Holiday Outfit a Tight Squeeze?

With the holidays approaching, getting a little tweak to look just right at all those office parties seems to be on everyone’s mind. On more than one occasion, someone has come in and lamented having found the perfect dress or the most AMAZING jacket – but it clings a little here or it pulls a little there. And they just can’t move the button over any more! Or there just isn’t a larger size in stock. “What,” this would-be sartorially spectacular partygoer wonders, “can we do to help?”

An “L” begins to roll off my tongue. No, not “let the pants out.” Liposuction. This procedure, one of the most commonly performed aesthetic surgeries in the world, remains one of the most mysterious and misunderstood cosmetic procedures available. This is in large part due to the fact that liposuction has rapidly and dramatically evolved from the days of its introduction without the public knowing about these leaps of progress. This is likely because those who have had the procedure tend to remain understandably tight-lipped about the process so as to protect their privacy. The fact is that liposuction can now be performed comfortably and safely in an office-based setting with a brief (weekend-long) recovery.

So, we’ve said that liposuction is very easy for the patient to get through. Specifically, if just one area is being done (say the love handles so those pants will close), this can happen with local numbing medication alone while you are awake and comfortable in under an hour. You can walk out of the operating room on a Friday afternoon, wear a compression garment for the weekend, and be back at work on Monday. What does it feel like? Most patients say “like a hard workout.” You’ll have some bruising and some swelling. The bruising will dissipate within two weeks. Enough of the swelling is gone by then as well such that you can see a nice result (and close the button). It will take 3-6 months to see the final result. If we are doing more than one area, we recommend “twilight” anesthesia so you are awake and breathing on your own, but very relaxed and a little “loopy.” If you prefer, you can be completely asleep as well.

What are the limits of liposuction? This is an important question. First, liposuction can dramatically reduce superficial fat. This is the fat that you can pinch or grab. However, it cannot get to your deep, or “visceral” fat beneath your abdominal wall. Deep fat can only be reduced with diet and exercised. Sorry. We can help to determine exactly what’s what during your consultation. Liposuction will not remove excess skin. If you have a lot of extra skin, you may end up with skin folds that you won’t like after the procedure. We can discuss this with you during your consultation as well. Finally, if you have a rectus diastasis (separation between your six-pack muscles) liposuction cannot address this issue. If you have significant skin excess or a rectus diastasis, you are likely better off with a tummy tuck depending on what your goals are. We are happy to help you with this decision.

In summary, liposuction is a fast, easy way to see an improvement for the holidays. Or to get into that amazing outfit any time of the year. As with anything else, understanding the process is key. We are happy to guide you every step of the way.

Office of Darren M. Smith, MD

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