How Safe Is Liposuction, Really?
Liposuction has been a popular procedure for men and women since its first introduction decades ago. Yet, despite this popularity, the safety of liposuction has often been called into question. Although the risks associated with liposuction are minimal, critics of the procedure still believe it to be highly painful and even dangerous. Liposuction is not the secret threat that many would believe, however, and it continues to offer many patients the body contouring results they desire.
What Is Liposuction?
The traditional liposuction procedure is performed with a thin cannula inserted into the area of concern and connected to a suction device. The surgeon then manipulates the tube back and forth to physically break up the fat cells before suctioning them out. This method is tried and true, proven to be effective for fat removal. Liposuction itself is a relatively simple process that can yield big benefits for the right patient. This procedure may be an appropriate choice for you if you have stubborn fat deposits in the area of your abdomen, hips, outer thighs or saddlebags, flanks or love handles, inner thighs, inner knees, upper arms, submental or chin area, and breasts, either for male or female breast reduction.
Following a normal liposuction procedure, the patient can expect to experience some mild swelling and bruising as the area heals. The improvements in body contour and profile will be immediately apparent, becoming even more noticeable as the swelling gradually fades. A liposuction patient’s results can be long lasting and sometimes permanent, depending on how well he or she follows a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet and regular exercise.
What Are the Risks Associated with Liposuction?
Swelling and bruising of the area are normal, very minimal risk factors associated with liposuction. Still, there are other, more serious risks to consider when you have any surgical procedure, including liposuction. Some of the potential risks associated with liposuction include post-surgical infection, a prolonged healing process, clotting of the fat or blood, shock, the accumulation of fluids, burns, perforations, lidocaine toxicity, and unfavorable reactions to drugs or anesthesia. Other, more minor, side effects can also occur following liposuction, such as skin looseness, numbness, and changes in pigmentation.
Just like any surgery, liposuction should be carefully considered after weighing the minimal risks against the huge benefits. Discuss your options thoroughly with your physician before making a final decision. Side effects and complications are a risk of any procedure. Though they are unlikely, liposuction patients must be educated about the liposuction process. The good news is that having liposuction today dramatically reduces your risk. Even when unwanted side effects do occur, your physician will be better equipped to manage these problems and help you recover. Thanks to new advancements in technology, education and techniques, liposuction is now the safest it has ever been.
Increased Experience & Better Education
Any doctor, surgeon, or nurse can attest to the simple fact that more experience makes them better at what they do. The same goes for procedures in the world of plastic surgery, which means that popular procedures help surgeons log the most hours of experience. Over the past few decades, as liposuction became more and more in demand from patients, plastic surgeons have had the chance to refine their own techniques. Doctors have had a chance to work with new technologies, hone their strategies, and perfect the liposuction results they achieve for each patient. This makes today’s surgeons better prepared than those who would have first introduced the procedure to their clients decades ago.
For this reason, choosing the right plastic surgeon is paramount. You don’t want to take your chances on a doctor who is less experienced or has not performed many procedures with a new technology or technique. When you are selecting a doctor to work with on your own liposuction procedure, be sure to ask lots of questions about his background and experience; he should be happy to provide answers to your questions. Do your homework and find out what past patients have said about his work and make sure that his style suits your own needs and expectations.
New Liposuction Technology
As with any medical procedure, time allows for many improvements to be made. Because liposuction has been a popular surgical procedure for decades now, doctors and scientists alike have had the time needed to create new and exciting technology to achieve optimum results. Today’s liposuction technologies include VASER liposuction and ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty (UAL), both of which allow plastic surgeons to achieve better, more finely targeted results with their patients.
VASER lipo is a precise and minimally invasive technology for achieving optimum liposuction results. It eliminates the long recovery times and minimizes some of the pain and discomfort experienced by liposuction patients. VASER is both powerful enough for targeting larger areas of fat but still gentle enough for smaller areas like the neck and chin. It will also help to smooth the skin as well as refine the appearance of muscles as it works.
With a UAL procedure, your plastic surgeon uses a high-intensity, high-frequency ultrasound to help break apart the fat. This technique allows for easier fat extraction, increases the amount of fat that is extracted, and can also minimize the patient’s discomfort following the procedure. There are both internal and external ultrasound technologies that can be used to achieve different results based on the patient’s body and areas of concern.
Rethinking Anesthesia Choices
Among the biggest risks associated with liposuction, as well as any surgical procedure, is the patient’s negative reaction to the anesthetic used. Liposuction was once only performed under general anesthesia, thereby increasing the risk of patient complications. Perhaps this accounts for many of the doubts about the safety of liposuction, because there was no other way to have the surgery.
Today, however, plastic surgeons have shifted their anesthetic techniques to other sedation choices, such as a localized anesthetic. Lidocaine is the most commonly used local anesthetic for a liposuction procedure and has a much lower rate of negative reaction. These bad reactions are also quite minimal in comparison, since lidocaine reactions usually involve a rash. Now, you can be awake during your procedure without feeling pain and without putting yourself at a greater risk.
Keep in mind, however, that certain circumstances may require a doctor to use a general anesthetic during your liposuction. This will be discussed with you beforehand so there are no surprises. Be honest about your medical history and discuss any past adverse reactions so your plastic surgeon is fully aware of your circumstances before making his choice.
In-Depth Consultations & Better Candidates
Finally, the last factor that reduces your risks during a liposuction procedure is the plastic surgeon’s selection process. Although it might seem like anyone can just walk into a clinic and order a plastic surgery procedure, that’s just not true at all. During your one-on-one consultation with your plastic surgeon, you’ll be learning about the procedure and the doctor while the doctor is getting to know you. He will assess your physical needs, talk to you about your medical history and lifestyle, and ask about your goals for your body. These factors are all an important piece to the puzzle to help your plastic surgeon decide if liposuction is right for you and if you’re ready for liposuction.
Ideal candidates for liposuction should be a healthy weight or slightly overweight, with specific areas of stubborn fat that diet and exercise can’t eliminate. Those who are significantly overweight or obese may be asked to lose the pounds they want before seeking the procedure, in order to reduce their risks and increase their results. Liposuction is perfect for people who are fit, live a healthy lifestyle, don’t smoke, and have realistic goals for their own body. If this sounds like you, it may be time to seek out the right plastic surgeon to handle your liposuction procedure.
Choose [primary_practice] for Your Liposuction
To best reduce your risks of serious side effects or complications, choose a reputable plastic surgeon to perform your liposuction procedure. With extensive experience and proven results, Dr. Ronald Lohner is a board certified plastic surgeon based in Philadelphia who offers liposuction to his patients. He completed his undergraduate education at Dartmouth College and medical school at UMDNJ-Rutgers. Currently, Dr. Lohner is Chief of Plastic Surgery at Bryn Mawr Hospital and holds a faculty appointment at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. His peers have selected him as a Philadelphia area Top Doctor for the last 8 years. His office is located at [primary_address] in [primary_city], [primary_statefull], on the Main Line. Please call his office at [primary_phone] to schedule a consultation for your liposuction procedure.