Many people have fat bulges that they can’t seem to get rid of. Liposuction can be a good solution for these patients. This cosmetic procedure is meant to be a contouring procedure, and not simply a weight loss tool. San Francisco board-certified cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Leonard Gray, likes his patients to be within 30 lbs. of their ideal weight in order to qualify for the procedure. Dr. Gray offers tumescent liposuction, which was a huge revolution and occurred in the late 1980’s. Prior to this time, there was more bleeding and need for more anesthesia during liposuction procedures. Tumescent fluid has both numbing medicine in it, as well as epinephrine which constricts the capillaries and blood vessels. The net result is less bleeding, less discomfort, and less anesthesia.
The next advance in liposuction procedures occurred in the early 1990’s with the ultrasound machines. They shatter the fat and make it easier to remove. There have been machines manufactured by Lysonics®, Mentor®, and Vaser®, and Dr. Gray has used them all. At Bay Area Plastic Surgery, Dr. Gray currently uses the SmartLipo™ machine which melts fat and tightens the skin. This technique is used in conjunction with tumescent liposuction. With this combination, patients get the maximum result, minimize the risks, and shrink the skin at the same time.
"So Happy - San Francisco, CA - Had my tummy tuck and liposuction done on the 28th of November and I'm in love with the results. My stomach has never been this flat, I keep taking off my garment to peek at my stomach. Dr. Gray did an amazing job and I don't think I would change anything."- M. / RealSelf / Dec 09, 2016
"Boob Job and Tummy Lipo - San Francisco, CA - The whole staff is amazing. Dr. Gray really knows what he's doing and is very knowledgeable. He keeps it completely real with you and let you know what to expect and what not to expect. He seriously tells you the good and the bad. I immediately felt 100% comfortable with him."- C. / RealSelf / Apr 21, 2016
Tumescent liposuction, known as the “Super-Wet” approach, is a suction-assisted (SAL) technique that uses a solution and power-aided motor to help remove stubborn fat. The surgeon injects the solution, made of saline, lidocaine and epinephrine (to control bleeding), into the problem areas. The surgeon then inserts the cannula attached to the motor to remove fat cells from the body at a controlled speed. The motor helps surgeons remove anywhere from several ounces to a few pounds of fat.
Another surgical technique commonly used is the ultrasound-assisted (UAL), or ultrasonic, approach. Surgeons perform this dual process on denser areas of fat, such as in the thighs and stomach. During this technique, ultrasound waves loosen and melt fat into a liquid. Surgeons then use the cannula to extract the solution. This surgical method is more popular among men wanting more defined and contoured muscles.
Laser-assisted liposuction uses laser technology on specified areas of fat to burst energy that will loosen and liquefy the fat for removal. LAL liposuction includes brands such as SmartLipo, SlimLipo, Lipolite Laser Liposculpture, LipoLite, and ProLipo PLUS.
Liposuction is an outpatient procedure performed under general anesthesia at a hospital or surgery center. The procedure lasts about 30 minutes for each body part. It can be a stand-alone surgery, or combined with other procedures. However, the surgeon may suggest performing the surgery over a period of time for the safety of the patient. After surgery, patients are required to wear a compression garment to help the body adjust to its new shape. Bruising and swelling will subside within 1 week, but patients will not see final results for several months. Liposuction does leave a small scar, but it fades over time.
Plan Your Procedure
- Average Cost
- $4,500 - $20,000
- Recovery Time
- 8 Weeks
- Average Procedure Time
- 3-8 Hours
- Post-op Follow-up
- 4 Months
- Procedure Recovery Location
Is it Safe?
While today’s surgical techniques are safe, patients can experience poor results from inexperienced surgeons. It is important for patients to do their research, and find an experienced surgeon that can help them achieve the best, most natural-looking results.
The results of liposuction can be seen for many years following surgery if the patient follows a healthy diet and exercise program. Removed fat cells do not come back, but patients can still gain weight if their remaining fat cells grow.
Too Much Fat?
Yes, there can be too much fat. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons does not recommend removing more than 10 pounds of fat for the safety of the patient. Removing more than 10 pounds is considered high-volume liposuction, which increases the chances of complications from the surgery. Patients are advised to be near or at their ideal weight before undergoing liposuction.
While liposuction removes fat and improves contour and shape, it does not address sagging or drooping skin. If skin laxity is a concern, patients can talk to the surgeon during the consultation to discuss their options for improving skin texture, such as a tummy tuck, thigh, neck, arm, or butt lift.