Tumescent Liposuction, Suction-Assisted Lipectomy (SAL)

Liposuction is a procedure which removes fat from the body. It is one of the most popular procedures in the field of plastic surgery because of its simplicity and effectiveness. There are many different techniques and methods for liposuction, which can be performed on many areas of the body.

Am I a candidate for liposuction?

Any patient with excess fat can be a candidate for liposuction. Liposuction is especially effective for:

  • persistent areas of fat which do not respond to diet and exercise (so-called “diet-resistant fat”)
  • fat zones which are disproportionate or undesired (such as “love handles”)

The areas of the body most commonly treated with liposuction are torso, abdomen, hips, waist, flanks, thighs, inner knees, and ankles. Liposuction is also used to remove a “double-chin.” For men, liposuction is used to eliminate gynecomastia, or male breasts.

The majority of our patients are close to an average, healthy weight and desire permanent contour changes. Patients with average weight, localized fat collections, and healthy elastic skin are the best candidates for liposuction.

Due to aging or familial predisposition, certain areas of the body become more prominent, often creating the “Pear” or “Cello” in female’s distribution or “spare tire” in males. Although people of many ages and body weights may be candidates for liposuction, Suction Assisted Lipectomy (SAL) generates the best results in younger patients, non-smokers, darker skin types, and non sun-worshipers.

Obesity, cellulite, stretch marks, a history of “yo-yo” weight gain/loss, or loose, sagging, inelastic skin, are problems which would tend toward poor results. In fact, these problems may be worsened by liposuction and may be best addressed by other procedures such as a leg or body lift (e.g. tummy tuck) to improve the patient’s appearance. Unfortunately, many individuals performing liposuction are not trained in other techniques of body contouring and may not have the experience to recognize that a different procedure (such as a tummy tuck) may provide a better result for the patient. Suction Assisted Lipectomy (SAL) may be used in conjunction with other body contouring procedures, such as breast reduction, tummy tuck, thigh lift, or face lift.

Patients should be aware that liposuction is a body-contouring procedure, not a weight loss option. The standard diet and exercise strategy is much more effective for weight loss than liposuction.

How is liposuction performed?

Liposuction involves the removal of fat through a narrow tube (cannula) which is placed through a small incision. Fat deposits are flattened and reshaped by permanently removing fat cells.

The most important factor in the quality of your result is your choice of surgeon. Dr. Nichter and Dr. Horowitz have over 25 years of experience sculpting and reshaping body contours with liposuction and liposculpture, and are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Liposuction is typically done on an outpatient basis in a surgery center. The surgery can be as short as 30 minutes, but may take longer depending on how many areas are being addressed and whether any other procedures are being performed at the same time.

Local anesthesia with sedation can be used for patients requiring small areas of liposuction. General anesthesia may be necessary for patients who require more extensive liposuction.

Liposuction Recovery and Results

Pain and discomfort after liposuction vary greatly between patients. Pain is easily controlled with oral medication for the first few days. Discomfort may continue for a period of time, depending on the extent of one’s surgery and whether other procedures were performed at the same time. Most of the swelling and bruising will resolve in the first two weeks (although some may persist for 6–8 weeks).

Dr. Horowitz and Dr. Nichter will instruct most liposuction patients to wear an elastic garment after surgery. Your surgeon will tell you how long and how often you will need to wear this compression garment.

Your surgeon will tell you specifically how long it will take before you can resume work and exercise. Liposuction patients can expect to resume normal activity within 1 to 2 weeks after their operation. Most patients return to office work with 3–5 days after their liposuction; people with more active jobs may need 14 days before they return to work. Exercise is typically recommended after two weeks to minimize adhesion between skin and deeper tissues. Patients can begin walking, swimming, or riding a stationary bicycle a few days after surgery.

Liposuction patients can see early results 10–14 days after surgery. Improvement will continue for 4–6 months as swelling and irregularities resolve.

Your scars will mature following surgery. They may be red or raised for the first few months, but after 6–12 months they will soften, lighten, and become less noticeable. Laser treatments available at the Pacific Center for Plastic Surgery can quicken the healing of scars and reduce them significantly.

Liposuction results are generally permanent. If the patient gains a large amount of weight in the future, the area of liposuction will also gain fat but to a lesser degree. With massive weight gain, rippling may occur.

Liposuction may be repeated in some cases. It is recommended to do liposuction in stages on heavier patients.

Risks of Liposuction

Liposuction is considered to be a very safe procedure. It does not have any raised probability for any of the complications that could come from any surgery, including swelling, bruising, bleeding, infection, prolonged healing time, or changes in skin appearance.

The risk of liposuction or Liposculpture surgery can be minimized by selecting a well trained board certified plastic surgeon with experience.  Unfortunately it is a “buyer beware” marketplace and it has been estimated that more liposuction procedures are performed by physicians that are not certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. General Surgeons, Dermatologists, ENT, Gynecologists, Emergency Medicine, Radiologists, Family Practice and others frequently advertise and perform this surgery without the same training, standards or qualifications found by a Plastic Surgeon.  For example, most of the surgeons who advertise that they “only use local anesthesia for all liposuction cases” generally do not have hospital privileges because of insufficient training and are not board certified Plastic Surgeons.  If you do not choose the Pacific Center for Plastic Surgery physicians, then we urge you to make sure that your doctor is qualified by making sure that they are a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgery or the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

For more information

Speak to our knowledgeable staff for further information on liposuction, or to have your specific questions answered, by calling our office at (949) 720-3888.