like to learn about our plastic surgery financing options to help make your total cost fit more comfortably within your budget, one of our knowledgeable staff members can help you get started.

At the Cosmetic Surgery Center of Huntsville, Dr. Durst has found that patients are extremely happy with their liposuction procedures. If you are frustrated with the results of your diet and exercise program and think that liposuction may be what you need to achieve your dream body, please contact Julie at (256) 881-4200 to schedule your consultation and examination.