Unwanted fat and fat deposits are a very common issue with a majority of people. Even at or near ideal body weight, localized fat deposits often fail to respond to even the most disciplined dietary and exercise plans. Plastic surgeon Steven H. Turkeltaub, MD offers liposuction to treat those individuals who want to address their fat problem.
It is important to remember that liposuction is NOT a weight loss solution nor is it a treatment for the widespread removal of fat. The best results can be obtained with more localized fat deposits allowing for precise sculpting of various areas of the body.
Common areas of treatment in women include the abdomen, inner and outer thighs, flanks, hips, knees, back and neck. In men, the usual areas are the abdomen, love handles, breasts and neck.
- Liposuction vs. Weight Loss Surgery
- Liposuction vs. Tummy Tuck for Abdominal Sculpting
- How Is the Liposuction Procedure Performed?
- How Many Areas Can Be Treated During One Liposuction Procedure?
- What Is the Recovery from Liposuction Like?
- How Long Do Liposuction Results Last?
- What Are the Potential Risks and Side Effects of Liposuction?
- What Kind of Scars Will I Have from Liposuction?
- How Much Does Liposuction Cost?
- Are There Any Good Liposuction Alternatives?
- Liposuction Before-and-After Photos
Liposuction vs. Weight Loss Surgery
Despite the fact that liposuction removes fat to help patients achieve a more sculpted and slimmer physique, it should never be thought of as a surgical technique for weight loss. Bariatric surgery is intended to help men and women lose a significant amount of weight as part of a commitment to an overall healthier lifestyle. While liposuction can certainly complement one’s weight loss and self-betterment efforts, it is designed for individuals who are already at or somewhat close to their desired weight and need help eliminating fat that proves resistant to diet and exercise.
Liposuction vs. Tummy Tuck for Abdominal Sculpting
Liposuction and tummy tuck surgery (abdominoplasty) can both be great options for creating an improved abdominal contour although they are used to address different concerns. Liposuction is employed to get rid of stubborn fat buildup and deposits in areas that have relatively good skin tone and no laxity. On the other hand, an abdominoplasty is performed to remove loose, excess skin and the associated underlying fat as well as to repair stretched out abdominal musculature. This procedure will typically be the appropriate treatment option when any degree of excess skin or laxity is present in the abdominal region.
How Is the Liposuction Procedure Performed?
Dr. Turkeltaub offers his patients a variety of liposuction techniques which can be selectively used depending upon a variety of factors. More than one technique is often employed during surgery. One of these, ultrasonic assisted liposuction, utilizes ultrasound waves to disrupt the fat, allowing for easier, more even fat removal. This approach provides an increased margin of safety. Its use can also lead to superior results with more thorough and even fat removal than could be obtained in the past with standard liposuction alone.
Tumescent liposuction involves injecting fluid containing an anesthetic and vasoconstrictor into the fat prior to beginning liposuction. This approach minimizes blood loss during surgery and results in decreased discomfort and bruising post-operatively. It is always used with ultrasonic assisted liposuction.
The incisions needed for liposuction are very small (approximately 1/4 to 3/8 inch) and usually leave fairly inconspicuous scars. Through these tiny openings, Dr. Turkeltaub will insert a suction tube known as a cannula which is used to break up and eliminate the fat cells from the targeted area.
Liposuction is typically performed under general anesthesia due to the far superior comfort level and overall experience. Unless very large amounts of fat are removed (generally 5 liters or more), the procedure is usually done as an outpatient.
How Many Areas Can Be Treated During One Liposuction Procedure?
The number of areas treated during a single liposuction procedure is not relevant or important—it is the total quantity of fat to be extracted that impacts decisions, risks, safety and outcome. Based on clinical studies regarding patient safety, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) recommends that the combined amount of fat removed during one liposuction session be no greater than five liters regardless of how many areas of the body this fat was obtained from. The rationale behind this recommendation is not that removing more than five liters of fat is automatically dangerous but rather that the risk of any potential medical issues or other complications tends to increase when quantities larger than five liters are extracted in a single session.
With this in mind, the exact number of areas that can be treated during one liposuction procedure will depend upon each individual’s specific needs, goals and anatomy.
What Is the Recovery from Liposuction Like?
Discomfort for a majority of patients following surgery is fairly mild and quite tolerable, many taking little or no pain medication. Most are already physically active within the first 24 to 48 hours. Returning to work or school can be as soon as a few days.
A compressive garment, which is worn for a variable period of time postoperatively, provides comfort and can minimize swelling and bruising. Most of the swelling resolves within a few months though it can take six months to a year to see the “final” long-term result.
To learn more about liposuction surgery, please visit our liposuction FAQs (frequently asked questions) section.
How Long Do Liposuction Results Last?
The contouring effects of liposuction are generally noticeable immediately after surgery and should gradually become more apparent as normal postoperative swelling resolves. If a stable weight is maintained, most patients can expect long-lasting, if not permanent, results due to the fact that the fat cells removed during treatment are permanently eliminated. However, there are still some fat cells left in the targeted area that can grow in size if a significant amount of weight is gained later in time. Therefore, by keeping a steady weight via diet and exercise patients can maximize the longevity of their liposuction results.
What Are the Potential Risks and Side Effects of Liposuction?
When performed appropriately by a board-certified plastic surgeon who is highly trained, skilled and experienced in this body contouring treatment, the risk of serious complications resulting from liposuction is minimal. In spite of this, there is always the potential for certain issues and unforeseen outcomes to occur when a surgical procedure is conducted, so comprehensively understanding all aspects of liposuction before moving forward with treatment is very important.
Expected occurrences following liposuction include some minor to moderate bruising, swelling and/or numbness in the treated area(s). These most often are temporary and should resolve with time.
Some of the more notable risks and complications associated with liposuction include:
- Uneven body contours
- Over- or under-treatment of the targeted area(s)
- Fluid accumulation deep in the skin (seroma)
- Hematoma – an accumulation of blood deep to the skin
- Thick and/or wide scars
In extremely rare situations, blood clots can form in the legs and even travel to the lungs. There can also be injuries to intra-abdominal organs from wayward cannulas that have been misdirected by the surgeon.
As previously mentioned, the risk of encountering any issues or long-term side effects is greatly diminished when liposuction is performed by a well-trained, experienced and highly skilled board-certified plastic surgeon.
What Kind of Scars Will I Have from Liposuction?
As a surgical procedure that involves incisions, the formation of scars is an inevitable aspect of liposuction. Fortunately, the incisions used to perform treatment are typically very small and tend to be quite inconspicuous once fully healed. In addition to genetics as well as the body’s natural healing response, some factors that can affect the final appearance of scarring include:
- Location of the incision(s)
- Skin quality
- Scar care products used
- Exposure to sun/UV rays
- Adherence to postoperative instructions
- Overall health and wellness
In all cases, Dr. Turkeltaub’s strategic placement of incisions, refined surgical approach and careful wound closure technique help ensure any potential scarring is as hidden and/or subtle as possible. All things considered, he has found that patients are generally focused on their liposuction results and not so much on their scars.
How Much Does Liposuction Cost?
According to statistics released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), the average cost of liposuction is approximately $3,200*. It should be noted, however, that this price is solely indicative of the fee charged by plastic surgeons and does not include expenses for the operating facility, anesthesia, pre- and/or post-operative medicines or any other components related to surgery and/or recovery. Furthermore, this does not take into account the volume to be removed, the areas involved, complexity, etc., so in reality it is not a very helpful number.
To obtain a price quote for liposuction of the areas that you are considering, you will need to meet in-person with Dr. Turkeltaub for a consultation. During this appointment, he will listen carefully to what bothers you about your appearance, conduct a comprehensive assessment of your area(s) of concern and tailor a personalized treatment plan to meet your needs. Once a surgical strategy is developed, Dr. Turkeltaub can provide you with an estimate of the total cost of your procedure.
If you are interested in financing for liposuction, a staff member can help you get started on the approval process with a reputable healthcare lender. Our practice partners with several trusted companies, all of whom offer payment plan options that can help make treatment affordable for virtually any budget.
*This average price is determined by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons—it is not a quote for the cost of liposuction at Dr. Turkeltaub’s practice.
Are There Any Good Liposuction Alternatives?
In most cases, liposuction is considered to be the gold standard for removing stubborn fat and improving the contour of the targeted region. That said, there are certain instances in which an alternative fat reduction technique may be a somewhat effective solution depending on the area of concern, the amount of fatty tissue present, skin tone and the unique desires and expectations of the patient.
One such alternative to liposuction is KYBELLA®—a non-surgical injectable designed to reduce submental fullness for an enhanced under-chin profile. This minimally invasive treatment can often be a good choice for individuals seeking to improve the appearance of a double chin without having to undergo surgery and/or miss time off from work, school or other activities. Unlike liposuction, however, the results are not immediately apparent and multiple treatment sessions may be needed to achieve an improvement.
CoolSculpting® is another non-surgical option that employs freezing of the fat in order to reduce fat levels and provide some contouring. As with KYBELLA®, results are seen over a long period of time rather than immediately. CoolSculpting® also requires several treatments in order to obtain results that are generally inferior to those obtained with liposuction.
At the time of your consultation, Dr. Turkeltaub can evaluate your aesthetic concerns and discuss all potential treatment options in complete detail. If liposuction would not be the most effective fat reduction technique, he will provide his recommendation for which procedure(s) are better suited to your specific needs and goals.
Liposuction Before-and-After Photos*
Dr. Turkeltaub has helped many patients achieve the slimmer and firmer body shape they desire through his advanced liposuction procedures. Below are some examples of his work.
*Individual Results May Vary
Discover What Liposuction Surgery Can Do For You
Both ultrasonic and tumescent liposuction offer many benefits over the traditional liposuction procedure. Please contact The Arizona Center for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery today to learn more about the operation or to schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Turkeltaub.