While diet and exercise can be helpful in achieving one’s desired body contour, fat tissue in certain regions of the body often remains immune to these efforts for many women and men. Some of the most common areas in which stubborn fat accumulates include the abdomen, flanks or hips, thighs, knees, back, arms, armpits, and even the neck.
Liposuction of the Abdomen and Flanks.
Dr. James F. Boynton—our board-certified plastic surgeon—devotes a large part of his practice to body contouring procedures that are designed to decrease unwanted areas of fullness throughout the body. Using a state-of-the-art tumescent lipoplasty (or liposculpture) technique, he has been able to help numerous patients eliminate stubborn pockets of fat for a slimmer, more toned appearance that looks completely natural.
To learn more about liposuction, we encourage you to watch the educational videos and continue reading through the content provided on this page. Should you have any further questions, or if you are interested in scheduling a liposuction consultation, please contact Boynton Plastic Surgery today.
Benefits of Liposuction
Along with the removal of diet- and exercise-resistant fat, primary benefits of liposuction may include:
- A more slender and sculpted physique
- Enhanced definition of targeted regions
- A relatively short, outpatient procedure
- Results that last long into the future (as long as a stable weight is maintained)
- Motivation to continue living healthy—newer studies show that liposuction patients can often still improve on their results with enhanced diet and fitness in the first 18 months after their procedure
Liposuctioning certain areas of the body can also prove to be advantageous in more ways than simply decreasing fullness. For example, when liposuction is performed close to sweat glands in the armpit, Dr. Boynton has seen improvement in hyperhidrosis—or excessive sweating—after treatment. In addition, some medical studies suggest that removing excess fat via liposuction can be beneficial from an overall health standpoint. Dr. Boynton can discuss these findings in greater detail at the time of the consultation.
Candidates for Liposuction
Liposuction continues to be one of the most popular body contouring procedures performed annually due to its high levels of success and patient satisfaction. Good candidates for this body sculpting treatment include individuals who:
- Are troubled by accumulations of extra fat in one or more areas of the body
- Are healthy and in relatively good shape
- Have no unmanaged medical conditions that may inhibit proper healing
- Have decent skin quality and elasticity
It is important to note that although liposuction is used to remove excess fatty tissue, it is not a weight loss procedure. Consequently, patients should be at—or close to—their ideal weight and understand that this treatment is intended to help them achieve their body contouring goals as a supplement to their diet and exercise efforts.
Details of the Liposuction Procedure
Throughout his years in practice, Dr. Boynton has found it most successful to perform liposuction under general anesthesia as a short, outpatient procedure. Many body areas can be simultaneously addressed with the convenience of one surgery, and no discomfort is experienced during treatment. As a result, patients rarely complain about this approach.
The liposuction procedure is performed through tiny puncture incisions that heal inconspicuously. Once incisions are made, Dr. Boynton will use a small cannula to carefully break up and remove excess fat cells in the treatment area until an ideal contour is achieved. In comparison to older methods, the tumescent lipoplasty technique that Dr. Boynton employs at our practice minimizes blood loss, which was one of the greatest complications of liposuction in the past.
Dr. Boynton also has considerable experience in safely performing “large-volume” liposuction (suctioning more than 5 liters of aspirate), as well as advanced training in laser liposculpting—though he no longer believes that laser liposuction is beneficial in the body area, in general. He has significant experience with revisionary cases and has found laser liposuction to cause a great degree of debility and scar tissue. Instead, Dr. Boynton does a lot of “equalization” contouring, which involves utilizing specialized cannulas to finesse-shape areas, sometimes with lower suction amounts. He has found that this technique is extremely powerful in correcting contour defects and subtle regions. Sometimes, he has to actually inject fat into the lower areas. These “spot” or “touch-up” liposuction treatments can be done easily in the office.
Recovery from Liposuction
Following liposuction, Dr. Boynton will place state-of-the-art compression garments that are to be worn for a specified period of time to aid in the healing process and help ensure the most optimal outcome for each patient. Some degree of swelling, bruising, and/or tenderness can be expected in the treated region(s), but these symptoms are temporary and should diminish gradually with time. Any discomfort experienced is usually described as mild to moderate and can generally be managed effectively with medication.
Most individuals feel comfortable enough to resume normal daily routines after a few days, though some of Dr. Boynton’s patients are able to return to office jobs, school, and other non-strenuous activities after only one day away (depending on the number of areas treated and quantity of fat removed). In order to help avoid postoperative complications, Dr. Boynton recommends refraining from heavy lifting, vigorous exercise, physical sports, and all other strenuous activities for a minimum of four weeks.
How long until I see the results?
60% at 3 weeks, 80% at 3 months, and final results are determined at 6 months, typically.
How much pain, bruising, and swelling?
Pain is mild to moderate. The procedure is outpatient, and most patients take several days off of work, but some may return after only one day off. Depending on the amount of liposuction, the number of areas involved will determine bruising and swelling. Male liposuction patients typically bruise and swell slightly more than women, but the recoveries are very similar. The incisions are left open to allow the fluid to “drain” in the first few days after surgery, which facilitates recovery from swelling and bruising.
How long do I have to wear the garments?
Special garments are typically worn 24 hours a day for 3 weeks, and then at night only for the following 3 weeks. Some patients may choose to wear them longer.
Will I need massaging?
We recommend post-lymphatic massages starting at two weeks. We have a team of highly trained lymphatic massage therapists that work with our patients after liposculpting. This is an important adjunct to the procedure, patients enjoy this, and it improves the overall results.
How long do the incisions drain?
Typically for 2-3 days after the surgery.
Will I lose weight right away or at all?
Liposculpting, or liposuction, is about shaping the body, not about weight loss. Most patients will notice the reduction in their clothing size. Weight is variable. Often right after the procedure, patients will not see much—if any—change in weight. Many patients build muscle as they resume their exercise regimens after surgery, and they may even gain weight (because muscle weighs more than fat). I get my patients to concentrate on how they look, improvements in their clothing size, and how they feel—not on the scale.
When can I resume exercise?
Typically two weeks after surgery.
What if I have to come back for another procedure, how soon can it be scheduled?
A small percentage of patients will need a “touch up” liposuction session for certain areas that may need further contouring. This depends on the area, amount of scar tissue, amount of fullness that was there to start with, etc. This can sometimes be done in the office, but other times it is best done as a quick outpatient surgery. Usually, we wait until 6 months to determine if this will be needed. Some patients require multiple “sessions” of liposuction from the start (usually two). In these cases, we can usually space them 3 months apart.
If I get liposuction will the fat just go somewhere else?
No. This is completely an “urban legend.” This is a common misconception that many people believe, but it is just not true. There is no doubt that if patients return to poor eating habits and sedentary lifestyles without exercise, they may “regain” weight in all the same places that were liposuctioned. There is still fat and fat cells in the places that were liposuctioned, just less of them. The results seen shortly after liposculpting or lipoplasty are dramatic and very motivating. Many patients want to maintain them, and it motivates most individuals into new healthy exercise regimens—even when they never had one prior. Recent research has even shown some health benefits of “fat reduction” with liposuction.
Schedule a Liposuction Consultation
Please contact Dr. Boynton to schedule a liposuction consultation. During your consultation, Dr. Boynton can answer all of your questions about the procedure and help you determine whether liposuction is the best option for your goals.