Tucson Liposuction Surgery Information, Benefits and Risks

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What is liposuction?

Liposuction is a surgical procedure that physically removes fat cells via blunt cannulas and suction through small incisions.

When is liposuction used?

Liposuction is best for people who are young, healthy and within their normal weight range. People that have the most success from liposuction are those who want better contour in a few “problem areas”. People who want to use liposuction as a weight reduction operation are not typically good candidates. People with loose skin after childbirth or weight loss may be better candidates for an abdominoplasty, where extra skin is removed along with the fat.

What is involved in a consultation?

When you come in for your initial consultation, you will meet with both Dr. Maloney and Lindsay, the clinical coordinator. Dr. Maloney will examine you to determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure. He will also discuss details of the operation, show you before and after photos and answer any questions you may have. Lindsay will then review surgical fees, financing options and answer additional questions. If you choose to have surgery, you will return for another consultation about two weeks prior to your operation. At this second appointment, Dr. Maloney will review the surgical plan with you and go through consent forms, take pre-operative photographs and give you your prescriptions. Lindsay will go over all of your surgical instructions and give you a packet of information so when you leave you have everything you need for surgery.

How do I prepare for liposuction?

After meeting with Dr. Maloney and choosing a surgical date for your liposuction, you should plan for your care and recovery after the operation. You will need to arrange a ride to and from the surgery center the day of surgery and arrange for someone to stay with you for the first 24 hours. You should take 3-7 days off of work for this operation depending on the type of work you do (speak to Lindsay, Dr. Maloney’s Clinical Coordinator for additional information). If your employer requires paperwork for time off, please obtain it ahead of time and bring it to our office. If you smoke, you must quit a minimum of two weeks before surgery. We suggest 6-8 weeks, but two weeks is the minimum. Smokers heal slower and can have wound healing problems. If you take aspirin or other medications that can cause bleeding, you should stop taking it three weeks before surgery because it causes increased bleeding and therefore more bruising. If you are taking any diet pills (prescription or over-the-counter) or Metformin (a common diabetes medication), you should stop one week prior to surgery to avoid anesthesia risks. All medications, herbs, vitamins and dietary supplements you take should be carefully reviewed with Dr. Maloney prior to surgery. If you are under the care of a physician for any health issues, we may require surgical clearance from your physician and/or cardiologist.

At your pre-operative consultation with Dr. Maloney you will be given a map to the surgery center and your prescriptions. Get these prescriptions filled before surgery so they are at home when you need them. You should find a few old towels to put on your bed, the couch and in your friend’s car on the way home from surgery. You may ooze fluid after surgery through your small incisions. Be advised that you are not bleeding. Pick up some bags of frozen peas or corn to use as icepacks after your procedure. You need to stay hydrated, so have plenty of water or sports drinks around the house. You should also start taking a stool softener as narcotic pain medication and anesthesia can make you constipated.

The morning of surgery you may not have anything to eat or drink after midnight, this includes water. Take a shower using an antimicrobial soap on the areas you are having liposuction. Do not put any lotions, deodorant or make-up on the day of surgery. Do not wear any jewelry to the surgery center. You should wear comfortable clothes that are easy to get on and off. A shirt that zips or buttons up the front is preferable, as are loose workout pants or sweat pants. Bring your photo ID when you check-in to the surgery center. You will be taken back to the pre-operating area where Dr. Maloney will come and discuss the plan again, answer any additional questions you have and mark the surgical site. You will also meet the anesthesiologist and ask him/her any questions you may have.

How is liposuction performed?

The operation takes about 1-3 hours depending on how much fat needs to be removed. The anesthesiologist will put you to sleep for this operation for safety and comfort. Dr. Maloney will make several small incisions and inject a tumescent fluid (saline, epinephrine and lidocaine). He will then use blunt tipped cannulas to break up and remove the fat cells using suction. A compression garment will also be placed. You will wake up in the recovery room and be ready to go home in about an hour.

What should I expect after surgery?

You will wear a compression garment over the surgical area to minimize swelling and bruising. You may ooze some fluid from the incisions, but this is normal. You should rest and eat a healthy diet high in protein to speed up recovery. You should also avoid alcohol and refrain from smoking. All surgeons recommend early and frequent ambulation after surgery to reduce the risk of blood clot formation in the legs and to speed up recovery. You may be stiff and sore when you first get up and walk around. The more you are up walking around the better you will feel. You will be swollen after surgery. It takes about three weeks to see results, so be patient during the recovery process. You may remove your dressings and shower 1-3 days after surgery depending on what our office tells you. You will also return to the office for your first post-operative exam 1-3 days after surgery. A low-grade fever is not uncommon after any surgical procedure. If you have any questions during the recovery phase, please do not hesitate to call our office any time, day or night.

What are the benefits of liposuction?

After the procedure your “problem areas” will be minimized and you will have small incisions that typically heal quite well.

What are the risks of liposuction?

Liposuction has both aesthetic and health risks, and it is the patient’s personal decision whether the benefits outweigh those risks. Common risks include scaring, asymmetry, excessive firmness, or changes in skin sensation. There are also more uncommon, complicated risks such as infection, bleeding or deep vein thrombosis. For a full list of risks, go to plasticsurgery.org.