Liposuction Q&A-Doctor Answers

By Dr. Glenn Davis
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports nearly 200,000 people had liposuction in 2009, making it one of the most popular cosmetic procedures. Dr. Glenn Davis, Raleigh North Carolina Plastic Surgeon with more than 20 years experience, answers your questions about the surprisingly simple technique that improves the body’s contour. 
Below are some frequently asked questions about liposuction.
Q: What are the different types of liposuction machines?
A: Liposuction involves the use of a small stainless steel tube called a cannula. The cannula is attached to a suction machine that vacuums away fat cells. There is also Ultrasound assisted liposuction (UAL). This uses an instrument that sends sound waves into the fat to break it up, then suctions fat cells. Laser-assisted liposuction (LAL) uses a small laser wand to shoot a beam of light to break up fat and then suction fat cells. There is one common theme in all of these procedures, the suctioning of fat cells only.
Q: What is tumescent liposuction?
A: Tumescent liposuction refers only to the anesthesia used. During Tumescent liposuction, your doctor does not use general anesthesia. Instead they use the tumescent technique, which involves the doctor injecting a local anesthetic into the targeted parts of the body. This allows for less bleeding during and after surgery. 
Q: Does liposuction always remove cellulite?
A: Liposuction improves the body’s silhouette, but it does not necessarily eliminate cellulite. Liposuction does reduce cellulite to a minor degree, but it is unlikely to reduce it by a significant amount or completely eliminate it.
Q: Does liposuction produce permanent results?
A: Following your liposuction procedure, your body’s new shape is more or less permanent. If you gain more than 10 pounds after liposuction, then your figure simply will be a larger version of this new body shape. The great news is fat cells that are removed by liposuction don’t grow back. If you gain weight, you will likely gain the fat in the areas that were not treated by liposuction. 
Q: Is liposuction a good way to lose weight?
A: Liposuction is not a weight loss method. It’s not very effective for people who are obese. In addition, there are increased risks for those who are significantly overweight. The best candidates for liposuction is someone who is close to their ideal weight but still has one or more difficult areas that do not respond to diet or exercise. 
Q: Will liposuction tighten up loose skin?
A: If some of your weight is pulling the skin downward, liposuction can help a little, but if loose skin is your main concern, then liposuction might not be the best solution. Sometimes, liposuction will permit the skin to tighten a little, but it does not help with significant skin tightening on its own. 
Q: What is the recovery period after liposuction?
A: Recovery from liposuction varies widely. It depends on the person and the number of areas treated. Following liposuction, you can expect some bruising and swelling for a few weeks. Many people take only a few days off from work to recuperate. Most patients wear a compression garment or elastic binder for the first six weeks, making liposuction a popular surgery for fall and winter months.
Dr. Glenn M. Davis is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and has more than 20 years of experience in the field. To learn more about liposuction contact him here.
Picture of Glenn M. Davis, MD, Raleigh North Carolina