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What Is Liposuction

brief intro to liposuction:

Pittsburgh Liposuction is an enormously popular procedure, and with good reason. It’s approach is direct and effective: physically remove unwanted fat to achieve improved body shape and contours. In the past decade, liposuction has become less and less invasive and extremely precise, and now almost any body part is fair game. The mantra of “if you can pinch it, we can fix it” holds true now more than ever before.

It’s an unfortunate fact that some people have fat deposits which they can’t get rid of with diet and exercise. The reasons are many, with heredity perhaps playing the largest role. Regardless of the reason, many people, especially those above 30, are choosing to permanently address the problem with liposuction. With today’s techniques, almost any area can be treated, even small areas like under the chin and the backs of the arms. Right now, the most commonly treated areas are the abdomen, flanks (love handles, thighs, and buttocks. Also be advised: liposuction is highly effective at removing fat deposits, but can’t treat cellulite.

What does a good liposuction candidate look like?

First and foremost, a patient must have realistic expectations about what the procedure can accomplish. Other qualities of a good candidate include:

  • Not obese or very overweight. Liposuction isn’t a weight loss procedure.
  • Healthy, flexible, firm skin.
  • In good overall health, preferably without chronic systemic diseases.
  • It’s best if a patient make a concerted effort at eating a reasonable diet and exercising. These isolated pockets of resistant fat can then be removed.

Good lipo candidates have healthy skin. In the case of cellulite, irregularities may emerge after the surgery if the underlying fat is overcorrected or undercorrected, and results tend to be sub par. Also, while age isn’t a factor in and of itself, older adults generally have thinner, less elastic skin and therefore may not achieve optimal results.


What should I know before considering liposuction IN PITTSBURGH?

The first step in the liposuction process is always a consultation with your plastic or cosmetic surgeon. You’ll discuss what you want to accomplish, whether or not this is feasible, and which treatment options will best accomplish what you want to achieve. A medical history will be taken, followed by a physical examination. Your surgeon will go over any possible risks, and the office staff will draw up a price proposal for your procedure (or procedures). If you’ve got questions now is the time to ask: in fact it’s often best to bring in a list of questions so you’ll remember to ask everything.

Once you decide to follow through with the procedure, you’ll be given preparatory instructions to ensure that you’ll be ready for your actual appointment. Usually these include some length of calorie restriction, alcohol intake restriction. Also some medications may need to be temporarily discontinued (example: blood thinners), while others need to be started before treatment (example: antibiotics). You’ll need to tell your doctor about any medication you’re taking, and any drug allergies you may have. Note: even over the counter drugs and dietary supplements can make a difference. For example, anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen thin the blood and must not be taken for several days prior to your appointment.

How are these procedures performed?

Today, many liposuction surgeries are performed as outpatient procedures, and indeed many are performed in your surgeon’s office. Ambulatory surgical centers are also a safe and convenient option. If large amounts of fat are being removed, or if the patient has pre-existing conditions which may complicate the procedure, then the surgery will almost certainly be performed in a hospital.

In all cases you’ll be given anesthesia for pain control during the procedure. Many times only local anesthetics and oral sedative drugs are needed, meaning that the patient is awake for the procedure. This is the safest option, since general anesthesia will always carry some level of risk. If large amounts of fat are being removed, this will require general anesthesia and the services of a board certified anesthesiologist.

Once the patient is properly anesthetized the procedure can begin. Small access incisions are made, and thin surgical tubes known as cannula are inserted into the pockets of fat which will be removed. At this point, a vacuum pump is used to suction the fat out of the body. How long this takes is a direct function of how much fat is being removed.

Liposuction Techniques

Although the basic elements of minimally invasive liposuction remain the same for all procedures. There are, however, two distinctly different techniques being used today by most surgeons.

  • Tumescent technique: this technique is very efficient and precise, and is used to perform the majority of procedures being done across the country and the world. Large amounts of saline solution mixed with highly diluted anesthetic such as lidocaine are injected into the fatty deposits of your problem area. This accomplishes two things: the first and most obvious is pain control. Even though this solution is dilute, the sheer volume of fluid ensures complete local anesthesia. This fluid also plumps up these pockets of fat, gently lifting them away from the surrounding tissue. By preparing the area in this way, the fat can be suctioned away much more gently, with minimal damage to structures such as blood vessels and connective tissue bands. The fluid mixture also contains very small amounts of epinephrine (adrenaline), which causes blood vessels to contract, thus minimizing blood loss.
  • Ultrasound-assisted technique: A specialized probe vibrating at a very high ultrasonic frequency is used to liquify fat prior to removal. This process isn’t as gentle as tumescent technique, but is very good at removing hard to reach fat deposits.

How Long Will My Recovery Period Be?

Since most liposuction procedures nowadays are very non-invasive, the recovery period is surprisingly short. Also, most of these procedures are done in an outpatient setting using only local anesthesia, so no hospital stay is needed.

The majority of patients have only 2-3 days of true downtime. After this, they can return to work (if the work isn’t physically stressful), and more vigorous activities can be resumed within 2-3 weeks. At this point, providing that the patients is healing normally, they can resume all activities without restriction.

Some amount of bruising and swelling is unavoidable, and occurs in direct proportion to the volume of fat removed. When this subsides, you’ll be left to enjoy your new body shape and contour lines. Simply follow the aftercare instructions given to you by your surgeon’s office and you’ll be back to your normal routine in no time.

Are Liposuction Results Permanent?

When fat cells are removed, they’re gone for good. If you put on additional fat deposits, they’re not likely to be in the area your liposuction was performed in. This being said, it’s still very possible to gain weight after your procedure, it will simply concentrate in different areas. In order to make the most of your investment you’ll need to adopt a sensible diet and exercise plan.

Are There Risks Involved?

Any type of surgery, however non-invasive, carries with it some risk. In the case of liposuction, this risk is minimal. When performed by a skilled, board certified surgeon with a trained surgical staff using modern equipment liposuction is regarded as extremely safe. Adverse reactions are rare, but certain types of skin discoloration and even infection have been known to occur in rare cases. Conservative treatment is the key to minimizing risk: this means avoiding lengthy operating times, and not removing excessive amounts of fat.

Will My Insurance Cover This Procedure?

The short answer is no, because liposuction is a cosmetic procedure. Most patients opt for third-party financing such as Care Credit, or make payment plan arrangements with the surgeon’s office.


The following checklist is designed to help you prepare for your consultation. It covers all aspects of the procedure you’re considering, from expectations to after-care.

  • What are your certifications? Are you a member of the American Board of Plastic Surgery or other such organizations?
  • What was your surgical training? Were you specifically instructed in plastic or cosmetic surgery?
  • If so, how many years was this training period?
  • Do you hold any hospital privileges? If yes, at which facilities?
  • If you have an office-based surgical suite, is it nationally or state accredited? Is your facility Medicare Certified?
  • Who is an ideal candidate for this type of procedure?
  • What are my responsibilities in achieving good results? What will my at-home aftercare be like?
  • What techniques will you use to perform the procedure?
  • What will my recovery be like? How much downtime can I expect, and what kind of help will I need while I’m recuperating?
  • What are the risks involved? What are the potential complications and adverse reactions?
  • How severe can these complications be, and how are they treated?
  • As time passes, what are my results likely to look like? How are they likely to hold up?
  • If my expectations aren’t met, what are my options?
  • Do you have a portfolio of before and after pictures

Where are most liposuction surgeries done?

Liposuction surgeries are often performed in an outpatient setting, either in a private practice surgical facility or an ambulatory surgical center. In the case of the office-based surgical suite, only local anesthetic is usually needed, which means that the services of an anesthesiologist won’t be necessary. Local anesthesia is also used at many surgical centers, yet many have the capacity for general anesthesia if needed. Liposuction is generally only performed in an inpatient hospital environment if general anesthesia will be necessary, i.e. being “put under. In all cases, these facilities should be nationally or state accredited.

Recovering After Liposuction Surgery

Keep a Healthy Weight After Your Procedure

1 Maintain a sensible weight. Liposuction removes fat cells for good. What it won’t do is safeguard you against weight gain in the future. If a patient does gain weight in the months and years following their procedure, it’s likely to be in a different area, which is essentially trading one problem area for another.

    • Aim to maintain a steady weight. If you had reached a point where isolated exercise resistant pockets of fat were your only issue then this shouldn’t be overly difficult.
    • There’s no substitute for a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise is a key component of maintaining an appropriate body weight.


.2 Eat a nutritious diet with the right amount of calories .

This is the second major factor in maintaining a healthy weight. Eat a well balanced diet: many people don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, meaning they’re probably not getting enough vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Keep a good balance between carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, and eat meals at regular times. Avoid eating late in the day (within 3 hours of the time you go to sleep), as this is known to contribute to weight gain.

    • Depending on your size and activity level, eat between 1,900 and 2,100 calories a day.
    • Eat a varied diet, focusing on the five food groups.These are grains, fruits, vegetables, protein, and dairy.
    • For optimal health, you should aim for about 1.5 cups of fruit every day. This can come from any whole fruit: blueberries, apples, pineapple, mangos, or any other fruit available at your grocery store. Even so, some fruits are healthier than others. Brightly colored berries such as blueberries are nutrient and antioxidant rich, while fruits such as grapes contain high amounts of sugar and aren’t nutrient dense. Drink fruit juice in moderation. It’s got all the sugar yet none of the fiber of whole fruit.
    • 3 or more cups of vegetables a day are also part of the ideal diet. Again, certain vegetables are healthier than others. For example vegetables in the broccoli family, which also includes cauliflower and cabbage, are particularly nutrient dense. Vegetables such as iceberg lettuce and celery, however, have far fewer nutrients. They’re not bad for you, but there are certainly better choices. Be sure to eat a variety of vegetables to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients you need.
    • Much of the fiber in your diet comes from fruit and vegetables. Not only is fiber essential for digestive health, it also helps you feel full.
    • Carbohydrates have gotten a lot of bad press lately, but for most people they’re completely healthy. In fact, most people around the world get the majority of their calories from carbohydrates. Choose whole grains foods such as 100% whole grain bread, brown rice, and whole wheat pasta. Another excellent choice is oatmeal: oats are a whole grain, and are especially nutritious. Along with fruits and vegetables, whole grains are an excellent source of fiber.
    • Adequate protein intake is critical for good health. Eat about 6 ounces of high quality, lean proteins such as pork, beef, poultry, eggs, nuts (including peanut butter), fish, and other seafood. An often overlooked source of protein are beans. These are incredibly rich in nutrients and fiber, and are great sources of protein and carbohydrates as well.
    • For many people dairy products are their biggest source of calcium and essential nutrients such as vitamin D and A. This is largely why dairy is considered a separate food group. In addition, milk based foods also contain lots of high quality protein. Live culture yogurt is an extremely healthy choice, since it contains probiotic bacteria which aid in digestion and gut health.
    • Limit salt intake for cardiovascular health. High blood pressure is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease, and excessive salt intake is the leading factor which contributes to it. Be aware of how much salt is in your food even before you season it. Many processed foods, including canned foods, are very high in sodium, with some containing more than half of the recommended daily intake per serving.

3 Limit unhealthy foods.

It might seem obvious, but if you’re trying to maintain a healthy weight then avoid junk food. Typically these are highly processed foods with contain lots of “empty calories,” meaning they’re calorie rich but nutrient poor. Obvious culprits are foods like candy bars and potato chips as well as greasy fast food such as burgers and pizza.

    • Refined starches such as white wheat flour, white rice, and potatoes should be eaten in moderation. When digested, they quickly break down into sugar. Dietarily, such refined carbohydrates are exactly equivalent to sugar on a gram for gram basis.
    • Which brings us to sugar itself. Refined sugar, e.g. common table sugar, is converted into fat by the body very easily. Also, as with salt, it’s often hidden in processed foods. Sugar will never fill you up, has calories but absolutely no nutrients, and is easily stored as fat. Read labels, and try to eat as little sugar as possible. There is even emerging research that a diet high in sugar raises a person’s risk of heart disease

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