11 Questions to Ask Before Getting Liposuction

Different perspectives and surgical markings for a woman undergoing liposuction

Plastic surgery can solve a lot of problems for people. It allows patients to improve their appearance, boost their self-esteem, and feel confident in their bodies. Liposuction is one of the most popular plastic surgeries for several reasons. Multiple areas can be targeted in one single surgery, and it’s an outpatient surgery with minimal downtime. Patients can return to work in a couple of days. Without a doubt, a liposuction is a useful tool for sculpting your body and getting rid of stubborn fat, but it’s not a replacement for exercise and a healthy diet. If you’re looking for a quality plastic surgeon in Atlanta, read this. In this quick guide to liposuction, we’ll answer some of our most frequently asked questions about liposuction and help you make an informed decision about whether the procedure is right for you.  

1. What Exactly is Liposuction?

First, you need to know what liposuction is and how it is performed.  Liposuction or liposculpture breaks down and removes subcutaneous fat. It’s often confused with a tummy tuck, but the two are quite different. A tummy tuck is a surgical procedure used to remove loose skin that’s common after pregnancy or extensive weight loss. Liposuction, on the other hand, doesn’t tighten skin. It only reduces fat deposits. 

2. What are the Most Common Treatment Areas for Liposuction?

  • Abdomen
  • Arms
  • Flanks
  • Neck Under the Chin
  • Outer and Inner Thighs

During your consultation, we can best advise you where it would benefit you the most. We all metabolize and store fat in different ways so that the target area will differ from patient to patient.  

3. Am I a Good Candidate for Liposuction?

Non-smokers who are in good physical condition and at a healthy weight are the top candidates. The ideal patient has subcutaneous fat that just won’t budge no matter what exercise or meal plan you follow. Individuals with visceral fat, that is, fat surrounding their abdominal organs, are not typically good candidates for this procedure. Liposuction can only address the fat in the subcutaneous layer of your skin. 

During your consultation, we will evaluate the elasticity of your skin. As we age, our skin loses collagen and firmness. To get the best results from liposuction, your skin must be firm and have a good rebound. Patients with cellulite are not usually recommended for liposuction as the procedure can make cellulite worse or result in lumps underneath your skin. If you have reached or are close to your ideal weight but still have pudges or extra fat in certain places, you may be a good candidate for liposuction.

4. How Much Fat Can be Taken Out in One Procedure?

One of the best things about liposuction is that it’s a quick procedure. Taking out fat from multiple places is possible if your surgeon is skilled enough. In general, though, the quantity of fat that can be extracted in a single treatment varies depending on several factors. The skill of the surgeon is one factor. As some of the most experienced and best liposuction surgeons in Atlanta, we pride ourselves on being able to tackle multiple fatty deposits in one treatment. 

When deciding how much fat to take out, the patient’s desires are taken into account, but ultimately the surgeon will make the final decision on how much fat can safely be removed. If we think it’s safer to remove fat in different treatments, we’ll advise you of that. Remember that liposuction is meant to happen after you have gotten close to your goal weight. And if you don’t continue to eat well and work out, the fat could come back over time. 

5. How do I Prepare for a Liposuction Procedure? 

First, work hard to get to your ideal weight and maintain it. Only then will you be truly satisfied with your results. Liposuction is a useful tool in body shaping, but it’s no replacement for a healthy lifestyle. 

Before your surgery, you will receive full pre-surgery instructions. But know that you will need someone to drive you home and help out with your aftercare, so plan ahead and make arrangements. Pre-surgery, we will go over your routine medication and may have you temporarily stop some of them. Blood thinners and aspirin, for example, have to be discontinued a few days before the procedure. If needed, we will do pre-op bloodwork to be sure it’s safe for you to go under anesthesia. On the day of the procedure, you will need to come with an empty stomach. 

6. How is the Procedure Performed? 

Liposuction is an outpatient surgery that usually takes about an hour. Before the fat is extracted, a solution is inserted under your skin to help break up the fight and reduce bleeding. While under anesthesia, the surgeon will make small incisions in your skin, then insert a slender tube called a cannula. The fat is then suctioned out. The fat can be removed in two ways, either via a syringe or via a suctioning device or vacuum. 

7. How Long Does Recovery Take? 

Typically, patients go back to work a few days after their surgery and can resume all activities, including exercise, within 2 to 4 weeks. The recovery time will differ depending on how much fat was removed and from what part of the body. One positive is that most liposuction sites are hidden under your clothes, so bandages are out of sight. 

During your recovery, be sure to follow all of your instructions. Drink plenty of water, rest, eat nourishing foods, and avoid smoking. The most common post-surgery side effects are swelling, tenderness, or bruising at the incision sites. You may also be instructed to wear compression bandages over the surgery site. For a few weeks post-surgery, it’s important to limit your activity and not over-strain yourself.  If you follow your instructions, your recovery should be fairly simple and straightforward. The incisions are small and not deep. At your post-op appointment, we’ll discuss any concerns you have and check your recovery progress. 

8. Will There Be A Scar? 

The cannula that is used in the surgery is very small, so scars should be minimal. The number of incisions is based on the target area and how much fat needs to be extracted. Some people are more prone to scarring, while others are left with no scars. Discuss ways to minimize scarring with your surgeon. If you are prone to keloids or excessive scarring, disclose this to your surgeon. 

9. What Results Can I Expect From Liposuction? 

We will prep you during your consultation and help you visualize your final results. For a while after the procedure, you may have swelling and loose skin. This is normal. It can take a few weeks to months to see your complete results, so be patient. Don’t expect to wake up the next day and see the final results. Your body needs time to heal. 

When we extract the fat cells, they are permanently removed. But remember that you can grow new fatty tissues if you neglect your diet and exercise regimen. To get the most benefit from your liposuction procedure, get back to your pre-surgery workout routine as soon as you’re able to resume exercising. 

10. What Should I Ask My Surgeon Before Deciding?

Before committing to a surgeon, you need to make sure you’re in good hands. You want to be sure that your surgeon is experienced and certified. Make sure the surgeon you go with is specifically certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and has done numerous liposuction surgeries. Perimeter Plastic Surgery surgeon Dr. Deutsch is double board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of General Surgery. 

You should also ask for before and after photos from their other liposuction patients so you can get a better idea of what your own results will be like. If they don’t have photos to show, then that’s a sign they may not be very experienced. A successful, competent surgeon will have pictures to show patients considering the procedure and who have questions about liposuction.

If you are hoping to have liposuction before a big event like a wedding, you may have to plan well in advance to get on the books. The best liposuction surgeons in Atlanta book up fast, so if you want to have liposuction done for a special date, don’t procrastinate. Don’t forget to take recovery time into consideration as well. 

11. Can I Use Liposuction in Combination With Other Plastic Surgeries?

Yes, that’s very common. Liposuction only removes pockets of fat. If you have loose skin, a tummy tuck may be something you also want to consider. The two procedures are often done together to help new moms get back to their pre-baby shape or help those who have lost substantial weight perfect their looks. At your consultation, we will discuss your goals and make recommendations. We’re here to help you achieve a body you can feel happy and confident about. 

We hope this quick guide has helped answer your questions about liposuction and let you know what to expect from the surgery. If you would like more information and to assess your candidacy for liposuction, call us to set up a consultation.