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Liposuction and Smart Lipo

Overview

The most popular cosmetic surgery procedure in the U.S. today, liposuction sculpts the body by removing undesirable fat from areas of the body that have not responded to diet and exercise. Local anesthesia or general anesthesia may be used and can last anywhere from one to five hours depending on the amount of fat being removed. While men have specific areas that are usually treated; belly, flanks and chest, other areas can be helped: chin, neck, lower back and waist and sometimes arms and legs. The best results from liposuction of any type come from areas where the skin has the ability to “bounce-back” (elasticity) after the deeper layers of fat are removed. Discussing the amount of “outside” fat (layers of fat just beneath the skin) versus “inside” fat (fat that is deep inside beneath the muscles and surrounding the abdominal organs) is critical to achieving realistic expectations on the abdomen after liposuction.

During your private, detailed consultation, Dr. Birchenough will examine your areas of concern and help you decide if liposuction is right for you, or if the skin needs to be addressed separately with a different type of procedure.

Smart Lipo

A unique type of liposuction, laser body sculpting with Smart Lipo can reduce body fat in areas that are haven’t changed, despite your efforts with diet and exercise. Like traditional liposuction, Smart Lipo is not a weight loss solution or a fix for obesity. It is however, an excellent way to remove localized areas of body fat and help tighten the deeper layers of the overlying skin, with minimal pain and downtime.

This procedure is especially effective in reaching areas that traditional liposuction often cannot treat as well. SmartLipo is designed to remove localized areas of fat and can be used on the following areas:

  • Waistline and “love handles”
  • Abdomen, “beer belly”
  • Chin, neck and cheeks (see facial procedures)
  • Male breast tissue (gynecomastia)

Surgeons can use different methods when performing Smart Lipo or standard liposuction; Dr Birchenough uses tumescent liposuction, which is the most common, safest type. Tumescent liposuction uses fluid injection, which facilitates fat removal, reduces blood loss, provides anesthesia during and after surgery, and helps to reduce the amount of bruising after surgery.

What Can I Expect During a Smart Lipo Procedure?

Typically, SmartLipo liposuction can be done in the clinic with oral sedating medicine and local anesthesia injected in the area to be worked on. If there is a significant amount of liposuction to be done, or if multiple areas on the body need to be treated, then Dr. Birchenough may recommend general anesthesia in the hospital operating room. Tumescent fluid is gently placed into the layers of fat to be removed and under the skin. This solution helps fluff up the fat and skin so it can be more safely treated with the laser, and help make it easier to remove the fat.

During a Smart Lipo procedure, Dr. Birchenough uses a very small 2 mm tube that is equipped with a laser fiber. He will insert the tube beneath your skin, and then move it back and forth to deliver laser energy to the fat cells. The fat cells rupture and drain away, allowing for easy removal with liposuction. Meanwhile, the laser energy causes a collagen-shrinking effect in the tissue, which provides minor skin-tightening after the procedure. Next, anther type of cannula (“hollow tube”) is inserted to suction out the broken up fat and fluid, as in standard liposuction. The small incisions are usually closed with sutures and a compression garment is placed to help control swelling.

How Long Will It Take For Me to Recover?

After Smart Lipo, you’ll be sore and a little swollen for a few days. Dr. Birchenough can provide pain relievers to keep you comfortable. He may also advise you to wear a special compression garment to speed healing. Everyone’s recovery is slightly different, but most patients can return to work within a few days.

Depending on the number of areas and the amount of fat removed, patients will be walking around the day after surgery, and returning to most normal activities within 2-4 days. Strenuous exercise is usually started back by 3 weeks or so. Again, the need for compression garments to reduce swelling and improve healing time is required. During recovery, you may notice some skin-tightening effects around the treated areas. These changes may continue for up to six months after your Smart Lipo procedure

What Questions Should I Ask Dr. Birchenough?

  • “Can SmartLipo help my areas of concern more than traditional liposuction?”
  • “Which of my body areas and fat type would respond well to SmartLipo?”
  • “Should I have abdominoplasty or just get SmartLipo?”

Liposuction

What Can I Expect During a Liposuction Procedure?

Small incisions are then made in as inconspicuous places as possible. A cannula (small hollow tube) is then inserted and moved back-and-forth beneath the skin, breaking up the fat layer and suctioning it out with the injected fluid.

How Long Will It Take For Me to Recover?

After liposuction, you’ll be sore and a little swollen for a few days. Dr. Birchenough can provide pain relievers to keep you comfortable. He will likely advise you to wear a special compression garment to speed healing, and keep swelling under control. Everyone’s recovery is slightly different, but most patients can return to work within a few days. The best results of liposuction are noticed at 3- 6 months after the procedure, as long as there is no significant weight gain. However, most patients notice changes within a few weeks.

Strenuous exercise can be restarted at about 3-4 weeks, but Dr. Birchenough encourages patients to start some low cardio activities within a few days, with the compression garments in place. Job restrictions will depend on how much lifting is necessary or how strenuous your job is.

What Questions Should I Ask Dr. Birchenough?

  • “How much of my belly fat is ‘inside’ versus ‘outside’ and how will this affect my liposuction results?”