In this week’s video edition of #AskDrBirchenough, I answer the question: “How does liposuction work?” For more information, please visit www.birchenoughmd.com/liposuctionsmartlipo.
Patients frequently ask about liposuction and whether it is appropriate for “THIS” – as they grab a certain part of their body they aren’t so happy with – jowls, under chin or neck, bra line on the side of their chest, their love handles, their lower abdomen, their inner thighs, etc.
My answer is always a little tongue-in-cheek “I can liposuction just about anything with fat in it, but should I?”
The appeal of liposuction over other methods such as excision of skin and fat is known: less invasive surgery, less downtime, smaller scars, less costly, etc.
The factors that go into being able to do liposuction successfully are many, but one of the most important factors is the overlying skin tone and elasticity. Because liposuction by definition removes fat (and affects tightening of the skin in varying amounts), it is the skin that then has to contract to provide a good contour and look after the appropriate amount of fat is removed.
Take the patients shown as examples:
Patient 1 (on left) has a moderate amount of fat in her lower abdomen and flanks, with very good skin tone, texture and elasticity. There are no stretch marks or loose skin. If I remove fat from her, I can trust that her skin will tighten up afterwards (usually reaching it’s final tightness after about 3 months.) She’s a very good candidate for liposuction!
Patient 2 (on right) also with a moderate amount of fat, on the other hand, has much looser, inelastic skin in the lower abdomen. She has significant stretch marks, and some of the loose, thin skin is already starting to overhang. While I could do liposuction on her, she would be very disappointed because her skin will be even more loose and floppy! A much better procedure for her would be an abdominoplasty (tummy-tuck) to remove that extra, loose skin along with the underlying fat. However, a long scar and recovery time would be needed.
Read more about liposuction and abdominoplasty by visiting http://birchenoughmd.com/liposuctionsmartlipo/ and http://birchenoughmd.com/abdominoplasty/ and then come in for a consultation to discuss it further! SB