Despite regular exercise and a healthy diet, it’s often difficult to remove unwanted fat in certain areas of the body. Exercise machines, fat vanishing creams and tight-fitting garments have no capacity to remove specific areas of fat. Many of the patients who come in for a consultation have tried some of these unsuccessful body contouring methods. Click here to Request Your Consultation at Crystal Clinic Plastic Surgeons.

The Facts About Fat

Fat cells are unique. After birth, fat cells don’t multiply or regenerate like other cells in the body. Rather, the fat cells simply get larger and become more full as you gain weight. Gender differences combined with hereditary factors determine your capacity for storing fat in different areas of the body. For example, women tend to store more fat around the hips, thighs and abdomen, whereas men tend to store fat around the waistline.

Liposuction Types

Frequent advances in the field of cosmetic surgery make it difficult for the patient to be fully informed and aware of the plastic surgery vocabulary and lingo. The following are terms you will hear in Akron while discussing liposuction.

Tumescent Technique–Prior to performing the liposuction procedure, salt water (also called saline) along with adrenaline and sometimes an anesthetic medicine, lidocaine, is injected into the fatty layer. Tumescent technique is a commonly used procedure in all liposuction procedures to prevent bleeding.

Suction-Assisted liposuction (SAL)–Suction-assisted liposuction is the traditional “liposuction.” In this technique a thin, hollow metal tube with multiple holes at the end, called a cannula, is placed into the fatty layer through a small incision. The end of the cannula outside the body is attached to tubing that is connected to a vacuum. The cannula is moved back and forth through the fat by the surgeon and the fat is vacuumed into the tubing.

Ultrasonic-Assisted liposuction (UAL)–UAL is one of the newer techniques for liposuction. In this technique, the tip of the cannula delivers ultrasound energy into the fatty layer. The ultrasonic energy causes the fat to “implode,” turning the fat to liquid. SAL is then used to remove the liquefied fat and further contour the area. This powerful technique allows the surgeon to sculpt difficult areas more easily, in particular the male breast, the upper abdomen and the upper back.

Who is a good candidate for Liposuction?

While almost all people are potential candidates for liposuction, there are certain characteristics that make you a better candidate than others. Liposuction is most commonly recommended for those who are at or near their normal weight, have good skin elasticity and excess fat at specific locations. Although liposuction is not a treatment for obesity, it can still be used to permanently contour an area that diet and exercise cannot eliminate.

Skin elasticity is a key aspect in assessing the potential effectiveness of liposuction. When fat is removed from an area with liposuction alone, the overlying skin must tighten up or else the skin will be saggy. Therefore, the ideal liposuction patient is someone who has good skin elasticity. Those with loose, saggy skin or with stretch marks are better candidates for tummy tuck in Akron, OH, which removes the loose, saggy skin as well as the fat. Liposuction can be combined with a lift procedure to effectively remove fat and tighten the skin.

Liposuction alone is not a good treatment for cellulite. Again, a tummy tuck, which removes skin and fat in conjunction with liposuction, is better at eliminating cellulite and producing smoother skin.

Power-Assisted Liposuction (PAL)-PAL is the newest liposuction technique that combines the SAL technique with a motorized system that produces back and forth motions in the cannula.

Despite regular fitness and proper nutrition, a shapely, well-proportioned figure is not always attainable because of hereditary factors that determine where you deposit fat. Liposuction is a surgical technique that allows a plastic surgeon to remove excess fat from specific areas, including the face, neck, arms, back, chest, abdomen, hips and love handles, buttocks, thighs, knees, calves and ankles. Using liposuction to remove fat from specific locations creates a more balanced body contour.

Areas of the body that are commonly treated with liposuction include:

  • Face
  • Neck
  • Upper Arms
  • Back
  • Chest
  • Abdomen & Waist
  • Hips
  • Love Handles
  • Buttocks
  • Thighs
  • Inner Knees
  • Calves & Ankles

Benefits of Liposuction

Advances in surgical techniques and instrumentation, improved safety of anesthesia, excellent outcomes and happy patients have contributed to the tremendous demand in liposuction over the past few years. Such a high satisfaction with liposuction procedures has resulted in liposuction being the most common cosmetic surgery procedure. Body contouring and shaping procedures, such as liposuction and lifts, can eliminate excess fat and tighten loose muscles and skin, creating a more enhanced, well-proportioned and fit body shape. Clothes fit better. It is often easier to buy clothes. Patients report feeling more confident and having a greater self-confidence about their body image.

Liposuction is also used in reconstructive plastic surgery. Liposuction is very helpful in creating a shapely breast mound in women undergoing breast reconstruction following mastectomy. In certain patients with eating disorders that are interrelated with a distorted body image, the use of liposuction to address a specific area, especially the “saddle bag” areas on the thighs, can be a therapeutic treatment. By surgically correcting the area with excess fat, obsessive exercise habits and starvation diets are no longer needed to maintain the desired body shape.

What will happen at the initial consultation?

A body-shaping procedure is a very personal decision, and we want to make sure all of your questions and concerns are addressed. At Crystal Clinic Plastic Surgeons in Akron, the liposuction consultation will begin with a complete medical history and exam. You should tell your doctor if you have any history of poor scarring; any history of previous liposuction or any surgery, any family history of breast cancer, and your areas of concern. If you are planning to lose a significant amount of weight or you may want to become pregnant in the future, you should mention this to your doctor. You will be asked about the changes you seek, your exercise habits and your diet. This will help us understand your expectations and determine a plan that best addresses your expectations. To assure the maximum health and cosmetic benefits from a liposuction procedure, a private consultation with a registered dietitian and a personal trainer may be recommended as part of a comprehensive plan.

The examination will evaluate the size and shape of your extremities and trunk, the quality of your skin and the proportion of your body, bustline and extremities. Other options available will be discussed. You can see photos of recent patients before and after surgery. Patient references are available upon request. The estimated costs of the treatment will be explained. Photographs will be taken for your medical record. Other issues that will be discussed include:


The incisions used for liposuction are small, generally less than the width of your ring fingertip and are hidden in inconspicuous areas, such as under the chin, under the arms, in the covered areas of your swimsuit or panties. The particular technique and incisions used for you will depend on the areas to be treated and the need to tighten the skin.

Will my medical insurance cover Liposuction?

Health insurance usually does not cover liposuction because it is considered cosmetic surgery. If the procedure is for reconstructive purposes, such as breast reconstruction, then your medical coverage should pay for it. Most health insurance companies cover the costs of the procedure if the surgery is deemed medically necessary. You should check with your health insurance company prior to surgery and obtain written confirmation that they will cover the procedure.

Risks and Limitations

Women who undergo liposuction and other body-contouring procedures are generally very pleased to have their new shapely figure. However, as with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks from anesthesia, bleeding or infection. Fortunately, none of these are frequent complications. The following are other potential risks of liposuction:

Scars-Liposuction involves incisions. The small incisions will leave scars. Some people make inconspicuous scars while others make more prominent scars. Occasionally, especially in women of color, the scars can be raised and painful; these are known as keloids or hypertrophic scars. There is no way to know if you are one of those people unless you’ve had a past history of this occurring. However, there are several ways to intervene to help prevent and treat prominent scars if they occur.

Unevenness-The goal of liposuction is to sculpt and contour fat and create the body shape you desire. You may not obtain a perfect contour after one procedure. Repeat touch-up procedures are occasionally needed and an option if necessary.

The skin may not tighten up as much as you expected. A lift or tuck procedure may be required to eliminate the loose skin.

Embolus-This extremely rare complication can be caused during the procedure as a fat embolus or after the procedure from a blood clot developing in a vein. Any shortness of breath or general sense of illness should be called to the attention of your doctor.

Alternative Treatments

Body Lifts and Tucks-Body lifts and tucks are necessary to tighten lax, droopy skin. Skin with stretch marks often needs a lift procedure. Liposuction and lift procedure are often performed at the same time and are the best way to remove fat, lift and tighten skin, and contour the body shape.

Lose Weight-Losing weight will change your body shape, but it does not allow you to contour areas where stubborn fat exists. Only liposuction or a lift procedure has the ability to permanently eliminate excess fat at specific locations that are resistant to diet and exercise. Our registered dietitian can work with you to assess and change your diet according to your specific needs.

Exercise-Exercise, including both aerobic fitness and muscle strength, is necessary to maximize your health. We encourage you to make an appointment with our personal trainer to re-evaluate your fitness and exercise needs.

These are some of the benefits of exercise:

  • you will burn more calories
  • it will improve your muscle tone and strength
  • it is beneficial to your heart and other organs
  • it will help you reduce and tolerate stress
  • you will feel better
  • you will have more energy
  • it will help you maintain your new shape

How is liposuction performed?

The goal of Crystal Clinic Plastic Surgeons and the Crystal staff is to make your surgical experience as easy and comfortable for you as possible. You will be asked to stop smoking and avoid certain vitamins and drugs that can cause bleeding, such as aspirin, ibuprofen and vitamin E. Additional preoperative instructions and prescriptions to be used postoperatively will be provided. For convenience, we recommend that you have your prescriptions filled several days prior to the procedure. Liposuction is usually performed with an overnight stay or as an outpatient. If your surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, you should arrange for someone to take you home and stay with you the first night.

Your procedure will be performed in an outpatient surgery center or hospital. Your doctor will see you before the procedure-sometimes even the day before the procedure-and place ink marks on the skin. General anesthesia is used for most people. For small areas or touch-ups, IV sedation and tumescent technique is an option. Antibiotics will be administered at the time of surgery. The procedure takes two to five hours. The procedure consists of making small incisions and contouring the areas with liposuction-on the backside initially, followed by the front side. Dissolvable stitches are used to close the incisions. A layer of foam will be placed on the overlying skin and secured with a girdle-like garment, also called a compression garment.

Following surgery, you will be taken to the recovery area where you will continue to be closely monitored. Pain medications are administered to keep you comfortable. You will be permitted to go home after a few hours unless you have planned to stay overnight.

Liposuction patient shown before surgery with bulging hips, thighs and buttocks. Short incisions are made through the skin to introduce the instrument that will remove fat in the shaded areas. A similar technique may be used to remove localized fat deposits from other areas of the bod

A long, hollow tube with an opening at one end is inserted. At the tubeís opposite end, a vacuum pressure unit suctions off fat. Ultrasonic energy sometimes may be used to liquefy fat before it is removed. The postoperative patient with slimmed lower body contour.

Liposuction patient shown before surgery with bulging hips, thighs and buttocks. Short incisions are made through the skin to introduce the instrument that will remove fat in the shaded areas. A similar technique may be used to remove localized fat deposits from other areas of the body.

A long, hollow tube with an opening at one end is inserted. At the tubeís opposite end, a vacuum pressure unit suctions off fat. Ultrasonic energy sometimes may be used to liquefy fat before it is removed. The postoperative patient with slimmed lower body contour.

What can I expect after Liposuction?

The day after surgery you will be sore. You will have prescribed pain medication, and your need for this will become less and less over two weeks. Start your prescribed medicines and supplements the first day after surgery. The second day after surgery, you may start ibuprofen 600mg every eight hours. You will be seen in the office within the first week and then at weeks two and six, six months and one year.

The day after surgery you may take a shower if you wish. The incisions will be covered with tape strips. These should be left in place for two to three days and then removed. I prefer that you replace the foam under the girdle and continue to wear it for 48 hours after surgery. After that, you may remove the foam permanently and just wear the compression garment. Plan to wear the garment for the next three weeks.

You can expect to be sore for three to five days. After that you should be able to lift normal-weighted objects, drive and lift your arms above your head. Activities that require extensive use of the arms and chest, including repetitive lifting, should be limited for four to six weeks. You may resume sexual activity after four days, but you should be gentle with your body for the next four to six weeks. You may return to work one to two weeks after surgery. Swelling and bruising will gradually resolve over six weeks. The scars may be red or pink for several months, but should gradually improve. Swelling can persist for up to six months, and it may take this long to see the final results. In general, the more fat, the longer it takes for the skin to fully adapt and tighten.

It is not uncommon to have numbness of the overlying skin or intermittent, shooting pains. Both of these gradually resolve completely within a few months.

What is the long-term outcome for most people?

Liposuction is very gratifying. You have a more fit, well-proportioned body shape. Your clothes fit better, and you feel better about the way you look. However, despite wanting liposuction for years, some women may experience “the blues” for a few weeks until they adjust to their new body image.

If you gain weight, your body will get bigger, but since the fat cells have been removed from the treated areas, they will maintain the contour from the procedure and should be long lasting. Areas that were not treated will gain weight as usual. If, over time, you become dissatisfied with the appearance of your body shape, you may want to consider a revision. We recommend an annual follow-up to make sure you remain satisfied with your result.