Liposuction is utilized to thin and flatten areas of fat deposits (the pooch, muffin top, saddle bag, rolls etc.). It is a common plastic surgery procedure that is performed through small incisions which can be hidden in skin folds and creases.
- Liposuction is ideally performed on isolated fat deposits that are difficult to reduce with diet and exercise. These are typically your “problem” areas.
There are numerous non-invasive modalities of body contouring, including cutaneous thermal energy (Zeltic CoolSculpting®, Venus Freeze®), radiofrequency (Thermage®), and laser light energy (Zerona®), but for an effective result most patients with good skin tone may benefit from liposuction.
There are numerous types of liposuction including:
- Suction Assisted Liposuction (SAL) breaks up fat and suctions it out through varying sizes of perforated long hollow tubes called cannulas. SAL is typically a component of each other type of liposuction technique.
- Power Assisted Liposuction (PAL) utilizes a vibrating tip to help break up fat and it is suction through the same cannula.
- Water Assisted Liposuction (WAL) utilizes sterile saline spray to help break up fat deposits commonly recycled for fat injections in the same patient.
- Ultrasound Assisted Liposuction (UAL) utilizes ultrasound energy to help heat and destroy fat cells which are then suction through SAL technique.
- Laser Assisted Liposuction (LAL) utilizes laser light energy to help heat and destroy fat cells which are then suction through SAL technique.
Recovery from liposuction generally is related to the amount of liposuction performed (total volume of fluid in and out) and the area(s) treated. The method of liposuction really has no bearing on recovery if the amount removed is equivalent. Recovery from liposuction may be related to the size of cannula used to suction the fat with the larger cannula being more traumatic to the tissues, and maybe leading to more inflammation and bruising.
- Laser assisted liposuction applies laser energy to the fat and then follows it with standard suction assisted liposuction(SAL). In these procedures, the rate limiting step in recovery is the SAL and operators may have a tendency to be less aggressive with this component, which may relate to the proposed quicker recovery.
It takes generally 3 weeks until most bruising and the majority of noticeable swelling resolves after the procedure. Areas of liposuction after this may still be firm and have palpable “lumpiness” which represents internally scarring which softens over time. The port sites or small incisions heal after the first week, but may have persistent redness just like any scar. Sometimes scar care help alleviate this redness, but it resolves on its own.
- Compression garments help to reduce swelling and bruising in the areas of liposuction and are commonly applied at all times for up to 3 weeks and then often used under clothing for about another 3 weeks.
- Liposuction recovery is made easier in the cooler months in Austin Texas because of the need to wear the garment.
Single or multiple areas of liposuction, in a healthy patient with moderate areas of fat deposits should feel comfortable in a any clothing or swim wear after three weeks. It would be okay for patients to submerge in the pool or ocean at this point. The final result really is not realized until about 3 months and this is predicated to the resumption of diet and exercise beginning after the first week of liposuction.
Common methods to speed the recovery after liposuction:
- Diuretics: medications which stimulate the loss of fluid from the body. They may not have an effect on swelling in the areas of liposuction and may cause kidney damage and dehydration.
- Massage: lymphatic massage may help to reduce swelling by encouraging the natural flow of fluid through the lymphatic channels. This can reduce swelling and firmness in the areas of liposuction when done repetitively by a licensed massage therapist experienced in post-surgical lymphatic massage.
- Compression: 3 weeks of compression with an anatomic compression garment can help reduce the accumulation of swelling and the prevention of additional tissue inflammation in the areas of liposuction when activity is resumed.
- Low Salt Diet: may help limit the swelling after liposuction over the first 3 weeks.
- Arnica and Bromelain: natural products with multiple non-specific effects including the prevention of bruising and decreased tissue inflammation. There may be positive effects with little down side, but dose and quality of products vary.
Technique, amount of liposuction, and compression of liposuction areas after the procedure will help improve your recovery. Three weeks is a conservative estimate on focused areas of liposuction in Austin Texas.
- Three months after liposuction is typically when your result can be fully appreciated.
Dr. Trussler in Austin Texas can help guide you on wether liposuction is right for you and what to expect with the areas treated.