Surgical Fat Reduction for the Philadelphia, Bryn Mawr, & Newtown Square Areas
One of the most common plastic surgery procedures in the United States and around the world is liposuction. Philadelphia-area patients – including those in the Delaware, Montgomery, and Chester counties – who have difficulty shedding stubborn fat deposits and achieving the figure they want through improvements in diet, exercise, and other lifestyle changes can come to Dr. Laura Gowen and the team at the Cirillo Center for Plastic Surgery. This unwanted fat can be on various parts of the body, and in many cases, liposuction may be the only way to reduce them, as it involves the physical extraction of fatty tissue.
This procedure is not meant to take the place of healthy weight loss efforts, and cannot be used as a viable method for this purpose. Patients who choose liposuction for fat removal should already be within 30 percent of a healthy, suitable goal weight, and be seeking the procedure for aesthetic reasons. Liposuction aims to bring better definition to the body by extracting fat to reveal the slimmer or more muscular contours hidden beneath, as well as create a sleeker, more proportionate look by shaping or sculpting the targeted body region.
What is Liposuction?
Liposuction, otherwise known as suction-assisted lipectomy or lipoplasty (or simply lipo for short), is the surgical removal of fat from the body, performed by a qualified doctor using specially designed equipment. Many in the plastic surgery field also refer to "liposculpture", a term used to describe both the removal and the strategic reshaping of fat in certain areas, to correct proportions and result in a more sculpted look.
There are numerous techniques and methods of liposuction that can be discussed at your consultation, including power-assisted, ultrasound-assisted, and tumescent techniques, but all of them are generally performed in a similar fashion with the same goal.
Liposuction is usually an outpatient procedure. To begin, anesthesia is administered to keep the patient comfortable.
Next, the doctor will make small incisions in key areas to gain access to the fat targeted for removal. A physiologic saline solution including lidocaine (a local anesthetic) and epinephrine (a drug that constricts blood vessels) will be introduced into the tissue to keep bleeding to a minimum and allow for a faster, smoother recovery.
At this point, the doctor will insert a metal tube known as a cannula into the opening they have created. The cannula is attached to a suction machine that will remove the unwanted fat where the surgeon guides it. Fat is distributed differently throughout each person, so each procedure is unique and must be tailored to the individual patient.
After the procedure, patients are instructed to wear compression garments that cover the treated areas. These provide gentle pressure to limit fluid accumulation and increase the likelihood of a smoother final contour.
Dr. Laura Gowen welcomes patients to talk about the specifics of the procedure that will best deliver the results they are looking for. She can also make before-and-after photos available, so patients considering liposuction can get a good idea of what it could do for them.
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What Areas Can Liposuction Treat?
The areas most commonly treated with liposuction include the abdomen, hips, and thighs. However, many other areas of the body can also be treated, such as:
- the chin and neck
- the upper arms
- the chest area
- the back
- the abdomen
- the waist and hips
- the buttocks
- the thighs
- the inner knee
- the calves
Patients seeking liposuction in the Philadelphia area should know that it can also be a component of surgery intended to decrease the size of the breasts. This may apply to women who choose breast reduction, as well as men who are struggling with gynecomastia, which is the development of male breasts. In cases where fatty tissue is the reason behind the unwanted breast size, fat removal is an effective solution. Liposuction can also be used in combination with other procedures such as face or neck lift, abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), body lift, thigh lift, and/or arm lift.
What Are the Advantages of Liposuction?
While minimally invasive, non-surgical methods of fat reduction or body contouring are very effective on many individuals, patients who choose to proceed with liposuction do so as they prefer the relative immediacy, consistency, and predictability of the results.
Often, only one procedure of liposuction may be required to reshape large or numerous areas of concern.
What Happens After Liposuction?
While the results are technically immediate, it may take some time to see them due to the post-procedure swelling. Depending on the scope of the procedure, it may take up to three months to see the final results.
Patients who enjoy the best and most long-term results tend to be the ones who maintain a healthy weight after the procedure. Though liposuction involves the physical removal of fat cells, a lack of exercise and activity, as well as a less-than-healthy diet, can contribute to new fat accumulation. It can be helpful to have a healthy lifestyle plan in place to ensure that results are long-lasting and that the new, slimmer contours are maintained.
Final Words on Liposuction in the Philadelphia Area
Liposuction is strictly a fat removal procedure. It does not address sagging skin or tissue that may hang loosely after the fat has been suctioned out. To get a firm, toned-looking abdomen, patients may want to consider a tummy tuck, which is designed to address the excess skin and weakened muscles and tissue that can contribute to a flabby appearance. Effective non-surgical methods of skin tightening are also available at the Cirillo Cosmetic Dermatology Spa.
Also note that liposuction is not intended to change the appearance of stretch marks or cellulite, which gives skin a puckered, dimpled look. Patients interested in addressing such skin conditions should consider cosmetic dermatology methods, which focuses on smooth, healthy-looking skin.
No matter which procedures or treatments you choose, know that our team of physicians, physician assistants, and nurses are happy to help, and provide comprehensive yet tailored care to each of our patients to produce well-suited, satisfactory results.