Liposuction Washington DC

Introduction

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Women may have liposuction performed under the chin, on their hips, thighs, and stomach, and in the under arm and breast area.

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For men, common sites include under the chin and around the waist. Liposuction may also be used in the reduction of enlarged male breasts, a condition known as gynecomastia.

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Healthy, normal-weight people with elastic skin and pockets of excess fat are good candidates for surgery.

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The best candidates for liposuction are of normal weight with localized areas of excess fat– for example, in the buttocks, hips, and thighs.

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The surgeon inserts a cannula through small incisions in the skin. At the other end of the tube is a vacuum-pressure unit that suctions off the fat.

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Liposuction is a procedure that can help sculpt the body by removing unwanted fat from specific areas, including the abdomen, hips, buttocks, thighs, knees, upper arms, chin, cheeks and neck. Although no type of liposuction is a substitute for dieting and exercise, liposuction can remove stubborn areas of fat that do not respond to traditional weight-loss methods.

In your initial consultation, Dr. Baker will evaluate your health, determine where your fat deposits lie and assess the condition of your skin. He will explain the body-contouring methods that may be most appropriate for you. For example, if you believe you want liposuction in the abdominal area, you may learn that an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) may more effectively meet your goals; or that a combination of traditional liposuction and UAL would be the best choice for you.

Dr. Baker will describe the procedure in detail and explaining its risks and limitations.

The Best Candidates for Liposuction

To be a good candidate for liposuction, you must have realistic expectations about what the procedure can do for you. It is important to understand that liposuction can enhance your appearance and self-confidence, but it will not necessarily change your looks to match your ideal or cause other people to treat you differently. Before you decide to have surgery, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with Dr. Baker.

The best candidates for liposuction are normal-weight people with firm, elastic skin who have pockets of excess fat in certain areas. You should be physically healthy, psychologically stable and realistic in your expectations. Your age is not a major consideration; however, older patients may have diminished skin elasticity and may not achieve the same results as a younger patient with tighter skin.

Liposuction carries greater risk for individuals with medical problems such as diabetes, significant heart or lung disease, poor blood circulation, or those who have recently had surgery near the area to be contoured.

If you are considering liposuction, this page will give you a basic understanding of the procedure — when it can help, how it is performed and how you might look and feel after surgery. It will not answer all of your questions, since much depends on your individual circumstances. Please ask Dr. Baker if there is anything about the procedure you do not understand.

Evaluation

Individuals considering liposuction often feel a bit overwhelmed by the number of options and techniques being promoted today. In deciding the right treatment approach for you, Dr. Baker will consider effectiveness, safety, cost and appropriateness for your needs.

What is Liposuction?

Liposuction is a procedure in which localized deposits of fat are removed to recontour one or more areas of the body. Through a tiny incision, a narrow tube or cannula is inserted and used to vacuum the fat layer that lies deep beneath the skin. The cannula is pushed then pulled through the fat layer, breaking up the fat cells and suctioning them out. The suction action is provided by a vacuum pump or a large syringe, depending on the surgeon’s preference.

The basic technique of liposuction, as described above, is used in all patients undergoing this procedure. However, as the procedure has been developed and refined, several variations have been introduced. Fluid injection, a technique in which a medicated solution is injected into fatty areas before the fat is removed, is commonly used by plastic surgeons today. The fluid — a mixture of intravenous salt solution, lidocaine (a local anesthetic) and epinephrine (a drug that contracts blood vessels) — helps the fat be removed more easily, reduces blood loss and provides anesthesia during and after surgery. Fluid injection also helps to reduce the amount of bruising after surgery

Preparing For Your Surgery

Dr. Baker will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding vitamins, iron tablets and certain medications. If you develop a cold or an infection of any kind, especially a skin infection, your surgery may have to be postponed. Also, while you are making preparations, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after the procedure and, if needed, to help you at home for a day or two.

Whether Dr. Baker performs your liposuction at Georgetown University Hospital (Washington D.C.) or the Inova Fairfax Ambulatory Surgery Center (Falls Church, VA). You should arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery, and to help you out for a day or two.

Anesthesia for Liposuction

Various types of anesthesia can be used for the liposuction procedure. Together, you and Dr. Baker will select the type of anesthesia that provides the most safe and effective level of comfort for your surgery.

Local anesthetic is usually used along with intravenous sedation to keep you more relaxed during the procedure. Regional anesthesia can be a good choice for more extensive procedures. One type of regional anesthesia is the epidural block, the same type of anesthesia commonly used in childbirth.

However, most patients prefer general anesthesia, particularly if a large volume of fat is being removed. If this is the case, an anesthesiologist will be called in to make sure you are completely asleep during the procedure.

Risks and complications

Though they are rare, complications can and do occur. Risks increase if a greater number of areas are treated at the same time, or if the operative sites are larger in size. Removal of a large amount of fat and fluid may require longer operating times than may be required for smaller operations.

The combination of these factors can create greater hazards for infection; delays in healing; the formation of fat clots or blood clots, which may migrate to the lungs and cause death; excessive fluid loss, which can lead to shock or fluid accumulation that must be drained.

The scars from liposuction are small and strategically placed to be hidden from view. However, imperfections in the final appearance are not uncommon after lipoplasty. The skin surface may be irregular, asymmetric or even baggy, especially in the older patient. Numbness and pigmentation changes may occur. Sometimes, additional surgery may be recommended.

Recovery

After surgery, you will likely experience some fluid drainage from the incisions. To control swelling and to help your skin better fit its new contours, you may be fitted with a snug elastic garment to wear over the treated area for a few weeks. Dr. Baker may also prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection.

Do not expect to look or feel great right after surgery. Even though the newer techniques are believed to reduce some post-operative discomfort, you may still experience some pain, burning, swelling, bleeding and temporary numbness. Pain can be controlled with medications, though you may still feel stiff and sore for a few days.

Healing is a gradual process. Dr. Baker recommends that you start walking around as soon as possible to reduce swelling and to help prevent blood clots from forming in your legs. You will begin to feel better after about a week or two and you should be back at work within a few days following your surgery. The stitches are removed or dissolve on their own within the first week to 10 days.

Activity that is more strenuous should be avoided for about a month as your body continues to heal. Although most of the bruising and swelling usually disappears within three weeks, some swelling may remain for six months or more.

Dr. Baker will schedule follow-up visits to monitor your progress and to see if any additional procedures are needed. If you have any unusual symptoms between visits — for example, heavy bleeding or a sudden increase in pain — or any questions about what you can and cannot do, call our office or email us.

Your New Look

You will see a noticeable difference in the shape of your body quite soon after surgery. However, improvement will become even more apparent after about four to six weeks, when most of the swelling has subsided. After about three months, any persistent mild swelling usually disappears and the final contour will be visible.

If your expectations are realistic, you will probably be very pleased with the results of your surgery. You may find that you are more comfortable in a wide variety of clothes and more at ease with your body. And, by eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise, you can help to maintain your new shape.

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