Every year when the statistics come out for plastic surgery procedures performed in the U.S. liposuction is in the top three. This makes sense because just about everyone, no matter what kind of shape they are in, has pockets of stubborn fat that don’t respond to diet changes and exercise. That’s where liposuction comes in — it removes those pockets of fat.
When it first came to North America from France (where it was developed) in the 1980s liposuction was a relatively violent procedure involving aggressive movement of the cannula under the skin to break up and suction out the fat cells. That caused extensive skin trauma and subsequent bruising, making for a lengthy recovery period. Since that time, technical changes in the procedure have made for much easier recovery and more precise results.
Liposuction is popular with our patients here in Austin. We also perform what we call “liposculpture,” where the aim is to remove fat to sculpt an area rather than simply slimming the overall contour. If you’re considering liposuction you probably have a host of questions. The best way to address them is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Michelle Carbret-Carlotti or Dr. Albert Carlotti. Short of that, however, here are some answers to some typical questions that we hear from our patients.
Will the fat cells grow back after liposuction?
We typically are born with a set number of fat cells. They shrink and enlarge during weight loss and gain. Liposuction actually removes some of these cells, and the fat cells that are suctioned out are gone permanently. But you can develop new fat cells if you gain a lot of weight. For instance, if you gain over 10 percent of your ideal body weight, your body can create new fat cells. This can include areas previously treated with liposuction. But if you maintain a healthy weight the new contour is permanent.
If I gain weight does the fat come back to the treated areas?
After liposuction, smaller amounts of fat usually don’t stay in the treated areas. Those lesser weight gains usually accumulate in untreated areas, where they could be the target of future liposuction.
What if I get pregnant after liposuction?
Weight gain in pregnancy should be temporary. Because of this, pregnancy shouldn’t affect your liposuction results. If a patient has liposuction and subsequently becomes pregnant, gains weight, gives birth and loses the excess weight from pregnancy, then her original liposuction improvements will return, as if she had never been pregnant.
How many pounds of fat can be removed?
There is a limit to the amount of fat that can be safely removed in a single liposuction procedure. The maximum amount of fat that can be removed safely is about 6 to 8 pounds. If more than 6 to 8 pounds of fat needs to be removed, it is safest to divide the liposuction into separate surgical procedures each separated by 3 to 4 weeks.
How long will it take to see results?
Most patients will see 90 percent of their ultimate liposuction results within one to three months after surgery. For the first few weeks after surgery there will be postoperative swelling. The technique used dictates the amount and duration of the swelling.
Will liposuction help my cellulite?
Cellulite does not improve after liposuction. Cellulite is a result of the structural support under the skin; it is not due to fat accumulation. Liposuction deals only with the removal of fat cells.
Still have other questions about liposuction? Call us at Austin Cosmetic Surgery in our Lakeway office, (512) 688-8000, or our Scottsdale office, (480) 947-7700, to make an appointment or with any questions you have.