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Liposuction is a surgical procedure that removes fat from areas such as the abdomen or flanks. Cannulas are inserted through small incisions and suction is used to remove the fat.
Liposuction is best for patients who are young, healthy and within their normal weight range. Patients that have the highest satisfaction after liposuction are those who want better contour in a few “problem areas”. Patients who want to use liposuction as a weight reduction operation are not typically good candidates. Patients who have loose skin after childbirth or weight loss may be better candidates for an abdominoplasty, where extra skin is removed along with the fat.
When you come in for your initial consultation, you will meet with both Dr. Maloney one of our clinical coordinators. Dr. Maloney will examine you to determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure. He will discuss details of the operation, show you before and after photos and review your surgical options. A member of our team will review surgical fees, financing options and answer any other additional questions you may have. If you choose to have surgery with Dr. Maloney, you will return for a pre-operative consultation about three weeks prior to your operation. At this pre-operative appointment, Dr. Maloney will review the surgical plan with you as well as go through consent forms, and give you your prescriptions. One of our team members will take pre-operative photos, review all of your surgical instructions and give you a packet of information so when you leave this appointment you will have everything you need for surgery.
Once you have met with Dr. Maloney and have chosen a surgical date for your liposuction procedure, you should plan for your care and recovery after the operation. You will need to arrange a ride to and from the surgery center as well as arrange for someone to stay with you for the first twenty-four hours. You should take five to seven days off of work for this operation depending on the type of work you perform. Please speak to one of our team members for specific questions related to taking time off of work. If paperwork is required by your employer for your time off, please obtain it ahead of time and bring it to our office. If you smoke, you must quit a minimum of three weeks before surgery. We suggest six to eight weeks, but three weeks is the minimum. Smokers heal more slowly and can have wound healing problems. Smoking may require modifications to the surgical plan. If you take aspirin or another medication that causes bleeding, you should stop taking it three weeks before surgery. If you are taking any diet pills (prescription or over-the-counter) or if you are taking Metformin (a common diabetes medication), you should stop one week prior to surgery because of anesthesia risks. All medications, herbs, vitamins and dietary supplements you are taking should be carefully reviewed with Dr. Maloney prior to surgery. If you are under the care of a physician for any health issues, we may require surgical clearance from your physician and/or cardiologist.
At your pre-operative consultation with Dr. Maloney you will be given a map to the surgery center and your prescriptions. Get these prescriptions filled before surgery. Bags of frozen peas or corn work well as icepacks after your procedure. You need to stay hydrated. Have plenty of water or sports drinks around the house. We suggest you begin a stool softener as narcotic pain medication and anesthesia can make you constipated.
If you are having surgery before 10:00am, you cannot have anything to eat or drink after midnight, this includes water. If your procedure is scheduled for after 10:00am, we suggest drinking 16-24 ounces of Gatorade or other “sports drink” (the full sugar version, not diet) four hours before your operation. Studies have shown this will decrease dehydration and nausea post-surgery. You should not have anything to eat or drink other than the Gatorade. Do not put any lotions, deodorant or make-up on the day of surgery. Please do not wear any jewelry to the surgery center. You should wear comfortable clothes that are easy to get on and off. A shirt that zips or buttons up the front is preferable, as are loose workout type pants or sweat pants. Bring your picture ID when you check into the surgery center. You will check in and then be taken back to the pre-operating area where Dr. Maloney will come and discuss the surgical plan, answer any additional questions you have and mark the surgical site. At this time you will meet the anesthesiologist and ask him/her any questions you may have.
Liposuction takes about one to three hours depending on how much fat needs to be removed. The anesthesiologist will put you to sleep for this operation for safety and comfort. Dr. Maloney will make several small incisions and inject a tumescent fluid (saline, epinephrine and lidocaine). He will then use blunt tipped cannulas to break up and remove the fat cells using suction. A compression garment will be placed and you will wake up in the recovery room and be ready to go home in about an hour.
You will wear a compression garment to minimize swelling and bruising. You may ooze some fluid from the incisions. Rest and eat a healthy diet high in protein for healing. Please avoid alcohol and refrain from smoking. We recommend early and frequent ambulation after surgery to reduce the risk of blood clot formation in the legs and to speed up your recovery. You may be stiff and sore when you first get up and walk around. The more you are up walking around, the better you will feel. You will be swollen after surgery. It takes about three weeks to see your results, so be patient during the recovery process. You may remove your dressings and shower the day after surgery. You will return to the office for your first post-operative exam one to three days after surgery. A low grade fever is not uncommon after any surgical procedure. If you have any questions during the recovery phase, please do not hesitate to call the office any time day or night.
Often times patients ask what happens if they gain weight after liposuction. Liposuction physically removes the fat cells from specific areas. If you gain weight, the fat cells all over the body will grow and multiply depending on how much weight you gain. The areas that have had liposuction will have less fat cells so the will increase in size more slowly than other areas.
After liposuction your “problem areas” will be minimized and you will have small incisions that typically heal quite well.
Liposuction has both aesthetic and health risks, and it is the patient’s personal decision whether the benefits outweigh those risks. More commonly seen risks include scaring, asymmetry, excessive firmness, or changes in skin sensation. There are also more uncommon, but more complicated risks such as infection, bleeding or deep vein thrombosis. For a full list of risks, go towww.plasticsurgery.org.
Dr. Maloney is a Harvard trained, board certified plastic surgeon who returned to his home town of Tucson, AZ to open Maloney Plastic Surgery in 2002.