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Liposuction procedures have come a very long way since taking off in the early 1980s, so much so that there are now at least four different types of liposuction procedures available to you:

Liposuction is one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries performed in the U.S. today. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported that liposuction procedures were the third most popular surgical cosmetic procedure performed in 2014 (behind breast augmentation and nose reshaping).

Traditionally, liposuction has referred to removing fat from an individual’s body with a slender and hollow instrument called a cannula (it looks like a long metal straw). The surgeon removes the fat by placing the cannula through a tiny incision and attaching it to a suction machine, which then literally sucks the unwanted fat out from the body.

Liposuction surgical procedures are safe and patients tend to be among the most satisfied of cosmetic surgery patients, with the ASPS reporting in 2012 that 80 percent of those patients undergoing liposuction only were very pleased with the results, while 90 percent of those patients who underwent only an abdominoplasty procedure (the “tummy tuck”) said they were very pleased.

However, 99 percent of those patients who underwent both a liposuction and a “tummy tuck” reported being very satisfied with their results.

Most liposuction patients, however, opt for sculpting with liposuction to remove fat from their thighs, hips, arms, abdomen, and/or neck. Here in Las Vegas, most people request liposuction on the flanks (commonly known as “love handles”). Thanks to the various options available, just about any area of the body with excessive fat can be treated with liposuction.

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An Overview of Liposuction Surgery’s Benefits, What the Procedure Can and Cannot Do, Recovery, and Risks

This page is an overview description of the benefits of liposuction procedures, the general risks of these procedures, and what you can expect during recovery. For more detailed information on these different liposuction procedures, please take a look at the different pages by clicking on the links above, or in the sub-menu to the right.

The Benefits of Liposuction Surgery

Many of us find that we have areas of fat that just won’t go away no matter how much we diet or exercise. Women notice this most often in their hips/flanks, thighs, upper arms, and abdomen, while men usually desire to have fat removed from their neck, abdomen and the flanks (the aforementioned “love handles”).

Why is harder to lose fat from these areas? Hormonal and/or genetic influences – especially in women – usually are the culprit. For example, a woman whose mother had “saddlebags” on her upper thighs may also notice them on herself.

If this is the case for you, liposuction may be the best solution. In fact, some of our patients have been able to accomplish more with liposuction surgery than they could with years of diet and exercise alone!

Body Contouring with Liposculpture

Liposculpture (or body contouring surgery) is a bit different than traditional liposuction. Liposculpture is the process where your surgeon removes fat in order to “sculpt” the body’s shape. Dr. Smith is particularly skilled at liposculpture using varying techniques such as Smart Lipo and Vaser Liposuction.

For example, a woman desiring a curvier waist could have liposculpture performed in order to better define her waist.

Please note that when performing body contouring surgery, Dr. Smith may decide to keep some of the fat in your body that he would otherwise remove if performing liposuction. This helps provide you with a better appearance and shape.

What Liposuction and Liposculpture Can – and Cannot – Do

Liposuction and liposculpture are great for those areas of the body that are resisting weight loss, such as the knees, hips, thighs (saddlebags), love handles, neck (“turkey neck”), or upper arms. Ideally, you should be someone who is already at your ideal weight.

Liposuction is not the proper procedure for general weight loss or obesity. Most liposuction procedures are limited to the removal of eight pounds of fat — at most — at a time. While it is possible to perform a series of liposuction procedures over time, liposuction and liposculpture are not the proper procedure if you are expecting significant weight loss.

While liposculpture can sometimes improve the appearance of cellulite, it can’t remove it. In addition, liposuction procedures may not correct stretch marks or the loose skin that sometimes appears after pregnancy. Sometimes patients aren’t candidates for liposuction, and in some cases Dr. Smith will recommend a tummy tuck procedures instead.

Your skin tone also has a big role in your liposuction results. Skin that lacks elasticity – due to age, sun exposure, large fluctuations in weight, smoking, and/or excessive alcohol intake – may not “shrink” to match your smaller size and so may sag and/or form irregular contours. This can be difficult to correct and if Dr. Smith feels that your skin isn’t toned enough to shrink properly, he may recommend a different procedure, such as a thigh lift, arm lift or tummy tuck.

What to Expect In Your Recovery

As with any surgery, you will experience some pain and discomfort, as well as bruising and swelling. With most liposuction procedures, Dr. Smith will recommend that you not return to work or other activities for the first few days. Final results are usually seen after six months.

Dr. Smith’s staff will place you in a compression garment similar to tight bicycle shorts or Spanx after your surgery. You should wear the garment day and night for at least two to four weeks (with some exceptions, such as when showering). The compression garment helps your skin tighten and keeps the liposuctioned area smooth. You should be able to return to a full exercise routine within approximately two weeks after most of the liposuction procedures.

Will My Fat Come Back?

This question probably is the one our patients ask us the most. In short, the answer is no. Once we become adults, we don’t add or subtract fat cells (unless we become massively obese).

Therefore the number of fat cells we have is fairly constant once we become adults. Fat cells act like balloons: they expand greatly when we gain weight and they deflate when we lose weight, but we don’t “lose” fat cells when we lose weight.

Liposuction/liposculpture, however, does remove fat cells, and once they’re gone, the area from which they were removed remains resistant to weight gain – forever!

Liposuction patients can gain weight overall within their remaining fat cells, but the problem areas liposuctioned should no longer be problem areas, unless patients gain a large amount of weight.

Scheduling an Appointment for Liposuction/Liposculpture

People come to Las Vegas from all over the United States to have liposuction surgery performed by Dr. Smith. To discuss this surgery with Dr. Smith – and to see if you’re a good candidate for liposuction – call Smith Plastic Surgery at 702-838-2455 or send us an e-mail at info@smithsurgery.com.

Patients who live far from Las Vegas may arrange a consultation via phone or e-mail.