An improved physical appearance is a universal desire. However, many people have stubborn, unsightly bulges which diet, exercise, and flattering clothing styles simply cannot erase.
In women, those fat deposits occur most frequently from the waist down, on hips, buttocks and outer thighs (saddlebags). Fat deposits on men tend to accumulate above the waist, on the abdomen and sides of the waist (love handles).
Now thanks to a procedure called liposuction surgery, both men and women can improve the contours of their bodies through a relatively simple and safe technique. Liposuction surgery involves the removal of fat cells from the body and may be used alone or in conjunction with other procedures, such as facelift or “tummy tuck”. It is designed for persons who have specific areas of localized fat deposits and who have tried unsuccessfully to eliminate them through diet, exercise and weight loss.
While the procedure is not designed to correct general obesity, any area where excess fat deposits have accumulated can be treated. These include the chin, neck, jowls, cheeks, arms, inner and outer thighs, buttocks, knees, hips and abdomen. (Fig. A) Men with enlarged breasts called gynecomastia can also benefit from this technique.
WHO’S A CANDIDATE FOR LIPOSUCTION?
Men and women in good physical condition with good skin elasticity are the best candidates for this surgery. When the procedure was first introduced, only younger people were considered to be good candidates; however, recent improvements in the technique have made it possible to treat patients of all ages. Each person seeking this treatment, regardless of age, must be personally assessed by the physician to determine if he or she is a suitable candidate for liposuction surgery.
Prior to surgery a complete medical history is taken in order to evaluate your general health. A thorough examination is also conducted. Dr. Gilmer describes the type of anesthesia to be used, the procedure, what results might realistically be expected, as well as possible risks and complications.
Preoperative directions may include the elimination of certain drugs which contain aspirin in order to minimize the possibility of excess bleeding. Antibiotics may be prescribed prior to surgery to prevent infection. Photographs are often taken before and after surgery in order to evaluate the final results. The areas to be contoured are marked with a special marking pen.
Liposuction surgery can be performed in our office as an outpatient procedure. It is done under general anesthesia. Pre-medication is administered to help you relax. When performing what is known as the “tumescent” procedure, Dr. Gilmer injects a large amount of diluted local anesthetic solution into the area. This procedure has the advantage of reducing pain and bruising in the area.
Dr. Gilmer then makes a small incision in the skin and inserts a tube (cannula) either attached to a high pressure vacuum suction or to a syringe system. The fat is loosened from surrounding tissue by moving the tube back and forth and is then removed or vacuumed from the body with the suction device. The physician determines the amount of fat to remove be feeling the skin and pinching the tissue.
Another technique is referred to as the Gilmer Technique. This procedure got it’s name from Dr. Gilmer because he created this technique himself. Using this method, a special cannula is used to loosen the fat prior to suctioning which helps to create a smoother appearance than traditional methods.
Last, but certainly not least is a third cutting-edge option for liposuction which is the Water Jet Assisted Liposuction procedure.
The WAL procedure is the new wave in gentle and effective fat removal. Unlike traditional tumescent or energy-assisted liposuction, WAL harnesses the gentle power of water to remove unwanted fat, while sculpting and shaping the body. During the WAL procedure, a fan-shaped laminar jet of water simultaneously dislodges and removes unwanted fat from the body, while sparing surrounding nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue. WAL is a gentle and painless lipoplasty method, resulting in significantly less swelling, bruising and postoperative discomfort when compared to traditional methods. Even more important, WAL does not require tumescent infiltration, reducing the risk of systemic side effects, while allowing precise real-time contouring throughout the procedure. The WAL procedure is safe, effective and easy, offering outstanding results with minimal risk, significantly shorter procedure times, and shorter recovery time for the patients.
After the incisions are closed, a compression dressing or bandage is applied to the area to prevent bleeding, reduce swelling, and support the affected area. The procedure can last from thirty minutes to several hours depending upon the amount of fat removed.
The dressing remains in place for seven to ten days depending upon the extent of the surgery and your individual healing process. A surgical compression garment may also be worn. Because liposuction surgery does not involve large incisions and extensive cutting, pain is minimal to moderate and is controlled with oral medication. Antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent infection.
Most patients are completely ambulatory immediately following surgery, but rest is recommended for the initial postoperative period. Patients are usually able to return to normal activities within a week although vigorous physical activity is discouraged for several weeks.
Some swelling and discoloration can occur but usually disappear within a month. Scars, which fade significantly with time, are for the most part, inconspicuous because they are made within the natural creases of the body whenever possible.
Complications connected with this surgery are rare; however, an uneven skin surface, bleeding, infection, numbness and discoloration can occur. Some of these conditions correct themselves in time: others respond to medications. There are certain inherent risks connected with every surgical procedure which should be discussed with Dr. Gilmer and his staff. You can minimize complications by carefully following directions.
It is important to remember that liposuction surgery, while not a cure for generalized obesity, is an excellent procedure that can benefit those who want to remove unsightly fat from localized areas. Patients who choose this type of surgery, however, must have realistic expectations about the outcome and understand that final results may not be apparent for up to one year.
Dr. Gilmer is considered one of the best liposuction surgeons in this area. If you are interested in learning more about liposuction surgery, please contact our office and we will be happy to answer your questions.