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Eating right and exercising are the healthiest ways to lose weight, but many people retain problem areas of fat in certain regions of the body regardless of healthy eating and a proper exercise regimen. Because of this concern, Plastic Surgery of the Carolinas offers liposuction (or CoolSculpting®, the non-surgical fat reduction treatment) to patients who may be good candidates for the procedure. Liposuction is a treatment that surgically removes problem areas of fat. This is achieved by using a narrow, stainless steel surgical tube called a cannula to extract excess fatty tissue, allowing fat bulges to be smoothed for a slimmer, more defined, and shapely appearance in the treated regions. At our practice, liposuction is performed by the skilled hands of Dr. Craig Rowin and Dr. Ram Kalus for patients who have concerns that are better suited for liposuction, as opposed to the non-surgical CoolSculpting® treatment.

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Who is a Candidate for Liposuction?

The best candidates for liposuction are already at or near their ideal weight and typically lead an active, healthy lifestyle. Liposuction is not intended as a method of weight loss; it is designed to slim areas of the body that have proven resistant to change even after optimizing one’s weight. Dr. Rowin or Dr. Kalus will review your medical history and evaluate your areas of concern to assess whether liposuction or CoolSculpting® is the best option to achieve your cosmetic goals. Depending on a patient’s needs, our plastic surgeon can target many body areas with liposuction, including the:

  • Abdomen
  • Inner thighs
  • Upper arms
  • Buttocks
  • Hips or waistline
  • Upper back
  • “Bra roll”
  • Chin
  • Neck
  • Ankles

If you would like to reduce excess fullness around the neck and/or get rid of a double chin, submental liposuction is often used to restore a more visible neck contour and a sharper jawline. In some cases, a neck lift, with or without the addition of liposuction, can be performed to reduce redundant skin and muscle laxity in the neck—concerns which also contribute to the look of sagging tissue or a “turkey neck.” Other methods of contouring the neck may include Coolsculpting®, KYBELLA®, Fractional AcuPulse™ CO2 laser resurfacing, VoluDerm® Microneedling with Radiofrequency, or some combination of all treatments.

What Are the Benefits of Liposuction?

The primary benefit of liposuction is the removal of excess fat from isolated areas of the body. This versatile procedure can be applied to nearly any part of the body that is storing pockets of stubborn fat. Once the liposuction procedure is complete, many patients can enjoy these additional benefits:

  • A more slender, fit appearance in the treated areas
  • Minimal downtime
  • Long-lasting results

In addition to the many advantages that liposuction can bring as a stand-alone procedure, the treatment can be combined with tummy tuck surgery and other cosmetic surgery options for a more comprehensive body makeover. In addition, the fat that is removed can be transferred in the form of fat injections to other areas such as the face, breasts, or buttocks.

Liposuction vs. Weight Loss Surgery

Although liposuction can remove fat, the procedure differs significantly from weight loss surgery, or bariatric surgery. Liposuction is a body contouring treatment that is intended to improve the shape of the body for individuals who are close to their healthy or ideal weight. The purposes of this selective fat removal treatment are cosmetic in nature as opposed to medical, allowing patients to attain a smoother and slimmer appearance in the area of treatment. In contrast, bariatric surgery is considered a medical procedure to treat obesity. This procedure is designed to restrict a patient’s caloric intake in order to catalyze and enhance the weight loss process, with the surgery affecting an individual’s appetite, digestion, and metabolism. The goals of bariatric surgery are generally oriented around a patient’s health and well-being, rather than their cosmetic appearance.

Ultimately, liposuction can be effective for men and women as long as they are near their ideal weight and simply wish to smooth stubborn fat bulges. For those who have already undergone significant weight loss and struggle with excess skin around the body, other body contouring treatments like a tummy tuck or an arm lift can be utilized to help tighten the region and restore the desired proportions.

Is Liposuction Safe?

As a popular aesthetic surgery that has been performed safely for decades, liposuction is considered a safe way to remove localized fat pockets with relatively predictable results. Drs. Rowin and Kalus perform tumescent liposuction, a technique that injects a solution of medications and local anesthesia prior to the actual removal of fat. This can minimize blood loss, as well as reduce patient discomfort during and after the procedure. With that said, liposuction—like all surgeries—does include a risk of potential complications, some of which include indentations, contour irregularities, hematoma or seroma, and negative reactions to the anesthesia. While these events are rare, it is essential to select a qualified and experienced liposuction surgeon who you can trust with your safety and appearance to minimize the risk of adverse outcomes.

How Is the Tumescent Liposuction Procedure Performed?

Liposuction is performed using only a small incision at the treatment site. A thin tube called a cannula is then inserted to remove the excess fat. Dr. Rowin and Dr. Kalus use a technique called tumescent liposuction to perform the procedure. By injecting a local anesthetic solution with adrenaline at the treatment area, our plastic surgeons can bloodlessly remove the fat. This technique can also reduce post-operative bruising and pain. Liposuction is typically completed while the patient is under anesthesia, which generally makes the actual procedure painless. This outpatient surgery may last one to two hours or longer, depending on the desired results and the extent of liposuction required.

What Is Liposuction Recovery Like?

Patients can expect to experience some level of mild discomfort, bruising, and swelling, which should resolve on its own during the brief healing period. Our plastic surgeons may recommend that patients wear a compression garment to enhance the final outcome, depending upon which area of the body is treated. Most liposuction patients return to work or their normal daily activities after one week. Dr. Rowin or Dr. Kalus will provide detailed post-operative instructions and recommendations that take each individual patient’s recovery needs into account.

How Long Do Liposuction Results Last?

The fat that is removed during liposuction is unable to regrow or return. However, the remaining fat cells are still able to increase or decrease in size depending upon factors such as calorie intake and activity levels. Therefore, to best maintain the results of liposuction, patients are encouraged to eat a nutritious, healthy diet and exercise regularly. Patients who are diligent in taking good care of their overall health can typically enjoy the results of liposuction for many years.

Are There Any Side Effects From Liposuction?

Some degree of bruising, swelling, tenderness, or general soreness should be expected during the recovery process. These reactions should dissipate as your body continues to heal after liposuction and can be managed well with oral pain medication. Since the fat cells in the treated area(s) are removed and cannot regrow, a long-term effect of liposuction may involve additional weight gain being distributed elsewhere on the body. Drs. Rowin or Kalus will inform you of what to expect during and after recovery at your consultation.

Is Liposuction Painful?

Liposuction is one of the least invasive cosmetic surgeries available, and patients generally don’t report any significant pain during or after the procedure. Since anesthesia is utilized, individuals who undergo liposuction at Plastic Surgery of the Carolinas typically experience little to no discomfort. Additionally, the tumescent technique employed by our plastic surgeons can minimize bleeding during the surgery, as well as reduce swelling and discomfort during the short recovery period.

What Will My Scars From Liposuction Look Like?

Since liposuction uses very small incisions, the resulting scar is also usually minimal in size. Whenever possible, Drs. Rowin and Kalus place incisions in discrete locations to camouflage scars within the natural contours of the body. As time passes, any visible scarring should begin to turn pink and fade. Most patients report that their scars are virtually imperceptible once fully healed and consider any post-surgical scarring well worth the body contouring results achieved with liposuction.

How Much Does Liposuction Cost?

The price of liposuction is dependent on a number of variables. Factors such as the location of the treatment area, the volume of fat to be removed, the number of total treatment areas, and the experience of the plastic surgeon can all impact the final cost of liposuction.

Each liposuction procedure at Plastic Surgery of the Carolinas is customized to meet the individual needs of the patient. At the end of your initial consultation with Dr. Rowin or Dr. Kalus, you will be provided with a price quote for your procedure based on a customized treatment plan. You will also hear about the many options for payment available at our practice that can help make the cost of treatment as financially convenient as possible.

“I am just thrilled with the success of my recent liposuction. Your surgery flattened my abdomen and gave me the motivation to take better care of myself through diet and exercise.”*

*Individual Results May Vary

Are There Alternatives to Liposuction?

To accommodate the unique needs of all patients at our practice, Dr. Rowin and Dr. Kalus offer a surgical and non-surgical option for selective fat removal. While liposuction is widely considered the most powerful technique to remove pockets of excess fat, treatment with CoolSculpting® can also be used to eliminate fat cells and contour regions prone to fat buildup—all without the need for surgery or downtime. CoolSculpting® is designed to deliver very cold temperatures to subcutaneous fat via a handheld controlled-cooling applicator. This “freezes” and destroys the targeted fat cells without penetrating the skin, allowing excess fat to be shed through natural metabolic processes.

In determining whether liposuction or CoolSculpting® is the best treatment to achieve your desired look, it’s important to note the many distinctions between the two procedures. Patients can achieve up to 30 percent of fat reduction with CoolSculpting®, while liposuction is capable of removing a maximum of 80 percent in a given area. Additionally, liposuction may be more effective at treating larger areas or multiple parts of the body when compared to CoolSculpting®, as more than one CoolSculpting® session is often necessary to achieve greater amounts of fat removal. Lastly, liposuction may be a better treatment option for patients seeking immediate results. The outcome of liposuction is typically noticeable right away, while CoolSculpting® results unfold over a period of months.

Combining Liposuction with Other Procedures

As a relatively minor cosmetic surgery, liposuction is often incorporated into a larger treatment plan with complementary procedures to produce the best possible outcome. Patients commonly combine liposuction surgery with facial fat grafting, a technique that uses a patient’s own fatty tissue as a natural volumizing filler. Since liposuction is utilized to harvest excess fat as part of the normal fat grafting process, many individuals use this opportunity to rejuvenate their facial features for double the enhancement. Facial fat grafting can be performed to fill wrinkles, contour the cheeks, and generally restore the facial volume often lost with the aging process.

For patients seeking comprehensive results in body sculpting, liposuction can be combined with a tummy tuck (this is sometimes referred to as a “lipoabdominoplasty” or “combituck”) to achieve a slimmer waistline and a leaner abdominal profile. Tummy tuck surgery is designed to firm and tighten the abdomen, restoring a more contoured appearance for men and women who struggle with excess skin and separated musculature in the area. When combined with liposuction, patients can minimize a protruding abdomen and achieve the highest possible improvement in the midsection. Both liposuction and a tummy tuck, whether pursued as lone procedures or as a combination surgery, are frequently implemented in a Mommy Makeover, which seeks to restore an individual’s pre-pregnancy figure.

Additional Liposuction FAQs

Does insurance cover liposuction?

Since liposuction is considered an elective surgery, most insurances will not cover it; however, it is always worth it to check with your insurance company just in case. We tailor each procedure around your individual needs and offer multiple financing options for your convenience. 

How much fat can be removed with liposuction?

Depending on the area of treatment and other factors, liposuction can remove up to eight pounds of fat. For the safety of our patients, we make sure not to perform excess liposuction in a single procedure. If additional fat needs to be removed, your surgeon may conduct liposuction over multiple sessions. At your consultation, Dr. Rowin or Dr. Kalus can help determine the number of liposuction procedures you may need to achieve your ideal results.

How old do you have to be to get liposuction?

At our practice, you must be at least 18 years old to get liposuction. Liposuction is an important decision that should not be made lightly and requires a mature, responsible viewpoint. In rare cases, older patients may be advised against liposuction if their skin has lost sufficient elasticity.

How soon can I work out after liposuction?

Dr. Rowin and Dr. Kalus advise you to wait at least a month before engaging in strenuous exercise. In the meantime, patients are typically safe to perform lighter routines, such as walking, soon after the procedure. You are welcome to discuss instructions for particular types of exercise at your consultation. 

Can liposuction get rid of cellulite?

Liposuction is not designed to remove cellulite, which refers to dimpled fat deposits that appear on areas with large fat distribution (e.g., the abdomen, buttocks, or thighs). Treatment may improve the appearance of cellulite, but may not get rid of them entirely. If you are interested in removing cellulite, Dr. Rowin or Dr. Kalus is open to discussing available treatment options with you during your consultation.

Please contact Plastic Surgery of the Carolinas online or by phone to discuss your liposuction options today. We will be happy to answer your questions or assist you with scheduling a consultation.

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