Are You a Candidate for Liposuction?

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons recently released their 2017 plastic surgery statistics, and liposuction came in at number two behind breast augmentation. With an increase in the number of procedures performed as compared to 2016, there’s a reason almost 250,000 women and men opted to undergo liposuction last year. Despite the rise of non-invasive fat-melting treatments, liposuction is a guaranteed way to eliminate larger pockets of stubborn fat.

But how do you know if you’re a candidate for liposuction? The answer is relatively straightforward: If you have stubborn areas of fat that are resistant to a healthy diet and regular exercise and you’re within 30 percent of your ideal weight liposuction may be the solution for you. In order to get the best aesthetic results, the skin overlying the areas being treated must have good elasticity and tone.

Do you have excess fat?

Liposuction is designed to sculpt areas of the body with stubborn fat deposits that just don’t budge despite your commitment to eating right and working out. Genetics can play a role as well, and some women and men are more prone to carrying weight in certain areas, whether the abdomen, thighs or hips. There are also particular parts of the body that are extremely difficult to trim and tone through diet and exercise alone, such as that little area adjacent to the armpit, the insides of the knees and along the bra line. In all of these cases, liposuction is a safe and effective way to eliminate this fat for good.

It’s important to keep in mind that liposuction is not a weight-management tool. Rather, it’s a way to sculpt body contours when other approaches have proven ineffective—and the ideal candidates are in otherwise good physical and mental health, and have realistic expectations about what the procedure can accomplish.

Liposuction details

Plastic surgeons use a variety of techniques and devices to perform liposuction, but the procedure essentially involves making very small incisions (that are nearly undetectable once healed) and inserting a long, thin tube called a cannula that uses vacuum suction to remove fat. The treated area is infused with a solution of saline and local anesthetic during the procedure to facilitate fat removal and minimize post-surgical discomfort. New York City plastic surgeon Dr. Mark H. Schwartz prefers “Power Assisted Liposuction,” which uses a gently vibrating cannula to help loosen fat cells before they are removed.

Swelling, bruising and soreness are to be expected for one to two weeks after liposuction, and patients are instructed to wear a compression garment to facilitate the healing process. It’s important to avoid strenuous activity while the body heals, but short walks are permitted to promote circulation. Dr. Schwartz explains what to expect after liposuction provides specific post-procedure instructions.

Do you have excess skin?

Excess skin often accompanies excess fat, but liposuction alone cannot improve sagging or skin laxity. Stretch marks and crepey skin texture are the main indicators of a skin issue rather than excess fat, and although certain liposuction approaches may be able to provide skin-tightening benefits in addition to fat reduction, cases of moderate to severe excess skin require a body-lifting procedure (such as a tummy tuck). Liposuction is commonly used in these surgeries to achieve the optimal end result.

Most women are overwhelmingly satisfied with the results of liposuction alone, but many are also concerned about changes in their bodies after pregnancy and breastfeeding. Overstretched abdominal muscles can cause a permanently bulging belly no matter how many crunches you do or how many Pilates classes you attend. Rapid breast growth during pregnancy (whether you breastfeed or not) often causes flattening and sagging as well as loss of volume especially in the upper part of the breasts. Dr. Schwartz can address all of these concerns with a customized “Mommy Makeover” procedure that incorporates liposuction to remove stubborn fat, a tummy tuck to address loose muscles and excess skin, and a breast augmentation or lift to restore a patient’s pre-pregnancy body.

The most common liposuction areas for women

  • Abdomen
  • Hips and waist
  • Flanks (love handles) and lower back
  • Outer and inner thighs
  • Buttocks
  • Arms
  • Chin, cheeks, jowls and neck

The most common areas for men

  • Abdomen
  • Flanks (love handles)
  • Chest
  • Chin, cheeks, jowls and neck

Appropriate for a wide range of body areas, liposuction can provide more significant fat reduction as compared to non-invasive, energy-based treatments that require multiple sessions to achieve a lower level of fat reduction—and it can be used to treat many spots that non-invasive options cannot. With a proven track record for safety in the hands of an experienced surgeon like Dr. Schwartz, liposuction is an extremely effective body-contouring option.

Call 212.737.9090 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Schwartz to learn more about liposuction and other body-contouring procedures.