While diet and exercise are the first lines of defense against fat, even with these efforts, you may find that you still have pockets of stubborn fat that are resistant to traditional methods of weight loss. This excess fat can make you look older than you actually are, or make you feel like your fitness efforts aren’t worthwhile. As a result, many patients, opt for body contouring procedures like liposuction in Northern Virginia and Alexandria to get the upper hand over stubborn fat on areas like the hips, tummy, thighs, cheeks, and neck.
Liposuction is a method of body sculpting that allows you to remove targeted pockets of unwanted fat. This popular procedure uses a small device that consists of a powerful vacuum and a thin steel tube called a cannula. A small incision is made near the area to be treated, and the cannula is inserted, where it can effectively suction out fat. If you’re considering this option, learn how Dr. Eric Desman at the Virginia Center for Plastic Surgery can contour your body with long-lasting results.*
What Are the Most Common Areas Treated?
Hips and Abdomen: To remove fat deposits in these areas, incisions are placed in several locations around the area to allow for a crisscross pattern of suctioning. The incisions are very small and will be well camouflaged once they have healed.
Thigh: The thighs can constantly rub together which can be uncomfortable and may not be aesthetically appealing. Fat deposits in the thigh are suctioned out, creating space between the two regions.
Neck: Fat deposits in the neck are suctioned through a small incision made underneath your chin or behind your ear. The pad of fat beneath your chin can be removed and, because some adhesions form, there may be the added benefit of your skin tightening in this particular area.
During a consultation, Dr. Desman can assess the area in question to determine whether liposuction would help a patient in Alexandria or Northern Virginia.
Who Is an Ideal Candidate for Liposuction?
The best candidates for liposuction are people who have either lost weight already, or who have areas in which their fat deposits are disproportionate and are difficult to control using traditional diet and exercise. These areas differ from patient to patient, but they are frequently seen under the chin and in the hips, thighs, and abdomen.
There are two basic principles behind liposuction. The first is fairly obvious: when fat is suctioned out, this will change the volume of the area worked on, and thus the contour will change and improve. However, equally important is the skin’s ability to tighten up after the fat has been removed. This tightening process can continue for six-to-nine months after surgery. Your skin tone and ability to tighten up is an important factor in evaluating your candidacy for liposuction.
There are a handful of different liposuction techniques available in Northern Virginia or Alexandria, depending on your needs and preferences. All versions of liposuction essentially suction out excess fat, but there are variations in how this is done. To learn more about these differences, feel free to also watch our short interactive video.
In a tumescent liposuction procedure, the area in which liposuction is to be performed is anesthetized with a diluted local anesthetic containing lidocaine, epinephrine (adrenaline), and intravenous fluid. This solution causes the area to become numb to pain, and to become tumescent, or swollen and somewhat hardened. As a result, this lets Dr. Desman easily insert the cannula beneath the skin and better target areas where fat is to be removed. The adrenaline in the area causes blood vessels to constrict, leading to less blood loss and increasing our team’s ability to take out more fat. This technique also usually leads to reduced bruising and pain.
No matter how much you work out, you may find that you still have “love handles” or other areas of exercise-resistant fat that distracts from an otherwise chiseled appearance. With liposuction for men, you can refine areas of excess fat and restore a more masculine appearance to your body. While women have traditionally been the majority of patients seeking liposuction, more men in Northern Virginia and Alexandria are discovering the benefits of this powerful option. In fact, liposuction is now the most popular surgical cosmetic procedure performed on men in America today. Liposuction for men is also an excellent option for reducing fat in the breasts, neck, and body.
Finally, Lipo 360 (also known as 360 Lipo or circumferential liposuction) refers to a liposuction method where Dr. Desman performs the procedure three hundred and sixty degrees around the midsection. The most significant distinction separating a traditional procedure and Lipo 360 is that, while conventional liposuction concentrates on one particular spot at a time, Lipo 360 can target several regions simultaneously. The areas that our team can address through 360 lipo include the abdominals (upper or lower), the obliques, and the mid-to-lower back. You can learn more about the distinct benefits of this option during your initial consultation.
SAFELipo® is an innovative method of liposuction known for its 3-step process, which includes: fat separation, fat aspiration, and fat equalization. During the first step, Dr. Desman uses specialized probes with power-assisted technology to separate the fat without damaging surrounding tissues and blood vessels. Next, the fat is gently removed with a thin cannula. Lastly, the remaining layer of fat that is left after aspiration is equalized for an even, smooth appearance. This leaves a “blanket” of subcutaneous fat, preventing the skin’s dermis from adhering to the fascia and deeper tissues. SAFELipo® produces smooth, natural-looking results, is gentler to the surrounding tissues, and results in less bruising and swelling.
SAFELipo is Dr. Desman’s preferred approach to liposuction and is routinely combined with tumescent techniques and Lipo 360. Additionally, Dr. Desman is the only certified SAFELipo® surgeon in the metro DC area.
The Long-Term Results of Liposuction
Because liposuction surgery is a body contouring and sculpting technique, end results are measured primarily by the patient’s satisfaction.
It is important to note that, during the healing process, you usually do not see a measurable loss of weight. This is due to the combined effect of retained fluids following tumescent liposuction and post-operative swelling. Most of your results will be visible by four weeks after surgery, when your swelling has gone down. The final results of your procedure usually become apparent within six-to-twelve months, after your skin has tightened up.
A healthy diet and routine exercise are the keys to long-term satisfaction with liposuction. Patients who maintain a healthy diet and a regular exercise program are far more likely to either lose weight or maintain their newly contoured shape. In contrast, patients who have a poor diet and lack regular exercise are more likely to gain weight and feel dissatisfied with their surgery.
Caring for Liposuction Results
Watch this video to learn more about some key post-operation instructions following your liposuction surgery:
Talk With Our Team about Liposuction in Northern Virginia
It can be frustrating to notice that certain localized deposits of fat do not respond to diet and exercise. If you find yourself in this situation, you should remember that you have options for treatment through liposuction in Northern Virginia and Alexandria. There are a few different varieties of this procedure, and each offers distinct benefits. To receive personalized advice and figure out which option is best for you, contact us online today.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is The Procedure Permanent?
Many local patients want to know whether the areas of fat removed by liposuction are likely to return, but it really depends on several things.
Weight gain is attributable to two different factors: number of fat cells, and the size of those cells. In most minor weight gain, the increase in mass consists of an increase in the size of existing fat cells. However, fat cells can only expand to a point, so in some cases, including most cases of obesity and extreme weight gain, the body creates additional fat cells.
The liposuction process involves removing fat cells, so the procedure does decrease the total number of fat cells in the affected area, not the volume of the individual cells. These cells can and do repropagate, and the patient can regain the fat that was removed in proportion to the calories consumed vs. those expended. However, if the patient maintains a healthy diet and an active lifestyle, the removal of the fat cells should represent a permanent change to the proportions of the body.
Will Liposuction Give Me Visible Scars?
The incisions Dr. Desman makes during the liposuction procedure are very small and strategically placed. As they heal, most scars will not be noticeable.
Can Liposuction Help Me Lose Weight?
Liposuction is most effectively used as a way of reducing pockets of unwanted fat that have become resistant to diet and exercise. It is a body sculpting technique, not a weight loss technique, so it is not an effective substitute for a healthy diet and exercise. It is neither appropriate nor safe for use as a general weight loss tool.
What Is Recovery Like After Treatment?
Your recovery after liposuction will depend on the extent of the operation and the technique used. But in general, you should expect to have some fluid drainage from your incisions after surgery. You may also be required to wear a snug elastic garment, which will facilitate healing. For a few days after your liposuction, you will likely feel a bit sore, and you might experience swelling, bruising, and bleeding, but Dr. Desman can prescribe you pain medication to help with any discomfort. Most liposuction patients will be able to resume work within a few days or a week, but strenuous activity should be avoided for about a month so your body can fully heal. You can also view a comprehensive list of liposuction post-op instructions here.
What are Risks Associated with Liposuction?
Infections: Any surgical procedure carries some risk of infection. But because liposuction is a relatively noninvasive operation, those risks are small. Some physicians prescribe antibiotics as a matter of course to their patients, and others do not. In those rare cases when infections occur, they can usually be treated with antibiotics. However, in some very rare types of infection, such as necrotizing fasciitis or toxic shock syndrome, the condition can be fatal. Most liposuction infections can be effectively prevented simply by keeping the wound clean and watching the area carefully during the healing process.
Seroma: Serum is a clear yellow fluid contained in whole blood. Occasionally, the liposuction procedure can cause pooling of this serum under the skin, which is a condition known as seroma. If a seroma does occur, it can be treated by draining the area.
Nerve Compression: In some cases, the liposuction operation can result in nerve compression, causing a change in sensation at the site of the procedure. This may mean that the area is more or less sensitive than before. In most cases, this condition will pass during the recovery process, but in some rare cases, the change may be permanent.
Swelling: In some cases, swelling, also known as edema, will occur at the surgery site following a treatment. In the majority of these situations, this condition clears up quickly, but in rare cases, it can persist for weeks or even months following the procedure.
Fluid Imbalance: Fluid imbalance is an abnormality in the amount of fluids present in the body. After liposuction, this can mean either dehydration caused by the loss of liquid due to fat removal, or over hydration caused by the amount of fluid injected during the procedure. In either case, a skilled Alexandria and Northern Virginia surgeon will watch patients closely for early signs of fluid imbalances and take corrective actions as necessary.
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