What is a liposuction?
Liposuction is the procedure used to give your body a better shape by sucking fat from those unwanted places. In this surgery, we introduce suction cannulas into your problem areas to suck the fat out. With this, we can give shape to your body by achieving a flatter and more defined abdomen, a smaller waist, an arched back and in general get rid of those pesky fat deposits. Other areas that can be treated are the face, neck, arms and thighs.
There are two types of liposuction that we use. The conventional liposuction where we only use the cannulas, and the ultrasound (Vaser or Soring) Liposuction where ultrasound is used first inside the fat and then the regular cannula comes in to suck it out. Ultrasound liposuction melts the fat and scar fatty tissue so it can be extracted easier. This is why it´s ideal in patients who have already had liposuction before or patients with noticeable fibrosis (scar tissue in the fat). The heat produced from the ultrasound also has a roll in retracting the skin. Therefore it is also used in patients with mild skin excess. Conventional liposuction is ideal in patients who have never had liposuction before (don’t have scar tissue in their fat), have very little excess skin and/or want fat transfer to the buttocks. The fat that comes out with ultrasound is burnt and does not take as well.
Am I a candidate for this procedure?
Remember, liposuction is not for patients who are significantly overweight. It’s not a weight loss procedure. It’s a molding procedure. Therefore, if you are mildly to moderately overweight, with good skin quality and very little or no excess skin, liposuction is the procedure that can give you the body you´ve always wanted.
What do I need to know about this procedure?
The procedure can take 1 to 3 hours depending on what areas need to be liposuctioned. It´s always done under general anesthesia. Tiny 5 mm incisions are placed strategically to allow insertion of the cannulas. Before liposuction, fluid is injected in the fat. This fluid contains adrenaline, which helps to close the blood vessels, causing less bleeding during the procedure. A lot of this solution is applied which is why patients drain a lot through the incisions after surgery. It’s also why patients need drainage massages post-op.
Are there risks involved?
Every patient that goes into an operating room for surgery needs to be aware that risks do exist. However, complications in this specific procedure are extremely rare. Dr. Mejia will go over all the possible risks of this procedure with you during the initial consultation. It is very important that you are honest with Dr. Mejia about your medical history and habits for things to go as smooth as possible.
What is the aftercare like?
The patient should walk around after surgery to avoid the formation of blood clots. Special stockings to avoid blood clots should be worn for 7 days. You should notify Dr. Mejia if you feel shortness of breath or pain in the lower extremities, with one extremity more swollen than the other. Swelling of the feet, ankles and legs is normal as long as they are symmetrical and painless.
The day after surgery, the first shower should be supervised. Its normal for the patient to feel light headed or faint during the first shower. If the patient feels light headed, make sure she sits or lies down. If the patient faints, make sure she doesn’t get hurt and lay her down flat with the legs elevated until she recovers.
The post-op garment should be worn 24-7 for the first month. Since the skin is numb the first 2 weeks after liposuction, Dr. Mejia prefers soft, loose garments these first 15 days until the skin recovers the feeling. After 15 days post-op, tighter garments can be worn.
10 post-op massages are needed after surgery for proper drainage of the fluid. These begin the second day post-op. Fluid accumulation under the skin (seroma) is very common after liposuction. Drainage with a syringe might be needed. This is done by Dr. Mejia in the office.
Bruising is expected the first month after surgery. These can disappear faster with special creams that will be prescribed to you. Avoid sun exposure if there is bruising to the skin.
Regular activities can be started 7 days after surgery. Exercise can be started 2-3 weeks after surgery depending on how the patient feels.
Early fibrosis is a normal finding in all liposuctions. Your abdominal skin will look nice and regular, but you might feel hard nodules or hard fat under your skin. You can massage them on your own and they WILL disappear in 3-6 months. No need to spend money on expensive treatments. Early fibrosis is NORMAL.
The final result of a Liposuction can be seen after all the swelling disappears. In some patients this swelling can take 9-12 months. Swelling of the lower part of the abdomen usually takes the longest to come down. The results of a liposuction will be better if accompanied by healthy eating and exercising
How much downtime is there?
Patients can usually go back to their regular activities in 7-10 days after surgery.