There are several different liposuction techniques available. Tumescent liposuction is a general term and it involves injecting a solution called tumescent anesthesia into the areas where fat is removed. Tumescent anesthesia numbs the area with lidocaine, making it easier for surgeons and patients but also helps minimizes bleeding due to the drug epinephrine which provides localized vasoconstriction.
The use of epinephrine virtually eliminates bleeding during liposuction. Both medications are used in combination and virtually all methods of liposuction use tumescent solution. Dependent on the specific technology used, how comprehensive the surgery is, and if there are other procedures, your surgeon may suggest local or general anesthesia.
Differences Between Traditional Liposuction vs VASER Liposuction?
First, liposuction is not to be confused with bariatric weight loss surgery. While both offer a few similar benefits, there are some critical differences between them.
Generally, liposuction is not considered a method of weight reduction, while bariatric surgery is specifically to induce significant fat weight loss, especially dangerous visceral belly fat. Liposuction removes fat resistant to diet and regular exercise and targets fat that is not visceral. With liposuction, people lose targeted fat cells without undergoing major surgery. Bariatric methods vary but all involve some type of surgical intervention.
There are several types of modern liposuction techniques out there. Depending on what kind of body contouring you want, Dr. Ahmed will recommend one over another. Here are three standard options:
1. VASER Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction – This form of liposuction is growing in popularity. It uses ultrasonic vibration energy to break up fatty areas gently. It allows surgeons to remove more fat than any other method and provides access to two layers of fat; subcutaneous and surface. No other technology can suction both layers of fat, allowing for superior contouring. After surgery, it is also is nearly pain free and minimizes bruising making recovery faster. Fat transfer is optimized as VASER extracts more healthy fat than other methods and has the highest percentage of fat that remains after transfer. Comprehensive VASER is best done under general anesthesia.
2. Traditional Liposuction methods – Uses a cannula and suction to extract only the deeper layers of fat. Surgeons are using this method less frequently as it tends to harsh and create more bruising. More and more, traditional lipo is for spot fat removal vs. extensive treatment.
3. Laser-Assisted Liposuction – A laser liposuction probe is used to heat the fat cells and burst them open. The contents are suctioned away and some fat is sloughed off by the lymph system. A popular and effective method, allowing for some contouring but is not ideal for fat transfer procedures like BBLs. Heat damages fat cells so the percentage of healthy fat that can establish new blood supply is not optimal.
At your initial consultation, Dr. Ahmed will help determine which option works best for you.
Is Liposuction Safe?
Liposuction remains one of the most popular cosmetic procedures performed today. But how safe is it? Is it worth the risks involved?
What Are The Risks Of Liposuction?
The main risks are:
- Numbness. In most cases sensation returns after healing is complete
- Bleeding. This risk is small due to the tumescent solution, blood work to eliminate anemia and cessation of blood thinners prior to surgery
- Contour irregularities. Your skin may have bumps or appear wavy if fat is removed unevenly, excess or poor skin elasticity
- Infection. Skin infections are rare as antibiotics are given durning and after the surgery
- Fluid accumulation. Temporary pockets of fluid (seromas) can form, more commonly around incisions. The fluid may be drained with a needle
Who Can Have Liposuction?
The most important criteria is overall health. Even people with higher Body Mass Indexes (BMI) can have liposuction if they do not have health issues related to excess weight. Not all high BMIs are dues to just fat. Some people’s bones and muscle mass are dense and contribute to what appears to be an elevated BMI. However, in general , according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the criteria includes:
- People within 30% of their ideal weight
- Have good skin elasticity
- Have good muscle tone
- Those that do not smoke
- People that have stubborn fat that does not respond to diet and exercise
- Those with realistic expectations for contouring results
VASER Liposuction Procedure
Liposuction is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures performed today. However, traditional liposuction has come a long way with power-assisted liposuction techniques. One such option is VASER liposuction. This minimally invasive technique uses ultrasound energy technology to break up fat cells. Once extracted, the fat is removed through a cannula.
While it is considered safe, there are some risks involved with liposuction that patients must understand. Dr. Ahmed recommends that patients prepare themselves mentally and physically before undergoing liposuction to reduce the risk of complications. Here are some tips he offers to ensure a smooth recovery process.
1. Understand the Procedure
Dr. Ahmed says that many people do not fully understand how liposuction works and they have unrealistic expectations. Patients should know that the procedure does not cause significant weight loss although they will see a slight reduction in their weight once all the excess fluids and fat are expelled. Instead, it reshapes the body, especially if you have a comprehensive, 360 approach to your surgery.
2. Prepare Yourself Physically
Patients should make sure that they eat an iron rich, healthy diet before the procedure, eliminating all processed foods. They should drink plenty of water and try to avoid alcohol consumption or any over the counter medication that thins the blood. Additionally, patients should wear comfortable clothing, eliminating buttons and zippers for a couple of weeks. Unrestrictive clothing will help to keep blood flow moving throughout the body, allowing quicker recovery and is much easier to put on and take off. Set up your environment for easy access to the things you use every day.
3. Get Ready Mentally
Dr. Ahmed suggests in addition to preparing physically, patients should focus on their mental state. They should visualize the outcome of their desired look and feel. This visualization technique helps patients overcome negative thoughts and feelings regarding their appearance. Look at what you are willing to do or give up to maintain your results and make a commitment to your health. For example, fast food, heavily sugared cereals and desserts and high carb items, need to be a treat vs. a way of life. That simple mental shift can keep your weight steady and your peace of mind balanced.
What to Expect After VASER Lipo
Dr. Ahmed makes several small incisions around the areas where fat cells are being targeted. These incisions allow him to place tiny ports to guide cannulas. Cannulas allow the doctor access to the body part being treated. Once inside the body, the cannula delivers the ultra-sound energy and enables him to suction out unwanted fat cells.
Due to the small size of the opening, you can expect little to no scarring once your skin heals completely. VASER softens fat and after the procedure a certain amount of that fat will exit the body via the lymph system. That is why most VASER surgeons require their patients to have lymphatic drainage massage. One, to help manually push the maximum amount of fat out of the body and to ensure the patients new contours stay properly formed.
While some people recover quickly, others experience longer healing times. Recovery depends on many factors, including the amount of fat removed, the type of anesthesia used, additional procedures, and the patient’s size. Most patients return to work within a week to 10 days. Light activity is encourages right away to keep circulation optimal but strenuous exercise or heavy lifting is generally not advised for at least a month. You will see results immediately but full results will take several weeks to three months while your body heals and releases the excess fluids from your surgery.
Want To Know More About The Differences Between Traditional Liposuction vs VASER Liposuction?
To learn more about your liposuction options, contact us today. Come meet Dr. Ahmed and our entire team.