Working out can do wonders for your body. It can help you tone up and lose weight, but often you reach a point where no matter how hard you try you can’t get that last stubborn few pounds off. This is where liposuction comes in. Liposuction is the process of removing fat from your body; it can be useful in simply taking unwanted fat off, or it can be used to help sculpt and shape your body. Liposuction is ONLY the right choice for you if you are looking to get rid of a small amount of fat, and if you have already tried diet and exercise. Any larger amounts and you will want to look in to some kind of “tuck” procedure (like a tummy tuck), which I will talk about later.
This procedure is done by removing fat using a tube and suction device (called an aspirator). There are different options for how this is done regarding fluid injection and how the tube portion works. Wet liposuction uses a small amount of fluid (a smaller volume than the amount of fat you want to remove) that will contain a local anesthetic (like lidocane), a salt solution to make it match body fluid tonicity, and adrenaline which will help contract blood vessels and reduce bleeding. The fluid will help loosen the adipose (fat) cells, and to minimized bruising. The fat is then suctioned out. Super wet liposuction uses roughly the same volume of fluid as quantity of fat that you want to remove. This is popular for procedures that are removing LOTS of fat. Laser assisted liposuction utilizes thermal and laser energy and it is even thought to increase skin tightening. The benefits of this method over traditional methods is still somewhat contested though, so if you are going this route make sure your surgeon is very experienced. Tumescent liposuction involves the injection of large volumes of a solution (which is made up of an anesthetic and vasoconstrictor) straight into the fat you want to remove. This can be a very dangerous method if you are having a large volume of fat removed.
Those all deal with the fluid portion, but the actual method of removing the fat is related to the canula that will get the fat out of the body. There is a wide variety of options for this as well: suction assisted is the industry standard—a tube is inserted that is attached to a vacuum device and as your doctor moves it around, it breaks up and suctions out the fat cells. Ultrasound assisted uses a special tool that transmits ultrasonic vibrations in the body that emulsify (liquidate) the fat which makes it easier to suction out. This process requires the use of suction assisted afterwards to remove all of the emulsified fat. Power assisted does the same thing as suction assisted but it has a mechanical device that eliminates the need for the surgeon to move it around as much since it will move on its own.
Your recovery from this will be about a week or two before you can go back to work and normal light activities. You are going to need to wear a compression garment for up to one month. Your doctor will prescribe you pain medication and you will see your final settled results by 6 months. Prior to that, there will be considerable bruising (which will subside within a few weeks) and swelling (that will go down over the first two months). Depending on where you have this done, expect to have limited motion since you will definitely be sore.
Here are some great before and after pictures so you can see just how effective this procedure is:
These images are all excellent examples of not only how much fat can be removed, but the benefits you can have from shaping. In some cases, the doctor can even shaped the fat removal to make your muscles look more defined (I've even seen cases where patients come out looking like they have 6-pack abs).