The happiest liposuction patients are those who understand their options and have realistic expectations for the outcome of their liposuction surgery. When Dr. Ditesheim asks patients “how would you like me to help you?” It doesn’t mean “let me treat every part of your body with liposuction to remove as much fat as possible.”
Most people considering fat removal surgery believe that all the problem areas can be treated at one time and there is a cost-saving benefit by combining it all into one procedure. If you are 110-140lb, treating one or multiple areas in one session is reasonable. If your weight is 180-200lb, more fatty tissue will need to be removed to create shape. As always, it’s important to remember that liposuction is not a weight-loss procedure. Board-certified plastic surgeons may recommend or require you lose weight before undergoing liposuction to ensure your safety.
Removing 3-4 pounds from the body has a completely different recovery than removing 10 pounds. If you choose a more extensive liposuction procedure, be prepared for a longer recovery, possibly more time out of work and a longer period of swelling as your body recovers. Here are a few questions that you should consider to help you create a realistic plan for your plastic surgery procedure.
Important Liposuction Questions Procedure
1. DO YOU WANT A SMALL (3-5LB) OR LARGE (8-10LB) AMOUNT OF FAT REMOVED?
Remember, liposuction procedures that remove more fat will give a “bigger” result but will have a longer recovery.
2. DO YOU WANT A SUBTLE IMPROVEMENT OR A DRAMATIC ONE?
Will a small amount of removed fat cells for improvement be satisfactory? If you want a bigger result, you can absolutely consider doing a two-stage body contouring procedure.
3. WHAT IS A “REASONABLE” RECOVERY PERIOD FOR YOUR JOB AND LIFESTYLE?
Remember, the bigger the procedure, the more fat removed, the more swelling you could have and the longer it may take for your body to heal. This means not everyone has the flexibility and time off for significant body contouring procedures.
4. WOULD YOU PREFER BEING AWAKE OR ASLEEP DURING THE PROCEDURE?
Awake plastic surgery procedures allow you to drive yourself home and get back to work quickly, but it is usually not recommended for removing large excess fat deposits.
5. DO YOU HAVE RISK FACTORS FOR TUMESCENT LIPOSUCTION?
Safety is always the number one priority. Removing too much fat from someone who is not a good candidate due to certain risk factors can result in negative side effects.
6. ARE YOU AWARE THAT RECOVERY TIME IS NOT THE SAME FOR EVERYONE?
Higher-weight patients will have more swelling after liposuction, and therefore a longer recovery time.
What are the advantages of Doing Liposuction Awake?
Without using IV sedation or general anesthesia, there is less stress on the body and a shorter recovery time. Once the procedure is completed, you sit up and literally walk out of the operating room. Being awake, you can drive yourself to and from the surgery center. It is similar to going to the dentist, who can “block” an area to be numb while you are awake and perform the procedure comfortably.
There are patients who have undergone Aquashape liposuction without general anesthesia who returned to work on the same day, though most return after 1-2 days or after the weekend. There is also the advantage of saving the professional anesthesia fees which start at $900. You can learn more about costs here.
What Are the Disadvantages of Performing Liposuction Awake?
Having a surgical procedure awake is not for everyone. Some simply prefer not to be awake, others feel anxious about being awake, and sometimes the procedure is too long or too complex to do under local anesthesia. If the area has been previously treated, there may be more scar tissue, which would require general anesthesia. While liposuction under local anesthetic does save the general anesthesia cost, you should not decide to have local anesthesia only to save money.
Dr. Ditesheim tells patients that they “won’t feel 90% of what he is doing” under local anesthesia. The tumescent solution (dilute local anesthesia medicine) is infused in the area where the fat will be removed. Beyond the perimeter of the numb zone, sensation will be normal. One advantage of being awake is that if you feel discomfort during the procedure, you can tell Dr. Ditesheim to add more numbing medicine.
Patients that desire more fat removed, longer procedures (longer than 90 minutes), or patients who need more intensive monitoring are better treated being asleep.
When you do go to sleep for the procedure, professional anesthesia care, provided by an anesthesiologist, another doctor, ensures the safety of removing your stubborn fat deposits.
Consultation With a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon
Liposuction is a great way to get rid of localized fat whether in small or large amounts, but it isn’t always the best option for achieving the body contour you want. If you have excess or loose skin, liposuction may make this worse, and other procedures, like a tummy tuck, may be a better cosmetic procedure.