The 4 Rules of Liposuction

liposMore than 202,000 liposuction procedures were performed in 2012 . . . a number that reveals just how popular this plastic surgery procedure is. And when done properly, liposuction is not only a very safe plastic surgery to undergo—it's one with highly gratifying results (a study published last year found that 86 percent of liposuction patients reported an increased self-esteem, and about 70 percent reported improved quality of life, after the surgery)! In order to ensure that patients get the great results they deserve, however, it’s essential that plastic surgeons follow a few nonnegotiable rules of thumb. If you’re a patient considering liposuction, you should know what they are, so here you go—The 4 Rules of Liposuction!

1. Start with a good candidate. A good candidate for liposuction is someone who (a) is generally healthy; (b) is of relatively normal weight but has pockets of excess fat that they haven’t been able to get rid of through diet and exercise; and (c) has realistic expectations about the results of the procedure.

2. Be vigilant about monitoring the patient during the procedure. Liposuction is generally performed with general anesthesia—and anytime you are put under anesthesia, there are risks involved. Your doctor should have an established system in place that ensures your safety throughout the procedure.

3. Know your body contouring. Different plastic surgeons specialize in different types of procedures; they’re not all created equal. Liposuction is a body contouring procedure, not a weight loss procedure—and that means that a successful liposuction requires a doctor skilled in body contouring. Experience makes a difference!

4. The procedure doesn’t end when the surgery’s over. The ultimate success of your liposuction lies with you! After your liposuction procedure, you’ll need to wear a snug elastic dressing, girdle, or body stocking over the treated area to control swelling and bleeding, and to help your skin shrink to fit your new contour, for three to six weeks depending on the healing process. The only time you may remove the garment for a long period of time during those three to six weeks is to shower. To help prevent blood clots from forming in your leg, you’ll also want to start walking around as soon as possible (though you’ll need to avoid more strenuous activity for the first two to four weeks). Failure to follow your doctor’s instructions about how to care for yourself following surgery can severely impact the results of your procedure—but if you do everything you’re supposed to, you will likely be thrilled at your new look at the end of your healing period.

That’s it—The 4 Rules of Liposuction! As long as you (and your plastic surgeon!) adhere to these guidelines, you should end up highly satisfied with the outcome of your procedure.

Want to learn more? Set up a free consultation with Dr. Usha Rajagopal at the San Francisco Plastic Surgery & Laser Center!