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Liposuction, often referred to simply as “Lipo” is a process that is designed slim and reshape areas of your body by removing excess fat, thereby improving your body’s shape and contour. Common areas to have Liposuction performed are the arms, thighs, buttocks, waist, abdomen, hips and the neck. Although some opt for other areas and just about any area is a candidate for Lipo, those are the most common. If you’re considering a Liposuction, surgeons are the single best source of information based on your specific situation but the below information should give you a good head start.
Liposuction is intended and is very effective at removing bulges of fat that diet and exercise do not have an impact on. Bear in mind that liposuction removes only fat – it does not remove cellulite.
Are you a good candidate for Liposuction?
For the most part, surgeons work with those who are slightly above average weight and have firm, elastic skin. Good overall health is an important factor as well to ensure a complete recovery. Age is typically not a factor as long as the previous considerations are accounted for.
Liposuction is the most commonly performed plastic surgery procedure and, as such, has evolved more than any other over the years to the point where there are various surgical and non-surgical procedures to be aware of. Most surgeons group them all into “awake” and “not awake” procedures to keep it simple. The overriding recommendation is to research and find a surgeon you are comfortable with and then discuss the procedure with them until you are 100% satisfied with their answers and 100% comfortable with the surgeon, the staff and the facility.
“Awake” Liposuction (local anesthesia): This is the most common as well as the most highly recommended type of procedure due to the safety as well as the cost. It’s far less expensive and less costly to not undergo anesthesia and the results are comparable.
“Not Awake” Liposuction (general anesthesia): Liposuction under general anesthesia should be done only for unusual situations as this is more costly, more dangerous and often requires an overnight stay.
When liposuction first came on the market, the process involved using ultrasound machines to break up the fat and then that fat was sucked out of the body. Eventually, as technology and surgical knowledge increased, new machines came on the market. Today’s Laser Liposuction is a good example of progress made in this area but, as experts caution, even the best machine in the wrong hands will do more harm than good. So again, we’re back to researching and finding the right surgeon. Base your decision on the surgeon, not on the procedure or machines they use.
Common Liposuction Methods
The first liposuction procedure of eliminating the excess fat tissues from the body was first done in 1977, which is the initial tumescent technique. This method entails the infiltration of large fluid volumes that contain diluted medicine. The medicine used is epinephrine and lidocaine, which are diluted into the fat deposits before performing the procedure. The medicine is used to make the area numb and facilitate liposuction. It also helps to limit the bruising and bleeding chances as the procedure is performed.
When the liquid is injected into the body, it will cause the blood vessels to constrict and shrink down. The medicine is also called the wetting solution. When the blood vessels have shrunk, the patient will experience less pain, and there will be less blood flowing. This helps to limit the loss of blood when the fat tissues are sucked out.
Many surgeons suggest that this method is the safest of all the others, and it is also the most effective technique. The saline solution helps to split the fat from the muscle tissues. This is done via compartments that make the fat to swell and be firm. When the fat tissue is swollen and firm, elimination becomes easier. This also limits the loss of blood, making it very effective. Since it involves the injection of the saline solution, it will take longer to complete the solution.
Power-Assisted Liposuction (PAL)
In this method, the elimination of the excess fat tissues is done using a powered cannula, which then offers small, rapid vibrations of about five-thousand times in a minute. The waves will be produced from the tip of the powered cannula. With this, the doctor can eliminate the fat with controlled and accurate motions. It is gentle, and the vibrations are meant to break down the fat cells for easier elimination. Since the fat cells are broken down, it allows more fat to be eliminated, compared to the traditional method. It is also a faster method than the other techniques and causes less discomfort to the patient. This method is usually meant for the difficult areas like the belly button, male breasts, and the inner thighs.
Ultra Assisted Liposuction (UAL)
This method transfers energy via a special hand piece that helps to melt the fat tissues and loosen them. When the fat tissues are melted, it will be easier to remove them in large amounts. It is the best method for male patients, large areas, and areas with dense fat. The method involves using ultrasonic energy waves through a cannula. The high-pitched sound waves are used to break up the fat tissues and melt them. After that, the fat is then eliminated using the traditional method.
The method is mostly used after the tumescent liposuction, as a method to make the entire surgery accurate. With the ultra assisted liposuction, it helps to make the skin tighter and eliminate the baggy or excess skin around the body and the tummy tucks. However, this procedure takes longer than the regular liposuction.
Before suction, ultrasonic energy is applied to melt the fat and make it easier to remove. The ultrasound cannula is then inserted through the cuts in the skin. This is done after the infiltration of the tumescent fluid. When the fluid is added, the cannula is then inserted through the skin to transmit vibrations and break down the fat cell membranes. This makes it easier to transport the fat molecules from the body using the technique.
How much does Liposuction cost?
The costs for Liposuction varies depending on what exactly you need done, where you are, and what surgeon will be performing your procedure. Take a look at our cost estimator for some quick idea. Regardless, the cost of Liposuction and other plastic surgery fees can be broken down as shown below. Bear in mind that if you choose the “awake” or “not awake” procedure, you fees will require more or less of the below items.
- Surgeon Fee: This is the amount the surgeon charges for doing the procedure and will vary widely depending your location and the surgeon. Typically, a more experienced and well-known surgeon will command a higher price. With the recent advent of television shows popularizing Plastic Surgery, some surgeon’s fees have increased dramatically.
- Anesthesia Fee: Depending on the service performed and by how, this anesthesia fee can vary quite a bit. A board certified MD Anesthesiologist will charge much more than a non-certified nurse. Bear in mind that anesthesia is a critical part of the process and paying extra to ensure a fully qualified and experienced anesthesiologist is handling your procedure is money very well spent.
- Facility Fee: Depending on if the procedure is performed in the doctor’s office or a hospital, for example, will determine the Facility Costs associated with the procedure.
- Accessories: Items that will add to the comfort for the patient but aren’t necessary for the procedure itself fall into this category and they can add up. Items like a pain pump or Exparol Injections for 72 hours of surgical site numbing may show up on your estimate and you should understand what they are and be ready to speak with your surgeon about them.
- Revision: Revision, or follow up surgery, is usually discounted if you go back to the same surgeon and is a very common practice for both surgeons and patients. Usually, patients who get one procedure often go back for revisions as well as additional procedures.
- Add-on Surgeries: Having multiple procedures simultaneously usually lowers the cost as compared to having them separately – hence the popularity of the Mommy Makeover where multiple cosmetic surgeries are performed at the same time.
- Insurance: If a procedure that is covered by insurance is performed at the same time as the cosmetic procedure, the costs can be lowered. For example, repairing a hernia at the same time as a Tummy Tuck can result is paying less out of pocket as the insurance may cover much of the facility, anesthesiologist and over fees.
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