Ideal Candidate For Liposuction Pittsburgh
Who is an ideal candidate?
At a basic level, anyone who has bodily features which makes them feel unattractive is a candidate for cosmetic surgery. Many people of all ages have an area they’re unhappy with, whether it’s loose, sagging skin on the neck or backs of the arm, a nose they’re not completely happy with, or asymmetrical facial features.
In the case of unwanted fat deposits the appropriate surgery is liposuction. As with any cosmetic procedure, meeting with your surgeon to determine realistic expectations is one of the most important parts of the process. Liposuction isn’t designed as a weight loss tool. It’s also only advisable on people in generally good health for whom diet and exercise haven’t worked. By discussing the potential benefits and limitations of the procedure you and your surgeon will determine how much improvement you can realistically expect given your individual situation.
In many cases, patients who aren’t satisfied with their final results had unrealistic expectations coming into their procedure. Many in this category also failed to follow their aftercare instructions, such as not smoking during the healing process or not wearing their compression garment.
What happens at my initial consultation?
A medical history is taken, and a focused examination of your problem area is performed. If you are indeed a good candidate for the type of surgery you’re considering, you’ll go over various options which may be able to help. A huge part of this initial encounter is developing realistic expectations: what you want has to line up with what your surgeon believes is actually possible.
What is liposuction surgery (suction-assisted lipoplasty)?
First and foremost, liposuction surgery is not a weight loss procedure. This fact can’t be overstated. When patients aren’t happy with the results, it’s usually because they had unrealistic expectations. This being said, it’s still a miraculous procedure: imagine a person completely losing their “middle aged guy” gut with a single procedure.
Good candidates are people who have a stable weight that’s about 7-10 lbs over their desired weight. They’re unhappy with specific, visible pockets of fat, such as those in the abdomen or buttocks.
The procedure can’t treat fatty changes of the skin, e.g. cellulite, nor can it remove stretch marks or dimples. This class of procedures is for precision sculpting, and the aim is to enhance the shape of the body. The aim of this procedure is purely aesthetic, and is not meant to treat obesity.
The results of liposuction are permanent, if the patient maintains a stable weight post-procedure. Once these fat deposits are gone they can’t come back, yet gaining unwanted fat in other areas is entirely possible. The amount of fat that can be removed is limited to about 3-4 liters (about 6-8 pounds), which can make all the difference in the world when done in the right area.
As with any surgical procedure, some risk is involved. However liposuction is regarded as very safe, and side effects are very rare and generally minor. Most common among these are infection, scarring, and lumpy, bumpy defects in the skin. A conservative approach is best, since the risks involved are directly related to the amount of fat removed.
When is liposuction used:
Liposuction surgery is done purely for cosmetic reasons. It’s not a weight loss tool, nor can it improve a person’s physical health in any way. It’s meant for people who are in overall good health who want to lose pockets of fat which won’t come off with diet and exercise alone. While almost anyone can elect to get liposuction, those with a healthy lifestyle including a good diet, exercise program, and sleep schedule usually get the best results.
When a patient gains weight, their fat cells are gaining volume. You won’t gain new fat cells, your old ones will simply expand. Liposuction is meant to remove isolated pockets of cells to improve the contour lines of the body and achieve a more desirable shape.
While liposuction is still a surgical procedure and must be considered carefully, it’s generally acknowledged to be both safe and highly effective. The proof is in the results, and most patients who undergo a liposuction procedure are happy with their new, improved shape. Patients commonly report greater self-confidence after their procedure.
These procedures are most commonly performed on the following regions of the body:The following body areas are commonly targeted for liposuction treatment. Note that several listed areas are fairly small, which has become possible with improvements in equipment and technique:
- Upper and Lower Abdomen
- Flanks (Love Handles)
- Thighs (Inner and Outer)
- Breast Pockets
- Bra Pockets
- With or without fat transfer to butt, breast, or face
How much does the average liposuction procedure cost?
In 2017 the American Society of Plastic Surgeons published a paper addressing many aspects of liposuction procedures. They reported that $3,374 was the cost of an average, single area liposuction. However, this report also details the many “hidden” fees associated with these procedures. Make sure to ask about any costs above the price of the surgery itself: in some cases they can add up to more than the surgeon’s fees! At the Advanced Liposuction Center, there will never be any hidden fees for your procedure. We quote a price up front, and stick to this quote. We provide you with everything you’ll need to start your self-care, including the compression garments and prescription medications if appropriate..
Regarding cost, experience matters. More established, experienced surgeons in areas with a high cost of living will almost always charge more.
Payment plans are usually available, but your health insurance is very, very unlikely to cover the cost of liposuction. Whether or not you pay in full or use financing, get all prices firmly set in writing.
Do liposuction procedures leave scars?
It’s a medical fact that incisions can’t be made without some scar formation. The goal of a skilled plastic or cosmetic surgeon then becomes how to minimize this scarring, and much of their training is geared towards this end. A commonly used technique is to make incisions along a pre-existing wrinkle, which will act as a form of camouflage. For abdominal Liposuction, fat is removed through the belly button, so there is no visible scar, with lower abdomen scar on hair lines or other low key areas. Several effective topical scar cream medications are also used to make any scars as invisible as possible. In most cases patients are ultimately satisfied with their low level of scarring after their incisions have healed.
Questions to ask at your liposuction consultation.
How do I prepare for this surgery?
The following apply to preparing for any type of lipo procedure:.
- Basic blood work and labs to establish fitness for surgery.
- Temporarily discontinuing medications such as blood thinners, and taking a short course of antibiotics to prevent infection.
- Stopping tobacco use..
- For the week prior to your procedure, don’t take any NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as aspirin and Motrin (ibuprofen). These are surprisingly potent blood thinners and can contribute to excessive bleeding.
Modern liposuction techniques are minimally invasive, but they’re still surgery. They must be performed in well-equipped office based surgical suites, ambulatory surgery centers, or hospitals (if general anesthesia is needed).
You’ll need to bring a driver with you, as it’s quite possible you’ll be too sedated to drive home safely. It’s also highly recommended that someone stay with you for the first day after your surgery, just in case. Better safe than sorry.
Performing liposuction surgery.
These steps are common to all types of liposuction, being performed on any region of the body:
Step 1 – Pain management and anesthesia.
Anesthesia is a core component of a liposuction procedure. A variety of methods are used to insure patient comfort, including local injectable anesthetics such as lidocaine, general anesthesia (being “put under”), and prescription and non-prescription pain medications. Oral and intravenous sedation are often used, but in the majority of liposuction surgeries being performed today only local anesthesia is being used, so some level of sedation is desired. All of this ensures that the patient feels no pain during the surgery, and only minimal pain during the recovery phase.
Step 2 – Making entry incisions.
The techniques being used today are very minimally invasive. Only very small (about one inch) incisions are needed to access unwanted fat deposits, and these are made in existing skin creases whenever possible to camouflage them.
Most current techniques use what is known as the tumescent technique. Large amounts of saline solution containing highly diluted local anesthetic is pumped into the area, adding firmness and plumpness to the area. This loosens the fat prior to removal, and also acts as pain control. Although the anesthetic is highly diluted, a great deal of fluid is used, resulting in total anesthesia of the region.
The actual suctioning away of unwanted fat is done via long, thin tubes known as cannulae. These are attached to a surgical vacuum, and fat is sucked into an opening of the cannula and out of the body into a collection bag. During the procedure, these thin vacuum probes are swept in a back and forth motion to dislodge fat from the surrounding tissue.
Step 3 – Your final results.
Liposuction is a surgery, so some amount of bruising, swelling, and pain is unavoidable. The worst of this subsides within 3-7 days, and you can begin to evaluate your results. As your tissues heal and mold to your new contours, you’ll continue to see improvement for up to 6 months.
How long will it take for me to recuperate? What will this period be like?
Immediately after your surgery, you’ll have to wear a customized compression garment. This highly resembles a “body sock” if you’ve had abdominal, back, or flank liposuction. Other areas have their own garment type, but in all cases they provide gently, steady compression.
The purpose of this is twofold. First, this steady level of pressure helps reduce swelling and fluid retention. Secondly, and most importantly, it holds the skin in place as it adjusts to your body’s new, improved contours.
Drainage holes are sometimes needed, and these are placed directly adjacent to your healing access incisions. Much as it sounds, these help excess fluid leave the healing treatment site.
Then you’ll have your “homework,” a detailed set of aftercare instructions. Key components of all aftercare protocols include:
- Proper, hygienic care of your healing access incisions and drainage holes.
- Self monitoring for signs of infection or impaired healing
- When and if you need to take a short course of antibiotics as a “just in case” measure.
- When you’ll come back for your follow-up appointments. Even if you look and feel fine, make sure you show up for these appointments.
Good aftercare helps ensure great results. If you’ve got questions ask them: that’s what the staff at your surgeon’s office is for. It’s important that you understand exactly what to do at every stage of your healing process. Consider the following:
- Will I spend any time being observed in a recovery room?
- What type of dressings should I apply to my incision sites? How long should I wear them?
- How long will I have to wear my compression garment? How will I shower?
- Do I need to take any medications after my procedure, such as antibiotics?
- How long will I be out of commission? When can I return to work? When can I return to strenuous exercise?
- Were dissolving sutures used, or will I need to return for a stitch removal visit?
- When should I come in for a follow up visit?
For most patients, there is some level of swelling for about 2 months after their procedure. As this swelling subsides, your new contours and body shape will come into focus. At 4-6 months out, you’ll see the full, final results of your surgery. As long as realistic expectations were set, almost all patients are thrilled with the results and experience a surge of self-confidence.