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Liposuction 101

Most of us, at one time or another, have stood in front of a mirror and registered disappointment in our shape. While diet and exercise are effective tools in body shaping, some of us have discreet pockets of fat that stubbornly stick around even with the most rigorous diet and exercise regimen. Because these pockets of fat are genetic in origin, they often persist even after weight loss. Liposuction at our Manhattan Beach-area practice can eliminate these fat deposits with minimal discomfort and downtime.

Everyone understands what liposuction is. Lipo is the medical term for the word fat. Therefore, liposuction is the removal of fat via suction. The most popular sites for liposuction treatment are the neck, stomach, back, face, hips, and breasts. Our board-certified Torrance plastic surgeons have many years of liposuction experience and have successfully sculpted the figures of thousands of South Bay men and women.

The Goal of Liposuction

The goal of liposuction, an elective cosmetic surgery procedure, is to remove discreet pockets of fat that are resistant to diet and exercise so that the patient has a more balanced physical appearance. You can see some our patients’ dramatic transformations in our liposuction before-and-after photos.

Liposuction Limitations

  • Liposuction is not a weight-loss tool.
  • Fat cells removed via liposuction will never return, but remaining fat cells will enlarge if you gain weight.
  • A maximum of 6 liters (approximately 12 lb.) can be removed at one liposuction session. This does not result in a 12-lb. weight loss, as this includes fat, fluid and blood.
  • You should be at or very near goal weight before you have liposuction
  • If you are considering liposuction, your goal BMI (Body Mass Index) is 30.
  • A BMI above 30 carries increased risks for operative complications and poor healing.
  • You can use the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s BMI calculator to determine your BMI.
  • The more you weigh at your procedure, the less obvious your results will be.

The Liposuction Procedure

General anesthesia is used during liposuction at a local Torrance hospital or surgery center. Once anesthesia has taken effect, tiny surgical incisions are made in the skin and a thin suction tube is inserted. Saltwater, called tumescent solution, is released into the areas to be treated. Fat deposits beneath the skin are then suctioned out. If your surgeon deems it appropriate, ultrasonic-assisted liposuction, called UAL for short, can be used to break up the fat prior to removal. At the end of your liposuction procedure, steri-strips will be applied to your incisions and you will recover for a short time in the recovery area before going home.

Recovery from Liposuction

You will have bruising, swelling and some numbness the first night after your procedure. The local anesthetic that was injected with the saline solution will continue to anesthetize the treated area. It’s normal to have some oozing from the incisions. This is not blood but remaining tumescent fluid. Your surgeon will see you in our Torrance plastic surgery office within one or two days post-procedure and follow you through your recovery period. You can read more about what to expect during liposuction recovery in our related blog post.

To schedule a liposuction consultation in the Long Beach or Los Angeles area, complete this online consultation request form or call us at (310) 784-0644 .

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