Liposuction Resources

What is Liposuction?

Christopher Chung, M.D.
American Board of Plastic Surgery
Chief Medical Officer
Sono Bello

Liposuction is an effective surgical procedure to slim and reshape specific areas to remove excess fat deposits to improve body contours and proportion. The procedure can be performed under general anesthesia, intravenous sedation, or with minimal oral sedation and local tumescence (diluted lidocaine-based fluid to completely numb the area being treated).  The choice of anesthesia is largely dependent on the experience of the surgeon.  The most experienced liposuction surgeons can perform the entire procedure using just mild oral sedation while ensuring comfort and maximizing utmost safety.  The surgery is completed via tiny inconspicuous incisions and with the use of microcannulas, fat cells are extracted from the body.

After answering the question, “What is Liposuction?”, it is important to understand there are several different “types” of liposuction that surgeons may employ.  Traditional liposuction simply uses metal cannulas (metal tubes) hooked up to a suction machine.  For a long time, this was the only option that was used.  However, with the technological advancements, various other liposuction options are now available, including power-assisted liposuction (PAL), ultrasonic, and laser-assisted liposuction.  A few selected advanced body contour facilities, a combination of several different modalities may be used to maximize benefits as each modality has its own unique advantage.  PAL units can better disrupt fat with less trauma for a quicker recovery and smoother contour while laser energy stimulates increased collagen production leading to the highly desirable benefit of skin tightening.

Liposuction is not intended for weight loss or treatment for obesity, but rather to get rid of stubborn fat deposits not amenable to diet and exercise.  Often, for the right motivated patient, liposuction can serve as a great platform to engage in a better, healthier lifestyle.  Liposuction has the distinct advantage over other noninvasive treatment options (e.g. Coolsculpting) in that one treatment session, in the majority of times, is adequate to reduce the fat with more consistent and predictable outcome.  And unlike dieting, which simply reduces the size of the fat cells, liposuction removes the fat, and thereby, reducing the number of fat cells remaining and making the results permanent with the maintenance of weight and healthy lifestyle.

Liposuction can treat various areas of the body most often several areas in one procedure. The areas that can be treated are:

  • Jowls/Neck
  • Upper arms
  • Male chest
  • Abdomen
  • Waist/Hips/Lower Back
  • Back/Front Bra Roll
  • Dorsal Hump
  • Thighs/Knees
  • Calves/Ankles

In order to deliver the best possible outcome while ensuring maximum safety, proper patient selection is crucial.  The ideal patient should be in good overall health, have good understanding of the procedure/recovery, and have realistic expectations about the outcome.  The good news is that virtually anyone with unwanted fat can benefit from liposuction.  However, each liposuction procedure is uniquely tailored to the patient’s individual needs.

In the hands of an expert surgeon performing liposuction at a fully accredited facility, liposuction is a low risk, highly safe procedure.  For improved outcome and comfort, gentle supportive body garments are worn for a period of four to six weeks.  Temporary short termed bruising and swelling are common.  Most patients can return to work in three to six days.  While benefits of volume reduction and contour enhancement are seen immediately, final result may not be fully realized for five to six months.

In summary, liposuction is a highly sought out (second most popular cosmetic surgery in the U.S.) elective procedure that is safe and effective.

  • Purpose: To eliminate unwanted fat deposits from various parts of the face/body.
  • Procedure: Use of microcannulas powered by latest technological advancements including laser to gently disrupt and remove fat permanently. Anesthesia options include full general anesthesia, IV sedation, and best of all, with minimal oral sedation and local numbing fluid to maximize safety, minimize recovery with complete comfort.
  • Recovery: Most patient return to work in a week or less. Normal activities may resume in several weeks with unrestricted activity (including vigorous exercise in four to six weeks).
  • Outcome: Consistent and predictable improvement in body contouring and volume reduction leading to a slimmer and more proportional body. Immediate results seen with final outcome appreciated in four to six months.

Video Transcript

Mike Garrison, President, Sono Bello: So, tell me Dr. Chung, in your experience, what are the most typical reasons that people choose to get liposuction?

Dr. Chris Chung, Chief Medical Officer, Sono Bello:

There are different reasons, obviously everyone has their own specific reason, I mean the most common reason is frustration. You know patients try so hard to lose the weight, to lose the stubborn areas of fat, through starvation diets, through fad diets, through very regimented exercise programs, but despite all that, just because of the natural metabolism and the aging process, it’s very difficult so these patients are coming in because they’ve tried everything and they’re frustrated and they’re wanting to get rid of their unwanted fat.

Mike Garrison, President, Sono Bello: Gotcha, and who do you feel makes the best candidate for a liposuction procedure?

Dr. Chris Chung, Chief Medical Officer, Sono Bello:

So, whenever we look at patients, we really look at two different forms of candidacy. One is the medical candidacy, and one is the anatomic candidacy, because foremost, we want to ensure patient safety so we’re not operating on patients who we deem are at higher risk for having problems, it’s just not good for the patient. Then we talk about the anatomic candidacy, and those are the patients who would benefit from our surgery. So, patients with unwanted fat in areas, such as the abdomen, which is very common, or the flanks, the hips, the outer thighs, the inner thighs, the arms, and even the face. They’re all very very good candidates for our procedure.

Mike Garrison, President, Sono Bello: And what are the most common areas that are treated?

Dr. Chris Chung, Chief Medical Officer, Sono Bello:

The most common areas are, I would say in about 60 to 70 percent of patients would be the abdomen, the belly, and the love handles. But I would also tell you that plastic surgery is becoming more common in men as well. And in men, in addition to their abdomen, is their chest. Which often times poses very much a social inhibition and a lot of the men really appreciate what we can do with contouring, giving them that self-confidence by giving their male chest back.