Diet and exercise are great first steps toward getting rid of unwanted fat, but sometimes they’re just not enough. You’ve logged thousands of miles on the treadmill, followed a healthy diet faithfully, everyone at the gym knows you by name, and you still can’t lose those last stubborn pockets of fat. So what’s the next step?
For many people in Manhattan, it’s liposuction. If you’re thinking of choosing liposuction, you’re not alone: In 2011, more than 200,000 people in the United States opted for this treatment, making it one of the most widely performed cosmetic surgery procedures of the year, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. The liposuction procedure removes fat by vacuuming it through a small device called a cannula, which is inserted into the body through tiny incisions. Liposuction (also referred to as liposculpture or lipoplasty) is a very effective method of contouring the body by removing unwanted fat.
Did you know there are different types of liposuction? The methodology used is tailored to the individual patient’s needs. We offer a variety of liposuction techniques to enhance the outcome of the procedure and improve the experience for the patient.
- Traditional liposuction. In this technique, a small incision is made in the skin and fat is suctioned from the body. Anesthesia is required and can be local or intravenous; I consult with my patients to determine how to provide the greatest comfort level during the procedure.
- Tumescent saline-assisted liposuction. In this procedure, a saline solution is injected into the fat to be removed. In addition to salt, this solution contains medications that help numb the area and help the blood vessels contract. This helps fat be removed more easily, provides pain relief, and reduces the amount of bleeding. Although this procedure takes significantly longer than a traditional liposuction procedure, additional anesthesia may not be needed.
- Super-wet saline-assisted liposuction. This method works the same way as the tumescent technique, but a lesser amount of saline solution is injected. This procedure takes less time than the tumescent procedure, but a general anesthetic or IV sedation may be needed.
- Ultrasound-assisted liposuction.This procedure liquefies fat using sound waves. Ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL) works well when removing large amounts of fat, or when removing fat from fibrous areas of the body, such as male breast tissue. Traditional liposuction is sometimes performed alongside ultrasound-assisted liposuction to help shape and sculpt the areas treated by UAL.
- Laser-assisted liposuction. The laser procedure also liquefies fat, as a fiber inside the cannula delivers energy directly to fat cells using two different wavelengths. We use the SmartLipo system in our office because we feel it improves the appearance of the skin, as the dual wavelengths allow for more effective tightening of your skin.
While liposuction offers many possibilities for contouring the body, it’s not meant to be a weight-loss tool. It’s an appropriate procedure for people in good health and who are close to reaching their ideal weight yet just can’t seem to lose fat in certain areas. We’re happy to discuss which liposuction procedure is best. Choosing liposuction performed by an experienced plastic surgeon might be the next step toward a happier, more self-confident you.