Liposuction is a great option for those stubborn pockets of fat that are resistant to diet and exercise, but you may be wondering exactly how much fat can be removed with this procedure. At Metairie Plastic Surgeons in Metairie, LA, Dr. Trey Sands is able to beautifully sculpt a patient’s figure with surgery, but he cautions against removing too much fat in one procedure.
Losing Weight Surgically
It is first of all important to note that the primary goal of liposuction is not necessarily to lose weight – it is to reshape various parts of the body where fat has been difficult to lose through other means. Of course, removing fat surgically will result in some weight loss, but it is not the best choice for patients who have a large amount of weight they wish to shed. Patients may in fact be asked to lose a certain amount of weight before they will qualify for this procedure.
Generally, it is safe to remove up to 8 pounds of fat in one session. Patients who wish to have more fat removed can do so, but they should wait at least 3 months until their next procedure. Ideally, patients should first try to lose as much weight as they can on their own and save liposuction for those stubborn pockets of fat that remain despite their best efforts with diet and exercise.
Understanding Fat Removal
The 5 to 8 pounds that is typically lost with this procedure may not sound like very much, but remember that these are pounds of solid fat. Losing “water weight” is relatively easy, but losing actual fat is much harder. The process of removing fat from those parts of the body where it tends to “stick” can create a dramatic improvement to the figure, even if only a few pounds have been lost.
Once this fat is removed, it will not re-deposit in the same area unless a significant amount of weight is gained. The effects of surgical fat removal are permanent, but it is important to follow healthy lifestyle habits that will help you to maintain a stable weight. This is the only way to ensure that your new figure can be maintained for many years to come.
Sculpting the Body
While it is possible to have liposuction just about anywhere on the body, many people seeking this treatment have fatty deposits around the stomach, thighs, buttocks, or jowls that they just can’t rid of. Hormonal fluctuations and certain medications can create stores of fat in these parts on the body that are very resistant to traditional weight-loss methods.
With surgery, these stubborn areas can be sculpted and tightened to create a beautiful, symmetrical result. The goal of this procedure is to create more fit and youthful body contours. In the hands of the right plastic surgeon, the results can be remarkable.
When More Weight Loss Is Desired
Sometimes patients are so pleased with their results that they wish to schedule a follow-up procedure to address another area of the body. There is no rule against this, but it is important to wait a minimum of 10 to 12 weeks between procedures. Your doctor will help you decide when the time is right to schedule your next appointment.
When To Expect Results
While the results of fat removal can be seen soon after surgery, it does take several weeks for the body to assume its final shape. Closely following your surgeon’s instructions for post-operative care can make the healing process as quick and seamless as possible. If you have had fat removed in combination with another procedure such as a tummy tuck, the healing process will take slightly longer.
What To Expect After Getting Liposuction
While the recovery process for surgical fat removal is relatively straightforward, it is still important to take good care of yourself when you get home and allow plenty of time for the healing process to take place. Following your post-surgery instructions and getting enough rest will allow you to return to your normal activities sooner rather than later.
You will need to rest for several days after your procedure, so make sure that you have meals ready to go in the freezer and that you have taken care of any housework or errands prior to your surgery. You should arrange to have some assistance at home for at least the first couple of days after your procedure. You should also keep some phone numbers nearby in case you need help.
Handling Personal Hygiene
Patients should not soak in water for a full week following surgery, which means you will have to give yourself sponge baths instead. By day 3, a shower should be fine (pending your surgeon’s go-ahead), but there should be no full bathing until day 8 or 9. Keeping your incision sites as dry as possible will speed the healing process.
Wearing Your Compression Garment
The compression garment that you’ll be sent home with will need to be worn for between 3 and 6 months. This sounds like a long time, but these garments are quite comfortable and allow your body to heal optimally. For the first week post-surgery, you will need to wear this around the clock, but usually by week two this can be reduced to 12 hours per day.
A nutritious diet will do wonders for speeding the healing process, so don’t cut corners on your meals. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fiber, and lean protein is recommended. Giving your body the right fuel and staying well hydrated will reduce inflammation and help you to feel better overall as you get your energy back.
Knowing What To Avoid
After any surgery, it is critical to avoid smoking, alcohol, and any medications that might thin the blood (for example, aspirin). Certain supplements can also have a blood-thinning effect and cause potential complications, so be sure to mention absolutely everything you are taking to your doctor, even if you think it is probably harmless.
If you are a smoker, you must give up this habit several weeks prior to your procedure. Smokers are much more likely to experience blood clotting issues and other complications from surgery.
Taking Prescribed Medication
If you are prescribed any medications to take after your procedure, it is important to use these exactly as directed. Some patients find that they do not need a prescription-strength pain reliever and opt to take Tylenol instead. This is fine, but if you do choose to use any over-the-counter medication, be sure to clear this with your surgeon first.
Caring for Incision Sites
The incisions made for liposuction are very small but it’s still important to keep them clean and dry as they heal. In the first few days following your procedure, the bandages may have to be changed several times. You will be given very specific instructions for wound care, so follow these closely.
Scheduling Follow-Up Appointments
Your surgeon will want to see you several times in the weeks following surgery to make sure you are healing according to schedule. Appointments may be virtual or in-person, depending on where you are in your recovery timeline. If you have any concerns at any point in the process, you should always check in with your surgeon.
Returning to Normal Activities
While you will be feeling much like your usual self by week two, most patients do not return to their exercise routine and other more tiring activities until at least week 3. It’s important to ease yourself back into your exercise routine, starting with short walks and gentle stretching. You will still need to wear your compression garment for about 12 hours per day until your surgeon advises otherwise.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
The number-one way to ensure positive results long-term is to maintain a stable weight. While the results of liposuction are permanent, we cannot guarantee that a patient will not gain weight again in the same area. The only way to ensure this is by following a sensible diet and exercise plan. Making the right lifestyle choices can help you to keep your new shape for many years to come.
Are You Ready To Change Your Body for the Better?
If you would like to learn more about making a significant improvement to your figure, contact us today at Metairie Plastic Surgeons in Metairie, LA. We would be pleased to schedule a preliminary consultation with Board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Trey Sands. Your new body awaits!