Liposuction is one of the most commonly performed and safest cosmetic procedures worldwide. In the United States, we have been performing liposuction for several decades, and it has become very refined over the years with revolutionary new methods. Liposuction surgery sculpts your body by eliminating unwanted pockets of fat that are generally resistant to diet and exercise.
This procedure can be performed on almost any area of the body to improve your body contour. Common areas include hips, love handles, saddlebags, thighs, abdomen, calves, breasts (including male chests), arms, and much more. Liposuction is a high-satisfaction surgery where patients may find dramatic improvement, so they can wear the clothes they want and finally reach their body goals. If needed, liposuction is commonly combined with other procedures, such as a tummy tuck or breast augmentation.
In our practice, Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Lucie Capek performs several methods of liposuction, including power-assisted liposuction (PAL), VASER® LipoSelection, and SmartLipo™. These innovative techniques are gentler than traditional ‘mechanical’ liposuction, potentially resulting less bruising, swelling, and pain. Patients throughout the Capital District areas of Albany, Schenectady, Troy and Saratoga trust New York Plastic Surgeon Dr. Lucie Capek to perform their liposuction. Many of our patients also travel from New York City, Vermont, Massachusetts and beyond to receive her skilled and compassionate care.
Am I a good candidate?
For some individuals, diet and exercise are unable to correct stubborn pockets of fat. If you are in general good health and have realistic expectations of liposuction, you are most likely an excellent candidate for this procedure. Here are some common reasons why you may consider liposuction performed by Dr. Capek:
- You have localized fat deposits in your arms, thighs, abdomen, or other places on your body, which are unable to be shed with diet and exercise.
- You are physically fit with a stable weight, generally no more than 20 pounds overweight. If you are planning on losing or gaining more weight, liposuction is not for you.
- You don’t have too much excess skin in the fatty area and your skin elasticity is good.
- You are moderately overweight but have a fatty area that is extremely out of proportion to the rest of your body i.e. severe saddle bags, that makes difficult to find clothing that fits.
- You are a man with enlarged breasts (gynecomastia)
- You are a woman with large breasts you would like to reduce, your skin tone is good without too much drooping and you don’t want the scars from a traditional breast reduction.
- You have a double chin or heavy neck with significant fatty tissue.
Keep in mind that liposuction should not be treated as a weight-loss treatment but a body contouring procedure. Additionally, liposuction is unable to correct cellulite or excessively loose skin, but Dr. Capek may recommend other treatments like Cellulaze™ or other surgical procedures, like a tummy tuck, to improve these concerns.
I really have no complaints. Dr. Capek feels like a friend by the end of your time with her, because she treats you like one. She is a gifted, talented and truly caring doctor — one in a million.
Before Your Procedure
An initial consultation with Dr. Capek is necessary to address your cosmetic goals and determine the best technique of liposuction for your particular needs. During the consultation, you can expect Dr. Capek to evaluate all your areas of concern, the quality of your skin and discuss your realistic expectations of your liposuction procedure. She will also ask about your complete medical history and any plans regarding pregnancy or weight loss.
To prepare for your liposuction procedure, it is important to be in good health and at a stable, healthy weight. It’s necessary you quit smoking for at least six weeks before or after surgery since healing complications are much more likely in smokers. Additionally, avoid taking aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications, and some herbal medications that can lead to increased bleeding.
During liposuction surgery, Dr. Capek removes unwanted fat from your body using one of the techniques of liposuction she offers. Dr. Capek most often uses ‘energy-assisted’ liposuction such as VASER LipoSelection or SmartLipo because of their respective advantages over mechanical liposuction alone. In general, she uses SmartLipo for smaller, localized areas of fat or delicate areas like the back of the arms or inner thighs. She prefers VASER LipoSelection for larger areas, heavier patients or when multiple areas are being treated in one session.
Liposuction utilizes thin, blunt-tipped tubes called cannulas, which are inserted through small incisions in the skin. The cannulas are moved through the fatty tissues under your skin to target stubborn fat deposits and suction them out. There are a variety of methods and techniques of liposuction:
- Tumescent Liposuction: This describes the use of a “wetting solution” made up of saline, lidocaine (a local anesthetic) and epinephrine, which numbs the area beaing treated and causes blood vessels to constrict or reduce in size. The injection of tumescent solution is performed as the first step in any liposuction procedure Dr. Capek performs. It is critical in minimizing blood loss but allows some liposuction to be performed under local anesthesia and reduces postoperative discomfort.
- Suction-Assisted Lipectomy (SAL): The traditional technique of liposuction, which suctions out fat with a vacuum.
- Power-Assisted Liposuction (PAL): Includes the SAL method with the addition of a powered version of the cannula, which speeds up fat removal and decreases surgeon fatigue. Dr. Capek uses PAL as the last step in VASER procedures.
- VASER® LipoSelection: A variation of ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL). This method utilizes an ultrasonic cannula with multiple grooves that disperses even ultrasound energy within the fat, making it easier to suction out while leaving surrounding tissues like blood vessels and nerves unharmed. It is ideal for larger areas, dense fat, breasts and male patients. It improves the overall fat disruption, facilitates the removal process and results in less bruising, swelling and a smoother appearance.
- SmartLipo™ Triplex: This is the brand name for laser-assisted lipectomy or laser lipoplasty using a new, highly tissue-specific LASER technology. The laser works as an energy source that disrupts fat cells, making them easier to remove with less trauma to surrounding tissues. It also stimulates new collagen production in the skin, resulting in a smoother and tighter appearance.
After Your Procedure
After your procedure, you may experience significant drainage from the incision site(s) for a day or two. This is messy, particularly if you have had larger areas treated. You can expect to wear a special compression garment, like a girdle or Spanx-like body shaper, for 2-6 weeks to minimize bruising and swelling, and to maintain a smooth shape. You will be encouraged to walk around right away to prevent blood clots in your legs but strenuous activities will be limited by Dr. Capek from 10 days to 4 weeks, depending on the extent of your procedure. You will likely experience common side effects during your recovery, including discomfort, bruising, redness, swelling, numbness in the skin and lumpiness. Some of these issues will subside in a couple of weeks while others may take up to 6 months.
It is important to follow Dr. Capek’s post-operative guidelines to ensure a healthy and positive recovery. You are likely to see some improvement in contour post procedure, but your results but will continue to improve gradually as swelling resolves and the skin contracts back to the smaller dimensions of your figure. Patients report losing ‘inches’ for up to six months after the procedure. Liposuction results are have long-lasting potential as long as you maintain your weight, a healthy diet and exercise routine.
What are the risks?
Fortunately, in Dr. Capek’s experience, serious complications from liposuction are rare and patients are generally very satisfied with their results. However, all surgical procedures carry some risk of complications. For liposuction these may include adverse reaction to anesthesia, infection, bleeding, blood clots, emboli and contour irregularities. You can help minimize these risks by following Dr. Capek’s advice and instructions before and after your liposuction surgery.
If you want to improve your body contour with one of our many liposuction techniques, contact our office today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Capek! Our office is just 13 miles from Albany and 9 miles from Schenectady, New York.