San Francisco Plastic Surgery & Laser Center is a Bay Area leader for liposuction utilizing ultrasonic & smart lipo laser technology.
Liposuction, technically known as suction-assisted lipectomy, is a technique to remove unwanted fat deposits from specific areas of the body, including the chin, neck, and cheeks; the upper arms and above the breasts; the abdomen, buttocks, hips, and thighs; and the knees, calves, and ankles. The result is a sculpting of bulging areas into more attractive contours.
Liposuction permanently removes fat cells to improve your body’s natural shape. Should you gain weight after the procedure, it goes to the fat cells that remain in your body, allowing you gain weight more evenly. The localized fatty deposits that existed prior to the procedure can no longer balloon up out of proportion to the surrounding areas. Liposuction is a body contouring procedure, not a weight loss procedure.
The Best Candidates For Liposuction Surgery
Those who are of relatively normal weight but have pockets of excess fat in particular areas are the best candidate for liposuction. You should be physically healthy, psychologically stable, and realistic in your expectations. Most important, having firm, elastic skin will result in a better final contour.
The Procedure For Liposuction
Suction assisted lipectomy usually takes an hour to four hours, but the time required may vary depending on the area and amount being suctioned. To begin the procedure, Dr. Rajagopal makes a small incision, just large enough to allow the insertion of a hollow tube called a cannula. The opposite end of the cannula is attached to a machine that creates a strong vacuum. Dr. Rajagopal manipulates the cannula deep within the fat layers under the skin, breaking up the fat and suctioning it out. Sometimes additional incisions are needed to remove all areas of fat.
After Your Liposuction Surgery
Liposuction Garment A snug elastic dressing, girdle, or body stocking must be worn over the treated area to control swelling and bleeding, and to help your skin shrink to fit your new contour. You will need to wear this garment for three to six weeks depending on the healing process (less for facial liposuction). The only time you may remove the garment for a long period of time is to shower. Several days after surgery, you may unzip the garment from time to to time to apply lotion or take a brief break.
You can wear these garments under your everyday clothes (they come in different colors).
You’ll even be heavier for a while, because the extra fluids you’ve been given. The suctioned areas will be swollen and bruised, and you may feel a burning sensation. The pain can be controlled with medications prescribed by your surgeon, though you may still feel stiff and sore for a few days. You may temporarily lose all feeling in the suctioned area; don’t worry-it will return.
Getting Back to Normal After Liposuction
Dr. Rajagopal will probably tell you to start walking around as soon as possible (to help prevent blood clots from forming in your legs), but to avoid more strenuous activity for two to four weeks. Any stitches will be removed in five to ten days, and you should be back at work in 2 – 3 days, or as much as two weeks after your surgery. While most swelling and discoloration will be gone a month or two after surgery, some swelling can remain for six months or more.
This is one of the newest methods for performing liposuction. Laser energy is used to melt fat and produce mild skin tightening at the same time. Smartlipo can be used in all parts of the body. It can be performed under both local anesthesia (for smaller areas of the body) or general anesthesia (for larger areas of the body).
Ultrasound assisted lipoplasty (UAL) is the latest technique utilized by Dr. Rajagopal for body sculpting. UAL uses sound waves to “liquefy” unwanted fat and can be an effective tool for removing fat from fibrous body areas, such as the male breasts or the back. It is also effective for removing larger volumes of fat in a single procedure and for improved body contouring. With UAL, Dr. Rajagopal can remove larger volumes of fat with less bleeding and she is able to sculpt more effectively than with traditional Liposuction. Additionally, UAL seems to allow the skin to shrink more effectively after the procedure.
The Best Candidates for Ultrasonic Liposuction (UAL)
Generally, the best candidates for UAL are no different than candidates for the traditional liposuction procedure: normal weight people with firm, elastic skin who have pockets of excess fat in particular areas.
The Procedure For Ultrasonic Liposuction
UAL generally takes a little longer than traditional liposuction because of the extra “fat liquefying” step involved. To begin the procedure, salt water containing local anesthesia and adrenaline is injected into the area to be treated. Then, a metal cannula connected to an ultrasound generator is inserted beneath the skin through a small incision. The ultrasonic energy causes the walls of the fat cells to break down allowing the fat to flow out of each cell. The “liquefied” fat combines with the injected fluid to create an emulsion, which is removed from the body by vacuum pressure.
After Your UAL Treatment
You will likely experience some fluid drainage from the incisions for the first 24 hours. To help control swelling, you may be fitted with a snug elastic bandage or compression garment to wear over the treated area. The bandage or garment is worn for up to six weeks, to help your skin shrink to fit its new contour.
The side effects of traditional liposuction surgery-pain, burning, swelling, bleeding and temporary numbness-can be expected from UAL as well.
Getting Back to Normal After Ultrasonic Liposuction
You will begin to feel better after about a week following your surgery and you should be back to work within two weeks. Any stitches are usually removed within the first week. Activity that is more strenuous should be avoided for about three weeks as your body continues to heal. Although most of the bruising and swelling usually disappears within six weeks, some swelling may remain for six months or more.
Liposuction Before & After Photos
How much does liposuction surgery cost?
Learn more about financing options, discounts and cost of liposuction.
If you have any additional questions regarding Liposuction, Ultrasound Assisted Lipoplasty (UAL), Smart Lipo or wish to schedule a consultation with Dr. Rajagopal in San Francisco, California, please call the San Francisco Plastic Surgery & Laser Center at 415-392-3333.
How do you know if you need a Tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) vs. liposuction? How are the two procedures different, especially in regards to recovery time? Dr. Rajagopal answers these questions on KRON 4’s Body Beautiful.