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Dr. Smith and a team of surgeons and animators designed this interactive educational model to illustrate the complexities of craniofacial anatomy.

Liposuction 101

Welcome to liposuction 101 I'm Dr. Darren Smith I'm a board-certified plastic surgeon practicing in New York City. The goal of today's presentation is to discuss the basics of liposuction and to give you some food for thought so that you can have a little bit better idea of what liposuction is when you are thinking about it and so that you can start to ask some more questions and decide if it's something that you are interested in pursuing.

So, first of all, what is liposuction? It is in its most basic form a minimally invasive body contouring technique in which fat cells are removed from your body to result in an improved sculpted shape. And how can it help you? It can reduce stubborn fatty bulges, and that can really kind of do two things or help two kinds of people so it can be great for very fit people who are hitting the gym but have these very stubborn areas that just aren't budging no matter how hard they're working so they're hitting the gym but their muffin top just isn't going away they still have their love handles or they still have kind of a layer of fat over their abdomen. Liposuction can be a great option for these folks because it can just do that spot fat reduction that you just cannot do with diet and exercise no matter how hard you are hitting the gym. Then it's also good for people that want to see a kind of more dramatic total body transformation. Liposuction can be used to improve the contour of almost any part of the body and we can combine this technology with fat grafting for very dramatic results. With fat grafting we can take the fat that we're removing with liposuction and actually put it back into the body in places that we want that fat and places that that's pretty popular now is where we're moving fat for example from the abdomen and waist and we're using it to build up the breasts and the buttocks and things like a Brazilian Butt Lift.

So how does liposuction work? Small amounts of liposuction can actually be performed just under local anesthesia. That means you don't need any general anesthesia or not even Twilight anesthesia. You can literally walk into the office and we can just make the area that we're operating on numb with local numbing medicine. Larger amounts of liposuction we usually recommend are performed with twilight anesthesia. That means that under the care of a board-certified anesthesiologist you're given some medicine through an intravenous line to make you feel very relaxed. People often describe it is feeling like they've had a few good cocktails and often enjoy the experience - so that way they're really feeling minimal or almost no discomfort at all. Although some folks do decide that they'd rather be asleep for the operation and then they do go ahead and have general anesthesia for liposuction. Regardless of the kind of liposuction or the kind of anesthesia that is performed when we perform liposuction it's done with tiny well-hidden incisions these are less than a centimeter in length and we hide them in natural skin creases and under your bathing suit or underwear lines so they're really very difficult to see after we're done with the procedure. So you'll come into the office and you'll come into the operating room you'll lie down, you'll get comfortable and depending on the kind of anesthesia you're having that will be administered. These tiny little incisions will be made, your anesthesia will be given to you, and then we'll use a long thin suction device called a cannula to carefully remove the fat to achieve the nice new shape that we want to make sure we get you to and then we'll close your incisions usually with just a single suture. Most of these procedures even the big ones are really done at under about two hours. If we’re focusing on a single area like say the love handles or just the abdomen the whole thing is done in under an hour. And then after you recover in our recovery room we send you home after the procedure.

Who is liposuction not a good idea for? If you are someone who has very loose skin you might not love the results you get with liposuction because we're not going to be removing skin with this procedure. This operation really just gets rid of fat and we rely on skin to contract, and for people with a little bit of loose skin that's okay and we can count on the skin to contract a little bit, but again, if you have severe loose skin this might not be the right operation for you. You might need to look into operations that actually remove skin like for instance in the tummy that would be something like a tummy tuck or in the arms a brachioplasty or arm lift. If you have moderate amounts of loose skin there are procedures available that we can combine with liposuction to perform some skin tightening through the same small incisions we use for the liposuction that use different technologies like radiofrequency energy or ultrasound energy to heat and shrink the skin so that could be a reasonable option. Folks that have deep fat or visceral fat in their abdomen aren't good candidates for liposuction because we can't get to that fat with liposuction. That's fat that really responds to diet and exercise. The easy way to tell if you're a good candidate for abdominal liposuction is if you can pinch your abdominal fat that's fat that we can get with liposuction. If you can't pinch it we probably can't really get it that effectively with liposuction, and finally if you have any medical problems that make you not a great candidate for surgery then you also aren't a good candidate for liposuction. That's something that you should discuss with your primary care doctor.

Another very common and good question we get about liposuction is, “what is the recovery process like?” Most of our patients tell us that liposuction feels like a hard workout and I think that's a really good way to characterize it. A lot of our busy patients that have standard office jobs would like to have this procedure on a Friday; they can recover over the weekend. They wear their compression garment over the weekend, they take it off on Sunday evening and they're back to work on Monday, and most folks are back to the gym on Wednesday. You can expect to have some bruising for up to two weeks. The swelling will go down and you'll start to see some nice satisfying results in about two weeks. Most of your swelling will be gone in about three months and you'll have a pretty good idea of your final results in about three months as well.

So, I hope that this gives you a nice sense of a general overview of what you can expect from liposuction and who you know might be a good candidate for the procedure and who should maybe think about other options and we invite you to contact us and come in for a consultation so that we can discuss liposuction or other options and we hope you enjoy the rest of your day and we thank you for watching the video. Take care!

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