If you struggle to maintain a healthy weight, or if you’re unhappy with the appearance of your body, you might consider a surgical procedure to set things right. For many years, the go-to procedure was liposuction, a technique that utilizes a vacuum to physically remove fat from different areas of the body—including the hips, thighs, stomach, and buttocks.
This procedure is still available, and is commonly used, but it naturally has some drawbacks, including the development of sagging skin, and asymmetrical or incomplete fat removal.
Now, a new procedure called laser liposuction is beginning to gain popularity. But what is this technique, how does it work, and how can you tell if you’re a good candidate?
Laser Liposuction in San Francisco: How Does It Work?
There are a few different types of laser liposuction, but one of the most common procedures begins by making a few small incisions in the part of the body to be treated. Then, a saline solution containing lidocaine and epinephrine is introduced to the area. This collection of compounds will assist with the surgical procedure, reduce bleeding, and ultimately reduce the pain you experience after the procedure.
At this point, the plastic surgeon begins to use the fiber-optic lasers. These instruments can use lasers at many different wavelengths to reduce the size of fat cells; destroyed fat cells are removed through the incisions that have already been created. This process also facilitates the production of collagen, which makes your skin taut. As a result, you won’t have the sagging skin or wrinkles that typically develop from traditional liposuction. Finally, light compression is applied to reduce the possibility of swelling post-surgery.
Overall, the procedure lasts one to two hours, and is considered an outpatient procedure. Depending on the scope of the procedure and your characteristics as a patient, you may receive local or general anesthesia. Oftentimes, laser liposuction is targeted to a specific area of the body, like your stomach or hips, so local anesthesia is preferred.
Many patients are able to see the results they want after only a single procedure. However, for more complex areas, you may need to attend multiple sessions.
Laser liposuction in San Francisco is generally considered safe, and most patients don’t experience any lingering side effects or consequences. However, there’s a chance you’ll see some bruising, swelling or pain in the days following the procedure. Most patients fully recover in five to seven days, during which you may be unable to work. You’ll also be required to wear a light compression device, beginning immediately after the procedure, and for a period of a few days.
Advantages Over Traditional Liposuction
There are several advantages of laser liposuction over traditional liposuction, including:
- Minimal invasiveness. First, there’s the minimal invasiveness of the procedure. Because you’re using the power of fiber-optic lasers, the incision needed is minimal. Accordingly, effects like bruising and swelling are reduced.
- All-in-one procedure. In a typical liposuction procedure, you may be left with excess skin, which requires a second or even a third procedure to tighten. This is both costly and stressful. By contrast, laser liposuction is an all-in-one procedure (in most cases).
- Though the difference is minor, liposuction can take up to four hours, while laser liposuction is usually done in just an hour or two. The recovery time for both procedures is mostly the same.
- Immediate skin tightening. The laser liposuction procedure is about reducing fat, but it also has a secondary benefit of tightening the skin. You won’t have to deal with any sagging or excess skin, and you can feel even more confident in your body when the procedure is done.
- Lower costs (overall). Initially, laser liposuction is more expensive than a traditional liposuction procedure. However, with traditional liposuction, you’ll also likely need one or more follow-up procedures. Overall, laser liposuction can be the less expensive of the two.
If you’re interested in learning more about the differences between traditional liposuction and laser liposuction, be sure to discuss the options with your plastic surgeon. They may have a recommendation for one over the other.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Laser Liposuction in San Francisco?
While many people will be qualified as candidates for laser liposuction, the parameters are a bit more restrictive than with traditional liposuction procedures. For example, most plastic surgeons recommend laser liposuction only for people who are 25 pounds overweight or less. If you’re interested in reducing your weight by 100 pounds, for example, this may not be the procedure for you.
Additionally, this procedure is best used for the spot-reduction of problematic areas, rather than whole-body weight reduction for health concerns. For example, you may be a good candidate if you’re interested in reducing the fat around your thighs. If you’re very overweight and your doctor has advised you to live a healthier lifestyle, laser liposuction may not be able to help you.
It’s also helpful if you are already in good health, with good skin elasticity. If you have underlying health problems, it could complicate the procedure, and if you struggle with inelastic or sagging skin, you may not be able to make as seamless a recovery.
Preparing for Laser Liposuction in San Francisco
If you’re interested in a laser liposuction procedure, your first step is to talk to a San Francisco plastic surgeon like David Sieber, MD. about your options. Your plastic surgeon will discuss the possibilities of the procedure, and help you assess your personal risks. They will be able to provide you with direction for what to do next. Depending on your current circumstances, you may need to temporarily cease taking certain medications or supplements up to two weeks before surgery (after talking to your primary doctor).
Do you have any questions about the laser liposuction procedure in San Francisco? Are you ready for a free consultation, to see if laser liposuction is right for you? Contact us today and schedule your consultation!