What is Lipo360?
What is Lipo 360? Lipo 360 is essentially liposuction that targets multiple areas on the front, back and sides of your torso. Lipo 360 is a term that I generally like to avoid when speaking with my patients, and I'll go into why in a moment, but since it is a very frequently used term I'm going to go ahead and break it down here and try to clarify the terminology so that you can make sure you are on the same page as your surgeon when you're talking about your liposuction procedure.
So, Lipo 360 refers to the fact that you are doing liposuction around all 360 degrees of the circle that is your torso. And the areas that this might frequently include are your abdomen, your stomach, your waist, your flanks and your love handles and your back, including your upper back and your lower back, and on your sides in addition to your flanks and waist this is also including the underarm fat or axillary fat that's often a problem as it hangs over a bathing suit or a bra roll.
What’s wrong with the name “Lipo360”?
And the reason that I don't like the term Lipo 360 is that I’m a big fan of communicating very clearly with my patients to make sure that I understand their goals and their expectations so that together we can come up with a plan that's going to make them love their results. And with Lipo 360, because it's taking what is really an in-depth conversation of individual areas and kind of blanketing them under one term is over simplifies the conversation and really makes for a potential lack of clarity when a patient is communicating with his or her surgeon.
And what I mean by this is when we design a liposuction procedure, I like to individually assess my patient's anatomy in each area that we're treating. I like to look at their abdomen and come up with a plan, how much liposuction do they need? Do they need skin tightening in this area? And then we'll move on to the next area, their waist. And then we'll look at their axilar or their armpits and then we'll look at their back, we'll break their back into the upper back and the lower back and ask these same questions. How much suction should be done? How much skin tightening should be done? Are you a candidate for suction in this area?
And this is something that really is glossed over when we're having a term about Lipo 360 and it can often lead to a lack of clarity in conversation between patient and surgeon because it lends itself to coming up with a more generalized plan that isn't focused on the patient's individual needs.
The first thing that I'll do when someone comes into my office and says, "I'd like Lipo 360," is I'll say, "Well, what exactly do you mean? What's bothering you?" And we'll start breaking down their anatomical areas one by one and talking about their goals for each specific area. Now, that being said, I wanted to discuss some general questions about Lipo 360 because they do come up very frequently and this way you can have these answers when you are starting to think about your own liposuction procedure.
How does Lipo 360 work?
Well, it works just like other kinds of liposuction that we've discussed in other episodes with the caveat that before you have Lipo 360 you need to really sit down and decide exactly which areas you're going to have treated. And depending on the number of areas that you're going to have treated there are different kinds of anesthesia available. Generally with Lipo 360 since multiple areas are being treated, I will not perform this procedure with local anesthesia alone because I just don't think that the level of discomfort that is associated with having liposuction in multiple areas can be appropriately managed without some kind of systemic anesthesia. And this could be something like twilight anesthesia, which is medication that's administered through an IV to make you feel relaxed so you're not as concerned with what's going on. Or it could be general anesthesia which is where you're fully asleep and breathing with the assistance of a machine.
And in both of these instances, either with twilight anesthesia or with general anesthesia these are kinds of anesthesia that should be administered by a board certified anesthesiologist so that you can be adequately and safely monitored.
So, all of this is to say that Lipo 360 is always in my practice performed with either twilight anesthesia or general anesthesia. And once we've decided on the areas that are going to be treated with liposuction as part of a Lipo 360 procedure, they are carefully marked with the patient on the day of surgery. The patient is then brought back to the operating room and there they will either have their general anesthesia or twilight anesthesia induced by the board certified anesthesiologist that we're working with. And once they are in their anesthetic state we'll make several very small, very well hidden incisions, and we'll use these access incisions to instill numbing fluid or tumescent solution into the treatment areas. We'll allow this to work for 10 or 15 minutes to make sure the areas are very numb before we proceed with the actual liposuction procedure.
And once the numbing medicine has had a chance to do its job and make the areas numb, we'll go ahead and use long, thin instruments called cannulas to suction out the excess fat. And generally we'll start with the abdomen and then we'll carefully reposition the patient from side to side so that we can treat any areas on their sides that we need to get to. This could be the flanks, it could be that area under the armpit or the axillary fat. And then ultimately we'll put the patient on the operating room table carefully and gently in a position such that they're lying on their stomach so that we can adequately suction areas on their back that need to be treated as part of the Lipo 360 procedure.
What is Lipo360 + BBL?
Lipo 360 procedures are often combined with BBL's or Brazilian Buttock Lifts, and in these procedures the fat from the liposuction 360 procedure that was harvested will be grafted to the buttocks to either enhance their size or shape or both. And we have an earlier episode that deals with the fat grafting procedure in great depth. In any event, this fat grafting portion of Lipo 360 and BBL is performed when the patient is lying on their stomach on the operating room table.
At the conclusion of the procedure, the patient is then turned back over very gently and carefully so that they're lying on their back. And the result is inspected both by looking at the patient and feeling the areas that we treated to make sure that we're thrilled with the contour that we have achieved.
How long is recovery after Lipo 360?
This is the kind of procedure that in my practice can be performed on a Friday and most people can expect to be back at a standard desk job by the Monday after the procedure. So, busy professionals will often choose to have this kind of procedure on a Friday so they can just kind of relax and recover over the weekend and then get back to work the following week.
In terms of other aspects of recovery, do you have to wear a compression garment after Lipo 360? I generally have my patients wear a compression garment for just 48 hours after the liposuction procedure. And the reason for this is that the swelling after the procedures generally does peak in that 48 hour window and that is the primary job for these compression garments. It's to help keep the swelling under control. And wearing the garment beyond that 48 hour window really doesn't help that much and it start to run the risk of having contra-abnormalities due to extended pressure on the tissue as it's healing.
How much does Lipo 360 cost?
This is a very variable question and it has a lot to do with where your surgeon is located and the level of experience that your surgeon has. And it's also very variable because Lipo 360 remember is a vague term and it doesn't really describe how many areas are being treated with liposuction. So, we'll take the example of a Lipo 360 procedure that is suctioning the abdomen, the flanks, the underarm area and the upper and lower back. And this is a procedure that in a plastic surgery practice in New York City, which is the example that I'll use because that's where I'm located, if it's performed by a reputable plastic surgeon that's operating in a [inaudible 00:10:06] certified operating room and adhering to the highest safety standards and the surgeon is board certified, you're probably not going to be able to have that procedure performed for a lot less than about $8,500 to $12,000.
Now, there are much lower prices available, and that's because it's relatively easy to cut corners with this procedure for surgeons because not a lot of specialty equipment is necessary. A lot of people will take shortcuts with regards to the type of equipment they're using, the number and experience of the personnel in the room, and the overall quality of the experience that you're having.
Therefore, it’s important to make sure that you are asking all kinds of questions before you have a Lipo 360 procedure, such as, "Is your surgeon board certified? "What kind of staff are in the room? Will there be a nurse present? Will you be properly monitored? Will they be using sterile equipment? Will there be sterile drapes in place?" And "what is their experience like with this procedure? What kind of complications have they had? How did they deal with these complications? What hospital are they on the staff of, if they're performing this in an outpatient surgery center? How close is that hospital if a problem does arise?"
So, these are some of the questions to ask when you're choosing a surgeon for your Lipo 360 procedure. And the difficult advice that I would give is that if about $8,500 to $12,000 isn't in your budget, it might be best to hold off on having the procedure because while plastic surgery and liposuction in general is very safe, when we start to cut corners or go to people that are less experienced and not adhering to the highest safety standards, bad things can happen, and that's just not worth the savings in cost.