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Understanding the Before and After of Liposuction

Many individuals struggle with excess fat on their body. When exercise and a healthy diet fail to eliminate these unwanted fat bulges, liposuction is often a great option for achieving your desired body contour. It’s often referred to as “lipo” and helps to slim and reshape certain areas of your body by removing these excess fat deposits and improving the proportion and contours of your body.

Lipo can target numerous body areas, including your:

  • Thighs
  • Hips
  • Abdominal region
  • Neck and Jaw
  • Arms

Liposuction is the most common plastic surgery procedure in the United States, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, with over 400,000 lipo procedures done annually.

Knowing exactly what you can expect before and after liposuction and following your doctor’s post-care instructions can help you achieve those amazing results you’re looking for.

What to Expect Before Liposuction

Before deciding on liposuction, you should understand what liposuction does and doesn’t do.

Generally speaking,  liposuction helps you become “a smaller version of you” by removing excess fat. It provides body shaping and contouring. Most individuals having lipo are highly satisfied with their results, and if given the chance, would do it again.

An important concept to understand thought is what liposuction doesn’t do. For instance, it doesn’t tighten loose muscles or skin. If your tummy jiggles, it will likely jiggle after your procedure. If your muscles are loose, they’ll be loose after lipo. If you have stretch marks or cellulite, you’ll have them after your procedure.

While liposuction may help you to lose some weight (generally one to ten pounds), that’s not the primary goal of liposuction. Lipo is intended to help you shape and contour your body in the areas you’re concerned about. You should also know that like with any surgery, there are risks, which you should discuss with your plastic surgeon.

Are You a Good Candidate for Liposuction?

Before setting up your San Francisco Bay Area liposuction appointment, you’ll first want to know if you’re even a good candidate for this procedure. Again, realistic expectations are important. Lipo is a surgical procedure and it does come with its own risks. So, you’ll need to be healthy before you undergo it. This means you need to at least:

  • Have elastic, firm skin
  • Be within 30 percent of your ideal weight
  • Have a positive and realistic outlook for your liposuction results
  • Are bothered by excess fat deposit, but haven’t been successful in losing them through diet and exercise.

Good candidates for liposuction:

  • Don’t smoke
  • Don’t have blood flow issues
  • Don’t have diabetes
  • Don’t have heart disease
  • Don’t a weak immune system

Additionally, if you have an abundant amount of loose-hanging skin, liposuction may not be right for you, but speak to your plastic surgeon to discuss your specific situation.

Getting Prepared for Lipo

Your first step will be to consult with the plastic surgeon. Discuss your goals, the benefits and risks, the options and costs. Make sure you ask them all your questions. If you do decide to have lipo, your plastic surgeon will provide you with instructions on how you should prepare for it properly.

These may include:

  • Telling you about alcohol and diet restrictions.
  • Asking you for information on any allergies you have or if you’re taking any medications, including herbal and over-the-counter supplements or drugs. They’ll likely ask you to stop taking specific medications like certain painkillers or blood thinners a few weeks before your procedure.
  • Telling you to have someone to take you home after your procedure.
  • Being prepared that you may need to stay overnight if you’re having a great deal of fat removed and you need to have the surgery performed in the hospital.

Before your procedure begins, the surgeon may mark up the body areas you’ll receive treatment. They might also take photos to use for “before and after” pictures.

Your surgeon may give you general anesthesia, meaning you will be asleep during the procedure. In some cases, you might only need local anesthesia, meaning you’ll be awake, but won’t feel any pain.

What to Expect After Liposuction

After your surgery, you can expect to experience some:

  • Mild discomfort
  • Redness
  • Bruising
  • Swelling

Your doctor may prescribe you medication to ease this discomfort. You’ll likely need to wear a compression garment to promote healing and reduce swelling. Swelling typically starts reducing after your first week, but you’ll still need to wear the compression garments until week four or as your surgeon directs. You may experience swelling that lasts longer than six weeks, however, usually within a few days, you’re comfortable enough to go back to work.

During the procedure, the surgeon will make small incisions to remove the extra fat cells. They’re made in inconspicuous places where they’re less noticeable. The surgeon will provide you with post-care instructions for these incisions after your surgery. The instructions will help ensure they heal with minimal scarring.

It’s likely you won’t see immediate results. If anything, you may even feel like you’ve gained weight or appear larger in the treated area for a short time. This is normal. Although lipo can eliminate up to 10 pounds of fat cells, swelling and fluid retention can make you appear bloated. Once the swelling begins going down, you’ll start seeing results.

You might also notice some of your skin in the treated area appears loose. This skin should firm up over time. But, depending on various factors like how much fat was removed and your age, you might require surgical intervention to tighten up the skin. Each individual is different and your surgeon will talk about skin tightening with you as part of your body contour procedure if needed.

Depending on the amount of fat removed, you should expect to see your final results within one to three months following your procedure. With just one procedure, you can expect noticeable changes and improvements to your body’s contours. Remember, results may vary for each individual, and before and after photos and content do not guarantee specific results.

Request a Liposuction Consultation

Now that you know what to expect before and after liposuction, it’s time to contact San Francisco Plastic Surgery with Dr. Sieber.  Dr. David A. Sieber is a double board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon who welcomes patients not only in the San Francisco Bay Area, but also embraces traveling patients who live “out of town”.

*Disclaimer: Results may vary from person to person. Editorial content, before and after images, and patient testimonials do not constitute a guarantee of specific results.

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