Body contouring plastic, cosmetic and reconstructive surgery procedures
Liposuction is the most commonly performed cosmetic surgery procedure in the U.S. It is used to improve body contour by removing excess fat from specific areas of the body. Liposuction can be performed on almost any area of the body, including the abdomen, hips, back, thighs, neck, ankles and chin. The popularity of liposuction attests to its effectiveness in improving body contour. When performed safely, it is an important adjunct to diet and exercise in having a fit and well-proportioned body.
Who can have liposuction? – The best candidate for liposuction is someone who is close to his or her desired weight who has localized fat deposits resistant to diet and exercise. Unfortunately, it is not a treatment for obesity. Multiple areas of fat can be treated at the same setting.
Is liposuction safe? Liposuction is extremely safe when performed by a qualified surgeon in a well-equipped operating room.
How is the procedure performed? – Liposuction can be performed under local or general anesthesia, depending on the extent of surgery. First, one or more incisions are made near the area to be treated. A solution containing local anesthetic, saline, and adrenaline is then infused into the area. Next, the fat cells are suctioned away permanently. Finally, the incisions are closed.
What is the normal post-operative course? – A compression garment is placed at the end of the procedure to reduce swelling. Pain is typically well controlled with medication. Any swelling or bruising will subside over the first week or two. The results will continue to improve over the following weeks as any residual swelling subsides and the skin shrinks to fit the body's new contour. Normal activities can be resumed after several weeks.
When can I expect to see an improvement? – Patients will notice improvement in body shape shortly after surgery. They typically report that clothes fit better, and they have more confidence about their appearance.
Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) – Many patients complain of areas of excess skin and fat in their lower abdomen that are resistant to diet and exercise. Abdominoplasty surgery is designed to firm and smooth the abdomen and tighten the waistline by directly excising excess fat and skin. A smooth, firm abdomen and slim waistline is correlated with a healthy, fit appearance.
Abdominoplasty is best suited for patients who are in good health overall and who have excess skin and fat in their abdomen. It is typically performed in patients who are not candidates for liposuction alone. A person's weight should be stable prior to undergoing the procedure. It can be performed in both men and women.
There is a high rate of patient satisfaction following abdominoplasty. Many patients are grateful for having a flat stomach, sometimes for the first time in their lives. They find that a flatter, firmer abdomen makes clothes fit better and boosts their self-confidence.
How is the procedure performed? – Abdominoplasty is performed by making a horizontal incision just above the pubis. The length of the incision varies depending on the amount of excess skin to be removed. The excess skin and fat is pulled down and excised. An incision may also be necessary around the navel. The abdominal muscles are visualized through the incision and can be tightened to improve the contour of the waistline. Liposuction can also be performed as an adjunct to the procedure.
What can I expect after surgery? – A tight fitting garment is worn around the waist to reduce swelling. Drains may also be used for one week to reduce swelling and bruising. Post-operative pain is well controlled by analgesics. Most people can return to work within a week. Patients should avoid strenuous activities for 4-6 weeks following the procedure. The scars fade with time and are well hidden.
Thigh lift – The plastic surgery operation known as thigh lift, thighplasty or excisional thigh lipectomy, is a procedure which addresses a range of problems in the inner thighs, such as excess fat deposits, loose skin, weak muscles and stretch marks. Thigh lift is a common plastic surgery operation for the removal of loose skin after massive weight loss following successful bariatric surgery. It may also form part of a body lift - a more complex plastic surgery procedure that combines tummy tuck, thigh, and buttock lift. Thigh lifts may combine surgical excision with lipoplasty.
In addition to the benefits of thigh lift surgery, make sure you understand its limitations.
- Don't expect perfection.
- Have realistic expectations.
- Thigh lift can reshape your body, but not your life.
- Know the thigh lift risks.
- Don't do it on the cheap. Pay what it takes for safe thigh lift surgery.
How is the procedure done? – Thigh lift is typically performed under general anesthesia as an outpatient. The procedure lasts 1-3 hours. Before the operation, the surgeon plans the operation by marking where the skin-incisions are to be made for optimum body contouring effect. During the thigh lift procedure itself, an incision is made in the groin crease at the junction of the thigh and groin to access the excess tissue and skin. Closure of the skin is important to the success of the operation in order to forestall scar migration downwards and distortion of the vulva. During an outer thigh and thigh lift the surgical incision is made from hip to hip across the top of the buttocks. The scars for both thigh lift and thigh lift are covered by normal underwear or bathing suit.
What is recovery like? – Even though you will experience some discomfort, you should start walking as soon as possible to speed the recovery process. The surface stitches will be removed in 5 to 7 days. If a lower body lift is also performed, it is recommended that gentle walking on a treadmill begin in three to four weeks, with sutures being removed in 10 days to two weeks. With both procedures, some patients return to work in 2 weeks following surgery, while others take up to 4 weeks to recover. Post-surgery recovery often depends on the patient's pre-surgery health and fitness level.
Brachioplasty (arm lift) – This is a surgical procedure to remove loose skin and excess fat deposits in the upper arm. With age, upper arm skin can become loose and flabby. Plastic surgeons will discuss brachioplasty with patients who want to tighten this skin and look as good as they feel. In some cases your plastic surgeon may suggest that liposuction be used alone or in conjunction with an arm lift to remove excess fat in the upper arms.
Massive weight loss – Gastric bypass surgery has helped many patients improve their lives through successful weight loss. Unfortunately, a large amount of lost weight often results in severe excesses of skin and fat throughout the body. This extra tissue can be unsightly and may cause problems such as back and neck pain. Poorly fitting clothing is also a common complaint.
Body reduction surgery can remove this extra tissue and restore better proportions to a person's body. Extra skin and fat can be removed from the abdomen, arms, thighs, back, breasts and neck. Patients are generally very happy with their appearance after surgery and report that clothing fits better and they are less self-conscious.
How much weight do I have to lose before considering surgery? In general, patients should be at a stable weight for 3-6 months prior to undertaking surgery.
Does insurance pay for this type of surgery? – Insurance will sometimes cover the costs of surgery. Approvals are usually on an individual basis. We will advocate for coverage in cases where there are functional problems associated with the excess skin.
Can all the procedures be done at one time? – Because the risks associated with surgery increase with surgical time, not all procedures can be done at one time. Your doctor can discuss the safest way to achieve your goals.
How much time will I have to take off from work? – The recovery period depends on the specific surgery performed. Patients can resume normal activities usually within a week following arm lifts and breast lifts. Abdominoplasties and thigh lifts require an additional week or two of recuperation.
What do the scars look like after surgery? – The scars from body reduction surgery usually fade well with time and are well accepted by patients.