Dr. Robert S. Houser, a Diplomat of the American Board of Plastic Surgery answers the following common questions about liposuction.
Question One: I’m planning a vacation at the beach in a couple of weeks. Is it okay to get liposuction to fix my love handles?
The short answer is no. Liposuction results in quite a lot of bruising and swelling, and the recovery period can last several months. It’s also usually necessary to wear a compression garments for some time after surgery to assist in healing, and it’s generally not recommended that you submerse in water for a couple of weeks following liposuction surgery. Ideally you should have liposuction several months before going on vacation in order to look and feel your very best.
Question Two: Is liposuction a minor surgery procedure that can be done by any doctor?
In this case there is a “yes” and “no” answer. While it’s actually legal for any doctor to perform liposuction, it is not a minor surgery procedure and it’s best to seek the services of a plastic surgeon who has undergone intensive liposuction training. A bad liposuction experience can leave a person with lumpy, uneven thighs, or even a truly serious health problem. While it may cost less to visit a less trained doctor, it isn’t worth it.
While liposuction is a relatively safe procedure nowadays, it is still surgery, and even minor surgery has associated risks. Some of these non-plastic surgeon liposuction doctors have undergone no more than weekend training in liposuction. Obviously, you wouldn’t be considering liposuction if you didn’t want to look good at the end of the procedure, so be prepared to spend a little more and attend an ABPS board certified plastic surgeon.
Question Three: Should I look through advertisements about the different types of liposuction and choose one I like and then find a doctor who performs that type of lipo?
Quite simply, “no”. The best way to determine the right type of liposuction for your needs is to visit a board certified well-trained liposuction surgeon (or even better, seek the advice of several) and let them assess your needs professionally. It is in your best interests to find an excellent liposuction surgeon rather than choosing a particular surgeon simply because he advertises a type of liposuction procedure that you’ve read about and like the sound of. Naturally, if you have done some reading on the types of liposuction available, you can ask your surgeon about that type of liposuction surgery and get his professional opinion about it.
Question Four: I’ve already lost a lot of excess weight, and now have just 15-20 pounds to lose. Is liposuction the answer?
Again, the answer is unfortunately “no”. While liposuction is ideal for people who are only a few pounds overweight, it’s best used for reducing stubborn pockets of fat on localized areas of the body (especially the abdomen, thighs, flanks, hips, love handles and chin). It isn’t a solution for overall weight loss, and it’s best if you are closer to your ideal weight first. If you then find it difficult to remove stubborn fat from particular areas of your body, it is time to seek the advice of a certified liposuction plastic surgeon.
Question Five: I just found out that my family doctor is offering a special on liposuction from his office. Surely this is safe?
Unless your family doctor is a board certified and trained liposuction plastic surgeon then the answer is no (and as he or she is a family doctor, odds are strong that he or she hasn’t undergone the intensive liposuction training that a certified plastic surgeon has). Not only that, but liposuction should really be performed either in a hospital or in an outpatient surgical facility where they’re equipped to deal with emergency situations.
Question Six: I’m in pretty good shape, get plenty of exercise and I’m at my ideal weight, but I have stubborn fat on my inner thighs. Is liposuction an option for me?
Yes, you’re an ideal candidate for liposuction provided you don’t have any underlying health conditions which could potentially make liposuction unsafe. The best candidates are non-smokers with good overall health who simply find themselves unable to rid themselves of stubborn fat deposits.
Liposuction is best used as a body contouring procedure for people with stubborn fat deposits, but who are otherwise close to their ideal weight and are otherwise very healthy. These are the people who get the best results from the surgery and are overall happiest with their end results.