There’s no doubt about it: liposuction is a popular plastic surgery. In fact, more than 200,000 people will seek liposuction this year. And even more will have liposuction added onto a different cosmetic procedure.
Patients who schedule liposuction in Orange County, California, or elsewhere in the United States have a lot of questions. Unfortunately, there are a number of misconceptions about this common procedure.
Here are seven of the most common misconceptions about this sought-after technique, and what the truth really is about your liposuction procedure.
#1 Liposuction Is Dangerous
Liposuction is surgery (see misconception #7 below), and like any surgical technique, there can be risks. Ask your plastic surgeon what the risks may include for your liposuction procedure and how to minimize them.
The reality is that liposuction has come a long way. And a reputable, experienced plastic surgeon will use methods that minimize your risks. Overall, liposuction is considered safe for a majority of patients
You can help, too: follow all your doctor’s instructions before and after your surgery, don’t drink or smoke, and make sure to attend any of your follow-up appointments on time.
These steps will help reduce your risk factors and can aid in a smoother recovery.
#2: You Can’t Gain Weight in an Area Where You’ve Had Liposuction
Liposuction does permanently remove fat cells. Actually, that’s the purpose of the procedure.
Your body is a survival machine, and while for many people it’s easy to put on fat, fat cells in the body don’t disappear completely, even with dieting. If you gain weight due to inactivity, eating habits, or other factors, fat cells in your body can — and do — grow, according to research.
That means that fat cells that remain in the body, even near a liposuction site, will expand or shrink depending upon your habits after the procedure.
#3: Liposuction Is a Cellulite Removal Method
The belief that liposuction “removes cellulite from your body” comes from two misconceptions: one, that there is no limit to the amount of fat that can be removed at one time (see misconception #2 above); and two, that cellulite is “just excess fat.”
Cellulite occurs when fat underneath the skin, called subcutaneous fat, creates bulges in your connective tissue. Fat can be removed later on via liposuction, but the malformations in the connective tissue will remain.
#4: You Will See Your Liposuction Results Immediately
Liposuction immediately removes fat cells from one or more areas of the body. However, it may take a few weeks before you see your final, pleasing result, according to plastic surgeons.
The primary reason for this is that most patients have some swelling after their liposuction surgery. In addition, a certain number of fat cells can be expected to die off afterward.
Be sure to choose a reputable and experienced doctor to perform your liposuction. A skilled plastic surgeon knows where, and how much, fat to remove so your result a few weeks later will be what you want it to be.
#5: Liposuction Makes Skin Tighter
Unfortunately, because it does not remove skin, liposuction will not necessarily create a tighter look if you have laxity issues (such as after pregnancy or significant weight loss).
Some patients with severe lax skin considerations choose other forms of plastic surgery, such as an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) or arm lift (brachioplasty), along with liposuction for their ideal result.
#6: Liposuction Will Result in Sagging Skin
On the opposite end of #5 above is the belief that removing fat means the skin will look loose and saggy afterward. The idea is that, like a balloon, if an area is “inflated” and then quickly “deflated,” excess skin will be left over.
That sounds logical, and can indeed be a phenomenon if the skin has been significantly pushed out for a period of time (as with years of obesity or with pregnancy. However, many liposuction patients are pleased to find their skin is still firm following the procedure.
If the liposuction area is not overly large, if you have oily or less stretch mark-prone skin, if you’re young, and/or if you are generally healthy, the collagen and elastin in your skin are more likely to adjust to a smaller size after fat is removed. Ask your plastic surgeon what you can expect given your health factors.
#7: Liposuction Isn’t “Really Surgery”
Liposuction involves a minimal incision through which a sterile instrument called a cannula is attached. The cannula is moved in a back-and-forth motion under the skin to vacuum out fat cells.
It isn’t a skin-removal surgery like abdominoplasty, but it is still surgery. Follow all your plastic surgeon’s instructions before and after your liposuction so you heal your very best.
Your Take-Home About Liposuction Surgery
Liposuction is common, and it’s less invasive than some other plastic surgery techniques. However, you probably have questions about your procedure.
Make sure to write down questions (or add them as notes on your phone) and have a serious sit-down discussion with your plastic surgeon beforehand. That way, you can be prepared for what’s ahead — and enjoy your beautiful result for years to come.