Center for Body Contouring & Reconstruction Offers Liposuction to Target Unwanted Fat Deposits

Surgeons at the Department of Plastic Surgery in Cleveland, Ohio, specialize in liposuction for improving appearance.

Liposuction is the most common cosmetic surgery procedure performed in the U.S. today. Liposuction is a technique used to improve a person's body contour by removing unwanted fat deposits from specific areas of the body, such as the abdomen, buttocks, hips thighs or upper arms.

Liposuction is not a substitute for weight loss, but a method of removing localized fat that does not respond to dieting and exercise. With liposuction, fat cells in the area are permanently removed.

Patient History and Examination

Consultation for liposuction at University Hospitals consists of:

  • A thorough discussion of the patient's desires and concerns
  • An extensive evaluation of the patient's body
  • Photographs
  • A discussion of the available surgical options and the doctor’s recommendations
  • A discussion of the limitations and risks of liposuction

Liposuction may be performed in conjunction with other procedures such as a tummy tuck.

Ideal Candidates for Liposuction

Liposuction can enhance a patient’s appearance and self-confidence, but it will not necessarily change their looks to match a pre-conceived ideal. Also, liposuction by itself will not improve dimpled skin known as cellulite.

The best candidates for liposuction are of relatively normal weight but have pockets of excess fat in certain areas. The patient should be physically healthy and realistic in their expectations.

Most importantly, having firm, elastic skin will result in a better final contour. Hanging skin will not reshape to the body's new contour after weight loss and may require an additional procedure to surgically remove the excess skin.

Liposuction Procedure

The traditional liposuction procedure involves the removal of unwanted fatty deposits with the help of a cannula, a thin tube that mechanically breaks up the fat as it is suctioned. We also use power-assisted liposuction (PAL) at UH. This innovative surgical method allows for more efficient liposculpting and decreases the length of anesthesia.

Liposuction is most commonly performed on an outpatient basis. The type of anesthesia used depends on the complexity of the procedure.

Normally, liposuction is a very safe procedure. All procedures are performed using a technique that limits postoperative bruising, swelling and pain. The tumescent technique involves injecting areas of excess fat with a large amount of anesthetic liquid before liposuction is performed, causing pockets of fat to become swollen and firm. This allows the liposuction cannula to travel smoothly beneath the skin as the fat is removed.

Small incisions are used to gain access to the areas of unwanted fat. Dissolvable sutures are primarily used and scarring is rare.

Side Effects and Recovery

Postoperatively, patients are required to wear a compression garment for a period of time to help with healing and limit swelling.

Healing is a gradual process. Suctioned areas may be bruised for a few weeks after surgery. While most of the swelling is gone a month or two after surgery, some swelling can remain longer.

We encourage patients to start walking around as soon as possible, but they should avoid more strenuous activity for two to four weeks after liposuction.

Patients are usually able to return to work as soon as the discomfort is subsided (in some cases within a few days).

Results of Liposuction

The results of liposuction are permanent, provided patients eat sensibly and exercise regularly. Still, in select cases a follow-up procedure may be needed.

If the patient gains weight, he or she will probably gain it more uniformly throughout the body, not just in the former bulges. Again, the suctioned fatty cells are permanently removed.