All About Liposuction

Introduction to Liposuction

Liposuction, also known as liposculpture or lipoplasty, is designed to sculpt the body by removing unwanted fat from areas that have been unresponsive to diet and exercise. If you or your friend are considering liposuction or if you are only interested in more information about the procedure, please call us at (714) 500-0050 for a consultation with Dr. Luu Doan.  You can also email us by clicking here to schedule a consultation or to get answers to any of your questions regarding the procedure.

Liposuction is a procedure to remove stubborn areas of unwanted fat from areas that are resistant to traditional diet and exercise.  Areas that achieve highly satisfactory results from liposuction include the:

  • Upper abdomen, lower abdomen, and love handles (flanks)

  • Inner thighs, outer thighs (hips or saddle bags), and  inner knees

  • Upper arms

  • Neck / Chin (double-chin appearance)

  • Mid-back (bra strap region) and lower back (muffin-top region)

  • Chest (in men) 

Not everyone is a candidate for Liposuction.  Ideal candidates should have mild to moderate fat excess, good skin elasticity and tone, and an active lifestyle with good dietary regimen complemented by exercise. The development of the tumescent technique for liposuction has dramatically decreased blood loss from the procedure which in turn has decreased the recovery time as well as the amount of bruising and swelling.

Liposuction Surgery

The Liposuction surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia in our medicare-accredited, state-of-the-art Newport Coast Surgical Center.  The duration of the surgery depends on the number of areas that need to be liposuctioned.  The patient is monitored by an anesthesiologist throughout the procedure.

The targeted liposuction areas are marked with the patient in the standing position. The patient is then placed on the operating room table and induced under general anesthesia. The liposuction procedure involves carefully concealing incisions that are less than one centimeter long in natural skin creases.  Tumescent solution, which contains lidocaine as a local anesthetic and epinephrine to decrease blood loss, is then injected into the targeted liposuction areas.  Liposuction is then performed using different diameter steel cannulas hooked up to a high pressure vacuum to suction out the fat.  The goal of the procedure is too remove the fat that lies beneath the deepest layer of the skin called the dermis and the most superficial layer of the muscle called the fascia.  Once the fat is suctioned out, the skin will need to be compressed against the muscle using different types of compression garments to ensure that the skin will be tight and smooth afterwards.

Only a thorough and candid discussion between you and Dr. Doan can determine the best options for you when it comes to liposuction.  Doctor Doan will discuss with you in detail every step of the procedure and he will review with you the possible complications of the operation. 

Recovery From Liposuction

You will likely feel achy pain in the areas of liposuction for several days after the surgery.  You should be up and about the next day to prevent blood clots from developing in the veins of the legs.  You will be prescribed medication to control the pain and nausea.  You will also be prescribed antibiotic pills to prevent infection.  You will need to wear a compression garment for six weeks after the surgery to help the skin to tighten during the healing process.  The sutures are absorbable and do not need to be removed.  Most patients will be able to return to work in one week and will be able to return to their normal exercise routine by six weeks. Complete healing with resolution of the swelling takes 3 to 4 months.  The scars require 12 to 18 months to fade, flatten, and soften.  Doctor Doan and his staff will guide you through the entire recovery period to make sure that it is as smooth as possible.

Complications of Liposuction

If you are a healthy candidate with no pre-existing disorders or diseases which may inhibit healing, the general risks of liposuction surgery are very low.  However, since it is indeed surgery, there are inherent risks you must consider before choosing to undergo a procedure such as this.  Potential complications associated with liposuction surgery may include the following:

  • Pulmonary Thromboemboli:  Pulmonary Thromboemboli is a blood clot which forms during your liposuction procedure that can break free and travel to your lungs. However, the methods used today usually decrease the incidence of bleeding during the procedure, and therefore larger blood clots are much less likely to form. Symptoms include difficulty breathing and severe fatigue. The incidence is rare in liposuction.

  • Fat Emboli:  Fat Embolism is when a small piece of fat breaks free and is absorbed by a blood vessel. The fat can travel to your lungs, brain and heart. The symptoms are similar to pulmonary thromboemboli. This risk is also rare, but worth mentioning.

  • Contour Deformities: The risks of liposuction include dents, lumps, waviness and other contour irregularities from aggressive over-suctioning in one area. This is usually the chief complaint of patients. Liposuction is not an exact and precise method of fat removal, but with newer machines, it can be pretty close. This is why it is imperative to go to a surgeon who is experienced and skilled at the art of body contouring.

  • Asymmetry:  Because liposuction is performed in bilateral areas of the body, asymmetry can result if one side is larger than the other.  This may require touch-up liposuction no sooner than 6 months later when all the swelling has resolved.