Tumescent Liposuction Q&A
Those who heal poorly, have bleeding abnormalities, allergy to local
anesthesia, or are in poor general health are not good candidates
for this procedure. Cigarette smoking is strongly discouraged
WHERE WILL THE PROCEDURE BE PERFORMED AND
HOW LONG WILL IT
The procedure will be performed in the operating room at the New
England Vein and Laser Center. Most procedures take 2-4 hours.
IS THE PROCEDURE PAINFUL?
There is some minimal discomfort during the administration of the
local anesthesia. After this is complete, the procedure is
relatively painless. Most patients feel pressure not pain while the
liposuction is performed.
WILL I NEED TO WEAR BANDAGES?
Bandages are not necessary, however you will be asked to wear a
compression garment (girdle-like) under your clothing for 3-6 days
after the procedure. Gauze pads are worn under the garment for
approximately 48 hours to absorb drainage of fluid from the small
skin incisions. You may shower the next morning.
WHEN WILL I BE ABLE TO GO BACK TO WORK AND
Patients typically feel well enough to return to work in 48 hours
and resume a normal exercise regimen in 7 days. Most doctors even
recommended gentle exercise (i.e. walking) the day after surgery to
help decrease postoperative swelling.
WILL I SEE IMMEDIATE RESULTS?
Some patients see results immediately; however; it usually takes up
to one month to appreciate the reduction due to postoperative
swelling and bruising. Continuous improvement is seen up to 3 months
after the procedure.
WILL I HAVE SCARS?
Because the Tumescent Technique uses very small cannulas, only tiny
incisions are required. The incisions are so small (3 mm) that no
stitches are used. The wounds heal by themselves and virtually
disappear with time.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE EXCESS SKIN?
In most cases the skin, being a dynamic organ, is able to shrink and
reaccommodate to the new body contour. In the minority of cases
patients may have decreased skin elasticity and can have the excess
skin removed if they so desire at a later date. This is almost never
WILL I LOSE WEIGHT?
Fat cells weigh very little, therefore you will not notice a
significant weight loss. Most noticeable will be a loss of inches in
the areas treated and looser fitting clothing. Contour changes is
WILL CELLULITE IMPROVE BY LIPOSUCTION?
Cellulite is dimpling due to superficial fat. It is unlikely that
cellulite will improve much with liposuction since liposuction
concentrates on deeper fat accumulation.
WILL THE FAT REMOVED BY LIPOSUCTION EVER
Once puberty is reached no new fat cells develop. Fat cells simply
swell and shrink in response to weight gain and loss. Therefore, if
you were to gain weight after surgery the new fat would go to sites
other than that treated by liposuction. The only exception to this
rule is if there is a massive weight gain. In this case new fat
cells can be seen in the treated area.
CAN THE PROCEDURE BE REPEATED?
Occasionally, it is not possible to remove all the excess fat in an
area during one procedure. Area can be retreated or "touched-up" if
the desired result is not accomplished initially. Touch-ups are
quicker and less expensive than the original procedure. It is best
to wait at least 3 months. However, new areas can be done sooner.
WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS AND
COMPLICATIONS FROM THE PROCEDURE?
As with any surgical procedure there are associated side effects.
Patients will have some tenderness, bruising, and swelling in the
areas treated. There will also be drainage from the small incisions
for about 48 hours. The drainage is residual anesthetic fluid that
was not suctioned out with the fat. In a recent review of 15,335
patients treated by tumescent liposuction the most common
complications were infection, skin irregularities and localized
areas of firmness which occurred in 0.2-0.4% of patients and are
correctable. No serious complications were seen and blood
transfusions were not needed in any of the 15,335 patients.
Steven F. Margolis
MD, FACS, Concord, MA
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