As a new mom, you have so many responsibilities weighing on you. With all that comes with caring for a newborn, it can be difficult to find time to pamper yourself and take care of your own needs. Your body is going through so many changes and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed and lack confidence regarding your changed figure.
Liposuction is a procedure that women frequently turn to after pregnancy to reduce stubborn fat cells and improve their overall confidence about their bodies. There are several things to consider before deciding whether this is the route for you, so it’s essential to have all the facts before making a final decision.
Whether you’re just starting to consider liposuction or were unaware that this was even an option for you post-pregnancy, you’ve come to the right place. Today, we will walk you through exactly what liposuction is, what it entails, what liposuction can treat, the risks, benefits, and so much more.
What Is Liposuction?
Also known as a lipoplasty, lipectomy, and liposculpture suction, liposuction is a cosmetic surgery which involves breaking down and literally “sucking” out body fat. The procedure is typically performed on regions of the body like the thighs, buttocks, chin, neck, abdomen, calves, and arms.
Liposuction can be a good option for women who have tried to reduce fat stores in these areas through methods like diet and exercise but have been unable to do so.
Liposuction can also be performed in congruence with other types of procedures as well, such as tummy tucks, breast reductions, and facelifts. Liposuction is primarily a cosmetic fix and is not meant to offer any physical benefits to your overall health.
How Does Liposuction Work?
There are multiple different types of liposuction techniques, all of which use a tube known as a cannula which is secured to a vacuum to suck out the fat from your body.
Tumescent liposuction is the technique used most often by surgeons. In this technique, a sterile solution is injected into the region where the fat will be eliminated. The sterile solution consists of saline (salt water), combined with epinephrine and lidocaine.
The components of this solution help to remove fat while reducing the overall amount of blood loss and discomfort following the surgery.liposuction is the technique used most often by surgeons.
In this technique, a sterile solution is injected into the region in which the fat will be eliminated. The sterile solution is made of saline (salt water), combined with epinephrine and lidocaine. The components of this solution help to remove fat while reducing the overall amount of blood loss and discomfort following the surgery.
Dry liposuction is when the procedure is done without the use of fluid injected prior to fat removal. However, dry liposuction is rarely performed today, as it increases the risk of bleeding and bruising.
The next type of liposuction is known as ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL), which involves the use of sound waves beneath your skin to break up the fat cells. With the UAL procedure, the fat is liquified, then sucked out.
Power-assisted liposuction, also called powered liposuction, involves the use of a cannula tube with mechanical components that operate back and forth, which makes it easier for the surgeon to suck out fat in the target area.
Laser-assisted liposuction, also known as SmartLipo, is when a laser is used to transmit energy that turns the fat to liquid. The surgeon inserts a tiny tube into an equally small incision so that energy can flow directly into the fat beneath your skin. Following the procedure, the surgeon might opt to leave the cut open to allow blood and any remaining fluid to drain properly.
Areas That Liposuction Can Treat
When you gain weight during pregnancy, the size of every fat cell expands both in volume and overall size. Liposuction is an effective way to lower the amount of fat cells you have in specific, targeted regions. These are the areas of the body most frequently treated through liposuction:
- Inner knees
- Flanks (or love handle region)
- Upper arms
- The area under the chin
Liposuction is an ideal choice for women who already have good elasticity and a healthy skin tone, which will help the skin contour to a nice shape following the procedure. However, women who do not have as much elasticity in their skin may find loose skin regions after liposuction is performed.
What Liposuction Can’t Treat
There are some common misbeliefs regarding what liposuction can and cannot treat, so it’s essential to know which areas liposuction will be useful for if you’re considering this procedure.
First of all, liposuction cannot tighten loose, hanging skin. If you have loose skin from your pregnancy, it will still be loose following the surgery.
Another common misconception about liposuction is that it can be used to eliminate stretch marks. Unfortunately, this is not the case. These marks are essentially scars in the secondary layer of your skin known as the dermis. It is possible to fade your stretch marks, but they will not completely go away, and liposuction will not do anything to reduce their appearance.
Liposuction also can’t treat issues like cellulite. Cellulite forms from fat putting pressure on the skin and fibers pulling the skin. Liposuction can lessen the quantity of fat putting pressure on the skin, but it will not do anything for fibers pulling on your skin resulting in those cellulite dimples.
Liposuction can’t remove cellulite and could actually worsen the appearance of cellulite if your skin is already lacking in elasticity.
We know how important it is for your physical, mental, and emotional health to get your pre-baby body back. If you are trying to tip the scale and lose weight, just know that liposuction will not achieve this end. Liposuction will remove small stores of fat in targeted areas of your body, but these fat stores do not weigh so much that their removal will result in weight loss.
Good Candidates for Liposuction Surgery
If you’re considering liposuction, it’s critical to ensure that you are a good candidate for the procedure prior to moving forward. To be considered a good candidate for liposuction surgery, you should be:
- Within the range of 30% of your target weight, possessing firm skin with good elasticity and muscular tone
- You should be in good health, without any pre-existing medical or life-threatening condition that could prevent proper healing
- You should be a nonsmoker
- You should have an optimistic and positive approach with set targets for your body contouring
It is not recommended to receive liposuction if you have preexisting health challenges such as issues with blood flow, diabetes, heart disease, or a compromised immune system.
Prior to undergoing liposuction, you will need to go through some health tests to ensure the procedure is safe for you. For example, if you take aspirin or other anti-inflammatories, your doctor will likely recommend that you cease consumption of these drugs a minimum of 2 weeks before your surgery.
If you are currently taking a contraceptive, you may be required to stop taking it before the procedure. If you have anemia, the doctor might advise that you stop taking iron supplements prior to your surgery. Before undergoing liposuction, you will be required to sign a consent form, confirming your knowledge of the benefits, risks, and potential alternative options to the surgery.
What to Expect During Liposuction Surgery
You may be administered a general anesthetic before the surgery takes place. An epidural could also be administered. With an epidural, the doctor will inject the anesthetic into the epidural region known as the dura (or sac filled with fluid) surrounding your spine. The epidural serves to numb the legs and abdomen partially.
If you are only having liposuction done on a very small target area, the doctor might administer local anesthesia instead. With local anesthesia, it is possible that the doctor will have you stand up during the liposuction surgery to make sure the fat is removed properly.
Based on the type of liposuction you are having done, the procedure might be done outpatient at a surgery center or the doctor’s office. If you’re having larger quantities of fat removed, the surgery will be performed at a hospital, and you may be required to stay overnight.
After the anesthesia has gone into effect, a suction mechanism will be connected to the cannula tube. The cannula will be inserted into tiny incisions in your skin in fatty regions between your skin and muscle, at which point fat will be sucked out through a syringe or suction pump.
How Long Does the Liposuction Procedure Take?
The length of the liposuction procedure will depend on the extent of the fat being removed and the target region of your body. In general, most liposuction procedures last anywhere between one to four hours.
As with any cosmetic procedure, there are associated risks to be aware of before moving forward. Any surgery can bring with it the risk of complications like infection, bleeding, and a potential reaction to the anesthesia. The risks involved are typically linked to how large the surgery is, along with the skill of the doctor you choose and their training.
Liposuction risks include:
- Inflammation: Swelling can occur for up to 6 months, and fluid can ooze from the surgical incisions.
- Bruising: The bruising may continue for up to several weeks.
- Thrombophlebitis: The condition occurs when a blood clot develops in the vein, resulting in inflammation and other complications.
- Numbness: The target region may experience numbness for a time, but this should only be a temporary sensation as the anesthetic wears off.
- Contour asymmetry: If your skin lacks elasticity, the incisions may heal with irregularities, or if the fat was not taken out evenly, the healing skin may show bumps or waves.
- Infection: While not typical, skin infections can develop following a liposuction procedure. In severe cases, this may need to be attended to surgically, but scars could result.
- Heart or kidney issues: Since the procedure involves the injection and suctioning of fluids in and out of the body, the alteration in your internal fluid levels could cause heart or kidney issues in rare instances.
- Organ punctures: Such occurrences are extremely rare.
- Pulmonary edema: Occasionally when fluid is injected into your body, it can gather inside the lungs.
- Pulmonary embolism: If fat travels to the blood vessels and lungs, it can impede proper circulation and in severe cases be life-threatening.
- Skin burns: The insertion and movement of the cannula tube carry a risk of friction burns to the nerves and/or skin.
- Allergic reaction: A reaction could occur if you are allergic to any materials or drugs used during the procedure.
In extremely rare instances, anesthesia carries with it a minute risk of death. These risks are not meant to scare you or deter you from considering liposuction surgery. Rather, they are to help you make the most informed decision for your body contouring journey.
Liposuction Side Effects
The ongoing side effects of liposuction vary based on the individual and the extent of the procedure performed. Liposuction will permanently eradicate fat cells from specific regions of your body. If you gain weight following the liposuction surgery, fat will gather in other areas of the body.
The new fat can gather deeper beneath your skin, which could pose a danger if it is near your heart or liver. Some individuals have reported experiencing nerve damage following liposuction and alterations to their skin’s sensations. There is the potential that indents can form in the target area, giving a wavy or bumpy appearance that doesn’t decrease over time.
If you were administered a general anesthetic for your liposuction procedure, you will typically be held overnight in the hospital. With a local anesthetic, it’s possible to leave the hospital the day of the procedure.
You may receive antibiotics to use after the surgery as well as painkillers to reduce discomfort and inflammation. You will be fitted with bandages or a corset to support the affected region.
How Long Does It Take to Recover From Liposuction?
You should anticipate side effects like soreness, swelling, and bruising of the target area for a minimum of a few weeks. You may be required to wear the support corset for anywhere from one to two months following the procedure to keep swelling down.
In general, most individuals are able to return to work a few days following liposuction surgery and resume regular activities within a couple of weeks.
Each person’s body responds differently to surgery. You may experience numbness for weeks following the procedure, but this should lessen within six to eight weeks.
How Long Do the Liposuction Results Last?
The fat cells in the targeted regions are eradicated permanently following the procedure. It is important to note, that if you gain any weight back, these new fat cells will migrate to different regions of your body.
To maintain results following the procedure, you should adhere to a healthy diet incorporating plenty of lean protein, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy products, along with regular exercise.
The Cost of Liposuction Surgery
The average cost of liposuction surgery is approximately $3,500. However, the costs of the procedure depend on a variety of factors and do not include components like the operating facility fees and anesthesia costs. A doctor’s fee for performing liposuction will depend on their experience, the extent and the type of procedure, and the location of their office as well.
The majority of health insurance carriers do not pay for liposuction or associated complications, but many liposuction providers have patient financing plans that are worth looking into.
The cost of liposuction surgery involves costs such as:
- Medical tests
- Anesthesia costs
- Surgical facility or hospital fees
- Post-surgery clothing
- Medication prescriptions
- Doctor’s fee
Alternatives to Liposuction
There are several alternative options to liposuction you can consider which are noninvasive methods to eradicate body fat. These are:
- Cold exposure (cryolipolysis) procedures
- Light waves (using a low-level laser)
- Radio waves
- Sound waves (high-intensity ultrasound)
Whether you’re set on liposuction are or considering one of the alternatives named above, speak with your doctor to determine the best course of action to achieve your desired shape.