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Liposuction

Overview

Our San Francisco liposuction, or suction lipectomy, is a technique used to remove the localized fat deposits that create a disproportionate body contour. Although it is surprising to many, liposuction is not meant to be a form of weight reduction for significantly overweight patients. It is best used to remove targeted areas of fat that are resistant to diet and exercise. Liposuction can be performed all over the body to improve contour and is most commonly used for the:

  • Neck
  • Abdomen
  • Love Handles
  • Hips
  • Upper Back
  • Thighs
  • Knees
  • Ankles

To find out what you can achieve using liposuction, contact us to schedule a consultation with Dr. Elyassnia.

Liposuction

Which type of liposcution procedure should I choose?

Liposuction has been a popular body contouring procedure for some time now and consistently ranks among the most common aesthetic procedures performed in the US. It gives us the ability to remove unwanted fat and quickly create a better contour with low risk of complications. Traditional liposuction involves very small incisions through which fluid is injected to provide anesthesia and prevent bleeding followed by use of a cannula (hollow metal tube) to suction out fat from precise locations. This is the tried-and-true form of liposuction, which is quite effective and simple to understand.

So the question remains, why has liposuction become so confusing with so many options on the market and which one is best? I know this is a question on the mind of the public because there is not a day that goes by I am not asked this question by a patient.

The short answer is none of the “latest and greatest” forms of liposuction have been shown in studies to be superior to traditional liposuction. In fact, some carry risks and complications that are not seen with traditional liposuction. All the confusion is created by the media’s desire to create hype for the newest trends and the public’s excitement for anything involving advanced technology.

Let's take a closer look at the newest forms of liposuction:

Laser-assisted liposuction:

This is the newest form of liposuction and includes SmartLipo, SlimLipo, LipoLite, etc. This treatment involves the same exact steps as traditional liposuction, however, prior to suctioning out fat, a specialized cannula is inserted that releases laser energy that helps break up the fat prior to suctioning.

Although this can make fat removal less labor intensive for the surgeon, the laser energy generates heat, which introduces the risk of skin burns and more complications. The hope was the heat energy produced would create more skin tightening, but this is minimal and temporary at best, and no study has shown it to be better than traditional liposuction.

The procedure takes longer and must require longer incisions for the specialized cannulas. Taking this into account along with the risk of skin burns and lack of any clear advantage, Dr. Elyassnia sees no strong reason to offer this technique over traditional liposuction at this time.

Ultrasound-assisted liposuction

This technique was developed well before laser liposuction and includes treatments such as VASER liposuction. As you can imagine, it involves the same steps as described above, but you can substitute the laser energy delivered for ultrasound energy. Again, it makes fat removal less labor intensive, but shares the same risk/benefit profile as described above for laser liposuction. It also has not been shown to be better or provide more skin shrinkage as compared to traditional liposuction.

Ultimately far more important than the exact technique is the skill level of the surgeon performing the procedure. Do they have the right vision in mind of how to produce a beautiful aesthetic shape, and then, can they precisely remove fat from the right locations to carry out that plan effectively?

Any of these techniques can produce excellent results in the right hands. To find a qualified surgeon for body contouring, start by looking for a surgeon that is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Dino R. Elyassnia, M.D. offers liposuction procedures at his cosmetic surgery practice in San Francisco, CA. Patients can expect a thorough consultation to determine which technique is best suited for them. As a board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Elyassnia provides patients in the greater Bay Area with excellent service and superior San Francisco liposuction results.

Who are good candidates for liposuction?

Liposuction can improve your appearance and self-image, but it can’t necessarily change the contours of your body to meet your ideal. The best candidates are healthy individuals who are not significantly overweight and have localized areas of excess fat without hanging loose skin.

This last point is very important because skin is limited in its ability to shrink to match the new contour after suctioning. Thus patients with excess skin can look worse after liposuction, requiring removal of this skin which can leave significant scars.

For instance, women who’ve had multiple children commonly have loose abdominal skin with stretch marks (a sign that the skin will not shrink after liposuction) and thus are usually better candidates for an abdominoplasty.

Also, liposuction will not necessarily improve the dimpled skin commonly seen on the thighs know as cellulite.

Arguably the best liposuction San Francisco has to offer, Dr. Dino Elyassia provides an excellent treatment to help contour localized areas of fat only with a minimal affect on the overlying skin. Before you choose to have surgery, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them in detail with your surgeon.

Liposuction San Francisco

What is my initial
consultation at Dr. Elyassnia's
office in San Francisco like?

During the first meeting, your surgeon will determine if you are a good candidate for surgery while at the same time you will decide if he or she is right for you. This starts with a full health history with a focus on any major illnesses or prior surgeries. Your surgeon will want to know about your diet and exercise habits and a history of any major weight loss or gain.

It is important to tell your surgeon if you smoke and if you take any medications, supplements, or other drugs as these can have a big impact on your surgery.

During the exam, your surgeon will do a general evaluation of your fat content and distribution, skin tone, and muscle tone. Certain body measurements may be made to track your improved body contour after surgery. Finally photographs are taken of all patients; these assist with the planning and evaluation of your surgery.

Based on this thorough assessment, the surgeon will describe not only what approach is best for you, but also the various alternatives and all of the risks and limitations associated with each of these.

For instance if you are a better candidate for abdominoplasty or a combination of liposuction and abdominoplasty, your surgeon should fully explain the rationale behind this recommendation.

It is very important to listen carefully to the various limitations of each approach and to openly discuss your expectations with your surgeon. Many times a poorly informed patient or surgeon is the direct cause of an unsatisfactory result even when there are no complications with surgery. The surgeon should also go over the details of the procedure including the type of anesthesia used, the facility where surgery will take place, and the costs involved.

At the end of the consultation you may decide to go ahead with surgery and schedule a date, but if you are unsure or don’t feel fully informed don’t hesitate to ask your doctor any questions. A second meeting may be necessary and should always be available as an option.

San Francisco Liposuction
“My review is for consultation only. I was a bit nervous about going but the staff and Dr. were so kind! He talked with me for an hour answered all my questions. I felt very well taken care of like I was the only one there. If I do plan to go ahead with surgery I will be going here for sure.”

L.T

What is the day of
my liposuction
procedure like?

You will need to begin fasting 8 hours prior to your procedure, which means you cannot eat or drink anything at all during this period including chewing gum or water. If you have been instructed to take any medications in the morning this is permitted with a few sips of water.

Liposuction can be done under local anesthesia with sedation if a limited area is treated, but may require general anesthesia if multiple areas are being treated. General anesthesia means you are completely asleep and feel nothing during surgery, whereas with sedation you are awake but comfortable.

The surgery time is quite variable, again depending on how many areas are treated and can range from 1 hour to 5 or more hours. Your incisions will be covered loosely with gauze and a compression garment may be placed at the end of surgery. Compression garments help resolve swelling sooner, but do not ultimately change your final result and may be problematic if not fitted properly. Their use depends largely on the specific practice of your surgeon.

After surgery, you will stay in the recovery suite until you are ready to go home or to our overnight facility.

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How do I
prepare for
liposuction?

Within 1 month of surgery all patients over 50 years old or with medical problems should have a medical evaluation by their physician or primary care provider. Depending on your health, this may require blood tests, an EKG, etc. You will be given a list of medications, vitamins, and supplements to refrain from taking at least two weeks before and after surgery. You should also stop smoking for at least 1 month before and after surgery.

Liposuction usually is an outpatient procedure, but sometimes with large volume liposuction a one-night stay in our overnight facility or hospital is required. If you and your surgeon have decided that you will go home, you will need to arrange for someone to drive you.

It is a good idea to have someone at home who can help you out for a few days during your recovery. Although it can be quite variable, most patients require one week off from work. Your surgeon will give you a prescription for the medications you will need after surgery so these can be obtained ahead of time, and often a postoperative compression garment needs to be obtained as well.

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What are the
risks of
liposuction?

All surgical procedures carry some uncertainty and risk and liposuction is no different. Although there are many possible complications, the good news is that the combined risk of having any major complication is still rare, as long as your surgeon is properly trained and the procedure is performed in a well-equipped facility. The following represents some of the major complications, but is not meant to be comprehensive.

In rare instances, especially with very large volume liposuction, major complications such as blood cots in the legs that can travel to the lungs or severe blood loss can occur resulting in major illness.

Major infection or bleeding is quite rare with liposuction. Occasionally some fluid can accumulate below the skin that may need to be drained. Also, the skin can be damaged if not protected properly when laser and ultrasound energy is used.

More common complications even in very skilled hands include asymmetry in contour from one side of the body to the other and rippling of the skin over the treated area. The risk of rippling increases as excessive amounts of fat in any one area is removed. The scars from liposuction are quite small and well concealed. Even when they don’t heal well they are usually not conspicuous.

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What is the
recovery process for liposuction?

You won’t feel great right after surgery, but there is minimal pain associated with this procedure due to the anesthetic fluid that is injected. If you do feel significant pain, it usually only lasts for a few days and can be controlled with your prescribed medication.

Expect the treated areas to be swollen and bruised. You are encouraged to walk around as soon as you are able and it is normal to be sorer after activity. You will be given directions as to how to care for any dressings and most patients are able to shower 1-2 days after surgery.

Also, for a few days after surgery it is normal to have a reddish fluid drain from the multiple incisions. Any sutures will be removed in a week, but if you are instructed to wear a compression garment, your doctor may want you to wear this continuously for several weeks.

Most people are able to return to work after several days to one week, but this depends on your job and how extensive the liposuction. You will have to refrain from any exercise for 2-3 weeks and heavy exercise for 4-6 weeks. After 2 months you will be able to resume any previous activities.

For the first week after surgery it will be difficult to see results due to swelling and you will likely have gained weight from the swelling and fluids injected during surgery. Much of the swelling and bruising resolves in 2-3 weeks, but it takes about 3-4 months until almost all of the swelling resolves and you see your true results.

Liposuction Bay Area

This technique is quite effective at improving your body contour even though actual weight loss from the procedure is quite minimal. Clothes fit better as you will lose inches from the treated areas. However, it is important that you eat right and exercise regularly so that you maintain your results. Liposuction is not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle and in no way produces a permanent result. If you do gain weight, it will probably be more uniformly throughout your body and not specifically in the treated areas.

It is important to follow up with your surgeon as directed so that any potential complications can be detected and treated early. For the most part these are rare and you will spend most of the time enjoying your new look.