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. This method is not typically utilized as a weight loss technique, but rather, liposuction is designed to target and shape specific troublesome areas.

What Areas of the Body Can Liposuction Treat?

Liposuction can be performed on the abdomen, thighs, chest, arms, chin, and posterior (back) waist. When you see our board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. David L. Durst, about a liposuction procedure, he will examine you and ask about your goals to find out your specific area(s) of concern. Generally, these are regions that you may not have been able to shape with dieting and regular exercise. Many of these troublesome areas are genetically determined and simply cannot be improved despite hard work.

For these concerns, liposuction can be very helpful in helping you achieve your aesthetic goals.
After examining you, Dr. Durst will suggest which area(s) would benefit most from the liposuction procedure. Sometimes, areas that you may have not noticed should be considered to achieve a natural-looking balance. Many patients may only need one region treated, while others may desire more. Additionally, liposuction often can be accomplished in combination with a tummy tuck or lower body lift for a more transformative outcome.

Who is a Candidate For Liposuction?

Liposuction can help men and women smooth fat bulges in almost any region of the body, but the procedure should not be considered an effective technique to achieve weight loss. The procedure is usually most successful for patients who:

  • Are at or near their ideal weight
  • Have good skin tone and little to no skin laxity
  • Do not have any infections or uncontrolled medical conditions

When considering any type of cosmetic surgery, you should also be in good enough health to withstand the recovery process and maintain realistic expectations of your goals for the outcome. Our before-and-after photos can provide a good idea of the results typically achieved with Dr. Durst at the Cosmetic Surgery Center of Huntsville.

Liposuction vs. Tummy Tuck

Liposuction and tummy tuck surgery are both popular treatment options for patients who wish to improve their abdomen. However, these body contouring procedures are designed to address different concerns: liposuction is performed to target excess abdominal fat, while a tummy tuck is usually pursued to correct the skin and musculature.

For some patients—especially those who have undergone pregnancy or massive weight loss—the muscles and skin of the abdominal area can stretch with age, often causing the abdomen to hang or protrude outward. A tummy tuck is usually the best solution to treat these concerns, although liposuction can be added to a tummy tuck treatment plan if there is also redundant fat in the region. In contrast, liposuction is solely intended to suction out excess fat. The procedure alone is not designed to tighten sagging skin or separated abdominal muscles, therefore it can be much less invasive when compared to tummy tuck surgery. A good rule of thumb when determining the best procedure for your goals is to assess whether you experience loose/sagging abdominal skin. In most cases, the presence of excess skin may indicate the need for a tummy tuck. At any rate, Dr. Durst can evaluate your concerns during a consultation and recommend the most optimal treatments to achieve your desired look.

Chin and Neck Liposuction

Stubborn fat pockets often don’t reside around the body exclusively. Excess fat may also affect a person’s facial appearance, with isolated fatty deposits sometimes appearing under the chin and along the jawline as well. If you would like to improve a “double chin,” liposuction can be utilized in the neck/submental area to gain a more defined jawline and facial profile. This form of facial contouring can provide a sleeker, slimmer look for individuals who are struggling to reduce fatty deposits under the chin. Best of all, the chin liposuction procedure uses inconspicuous incisions placed in the natural contours around the neck, offering virtually immediate results that can look natural.

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. Rarely, liposuction treatments can be completed under local anesthesia on an outpatient basis, but these procedures usually target fairly small areas. Most liposuction procedures will be performed under general anesthesia so fat can be comprehensively contoured. They are typically performed 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 with minimal 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 exercise like walking can begin a couple of weeks after the procedure, and heavier exercise can commence 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, so it’s usually the case that the fat does not return to the previously treated area.

Will I Have Scars From Liposuction?

The incisions used to remove fat during liposuction are very small, so patients typically experience little to no visible scarring after the procedure. Special care will be given to place incisions within the natural lines and contours of the body to further conceal minor scarring, which should fade somewhat over time.

What are the Risks of Liposuction?

While liposuction is considered a fairly predictable and straightforward procedure, all elective surgeries generally involve some degree of risk. In the rare event of complication, the risks associated with liposuction include uneven contours, issues caused by anesthesia, changes in skin sensation, skin rippling, and infection, among others. These outcomes are unlikely, nevertheless it is critical to enlist a board-certified plastic surgeon to help ensure the safety of your procedure. Those who have been accredited by the American Board of Plastic Surgery earn this distinction by demonstrating an advanced level of training in a spectrum of aesthetic surgeries. Therefore, board certification can give you the confidence of knowing your liposuction surgeon has been properly trained and upholds high standards of safety and patient care.

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.

Are There Any Alternatives to Liposuction?

Although CoolSculpting® is gaining popularity as a non-surgical method of fat removal, liposuction remains the most effective treatment to eliminate pockets of excess fat around the body. Liposuction not only allows more versatility in the areas treated, but the technique can also remove a larger amount of excess fat. Dr. Durst’s VASER® ultrasound-assisted liposuction procedure can remove up to 80 percent of fat in a given area, while CoolSculpting® usually does not surpass 20 to 30 percent of fat removal. Furthermore, the results achieved from liposuction are almost immediately apparent, giving patients the opportunity to enjoy their new contours not long after their surgery. This differs from the results typical of CoolSculpting®, which usually unfold after a period of months.

All in all, our team believes liposuction can provide patients with the most convenient treatment experience, as well as the most effective results for selective fat removal. If you have any questions or concerns about the procedure, or if you are unsure which treatment can best address your concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our practice.

Additional Liposuction FAQs

How do I prepare for liposuction surgery?

Although liposuction is a relatively less invasive procedure compared to other cosmetic surgeries, treatment still requires patients to stop smoking for several weeks before and after the procedure. Smoking restricts oxygen flow to other areas of the body and can greatly interfere with the body’s natural healing process. Furthermore, smoking has shown to increase the risk of surgical complications, such as infection and poor wound healing.

In addition to abstaining from tobacco and certain other medications, it’s generally recommended that patients be near the ideal weight. The results of liposuction and other body contouring procedures are generally superior when an individual is within 30 percent of their healthy weight range, so it can be beneficial to lose any excess weight before undergoing surgery. Since most procedures are performed under general anesthesia, you will likely be advised to arrange a ride home from a friend or loved one.

Can you lose weight with liposuction?

Although liposuction can remove excess fat deposits from the body, the actual amount of weight lost during the procedure is minimal. This body contouring surgery is moreso designed to sculpt areas affected by stubborn fat bulges, leaving behind a slimmer and smoother look in the treated region(s). As such, shedding weight is not a primary goal of liposuction. If your goals are more geared towards weight loss, Dr. Durst recommends pursuing bariatric solutions before liposuction to obtain the highest quality of results.

Is liposuction safe?

Liposuction is one of the most heavily researched and frequently performed cosmetic procedures in the world. As a fat removal technique that has been utilized for decades, liposuction has a plethora of clinical results to support its success and effectiveness in shaping areas of stubborn fat. That said, liposuction is considered a very safe and predictable surgery when performed by a well-qualified aesthetic surgeon. Still, the importance of selecting an experienced provider to perform liposuction should not be understated. We encourage you to seek out a board-certified plastic surgeon (accredited by the American Board of Plastic Surgery) when planning your procedure, as these physicians have attained the highest level of post-graduate training in aesthetic surgeries such as liposuction and abdominoplasty.

How much fat can be removed in a single procedure?

Traditionally, the maximum amount of fat that could be safely removed during a single liposuction procedure was approximately 8 to 11 pounds, as recommended by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). However, more recent research has indicated that an individual’s body weight, BMI, and other factors unique to each patient should ultimately determine the largest volume of fat removal possible for each procedure. Dr. Durst customizes each liposuction surgery for each patient and can provide personalized guidance on how much fat should be removed for your unique needs and goals.

How old do you have to be to get liposuction?

As an elective cosmetic procedure, patients interested in liposuction should be at least 18 years old. A positive outlook on surgery and a mature mindset regarding what liposuction can realistically achieve are key to patient satisfaction after the procedure. Additionally, those considering liposuction should have a positive self-image overall and merely wish to reshape areas of the body unresponsive to dieting and exercise.

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 our staff at (256) 881-4200 to schedule your consultation and examination.