This page gives detailed information
about liposuction (liposculpture, lipoplasty)
Richard V. Dowden, M.D., C.M., F.A.C.S.
Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery
Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery, Inc.
6770 Mayfield Road, Suite 410
Cleveland, Ohio 44124
Liposuction (liposculpture, lipoplasty)
Suction-assisted lipectomy (also known as liposuction, fat suction, liposculpture, or suction lipectomy) is a technique to remove unwanted fat deposits from specific areas of the body. Many people have certain areas of their body that do not respond to weight loss or to exercise. This is often to some degree hereditary, and can be a source of fustration for the person who has achieved the correct body weight, and good muscle tone, but cannot eliminate a certain area of fat excess. Liposuction is not a substitute for weight loss, and Dr. Dowden does not consider liposuction appropriate as a method of weight loss for obese people. Liposuction is a long-lasting way of reducing the fat in such localized areas leaving only very small scars. It can be performed as an isolated procedure, but Dr. Dowden often combines liposuction with other operations.
Liposuction was developed in the late 1970's, and Dr. Dowden has been performing liposuction since 1981. The techniques were progressively improved and refined over the years, culminating in the present method of injecting a large volume of salt-water and using very thin instruments. This current method is called the "Tumescent" technique, and Dr. Dowden has been using the tumescent technique since the early 1980's.
A recent advance in liposuction is Ultrasonic-assisted liposuction, a technique which Dr Dowden is also trained in and qualified to perform, and he has been performing ultrasonic-assisted liposuction since the early 1990's. In Ultrasonic-assisted liposuction, high-frequency sound waves are used to liquify the fat prior to removal, allowing larger amounts of fat to be removed safely, and improving the effectiveness in some areas. Ultrasonic-assisted liposuction is also a tumescent technique. Ultrasonic-assist leaves scars that are slightly larger than non-ultrasonic methods.
Every procedure has positive aspects and negative aspects. There are some advantages and disadvantages of liposuction, which must be considered when deciding whether the procedure is appropriate. In addition, every operation has potential complications, which can occur in a small percentage of patients even in the best of hands, and it is therefore possible to have complications after liposuction, of which patients should be aware.
The effectiveness depends on the area:
The advantages of liposuction in general are:
- cheeks - very effective
- chin - moderately effective
- under chin - very effective
- neck - somewhat effective
- upper arms - moderately effective
- breasts - moderately effective
- abdomen - very effective
- back -very effective
- flanks - very effective
- buttocks- moderately effective
- hips - very effective
- thighs - very effective
- knees - very effective
- calves - moderately effective
- ankles - somewhat effective
All surgery involves some degree of pain, some bruising, expense, and time for recovery, and most surgery leaves visible scars somewhere. However, with liposuction, all of these drawbacks are less than with the older, alternative methods of fat removal. Postoperatively, there is a slight amount of swelling which takes several weeks or longer to subside, and Dr. Dowden usually recommends wearing an elastic support garment until the swelling is gone. Liposuction is not considered a treatment for obesity.
- Treat areas that cannot be reduced by diet or exercise
- Outpatient procedure usually
- Very little blood loss
- Rapid recovery
- Very small scars
The fees for liposuction by Dr Dowden include: pre-operative examination and testing, operating room, anesthesiologist, recovery room, medical supplies and dressings, surgeons fee, overnight stay if appropriate, and office checkups for 52 weeks. The fee depends upon several factors such as location of the area or areas being treated, the number of areas being treated, and whether the patient is staying overnight or going home. Ultrasonic liposuction slightly increases the cost. If multiple areas are being treated at the same time, the cost is of course higher, but there is some savings accomplished.
One can find surgeons offering lower fees for this surgery, and although lower fees do not necessarily mean that the surgeon is not experienced, there are several questions to which prospective patients must learn the answers:
You want to be certain the answer is yes to all of these before deciding.
- Is the surgeon certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery?
- Does the surgeon have considerable experience with liposuction?
- Is the surgical facility fully accredited for general anesthesia?
- Will there be an M.D. Anesthesiologist present?
- Will the surgeon be doing the surgery himself/herself?
- Can you be sure the surgeon is not just supervising trainees?
- Does the quoted fee include anesthesia, operating room, supplies and follow-ups?
Virtually all cosmetic surgery is prepaid, but various financing options are available. It is not appropriate for health insurance to cover cosmetic surgery, and Dr. Dowden will not participate in attempts to submit cosmetic surgery to insurance companies.
Complications are very unlikely after cosmetic surgery, but can occur in a very small percentage of patients, even in the hands of a highly skilled and qualified plastic surgeon. Any operation carries the possibility of anesthetic risks, bleeding, infection, suboptimal scarring, and poor healing. Rarely there can be numbness, skin irregularity, and discoloration after liposuction. Complications are less likely if the patient is a non-smoker, is not overweight, and avoids medicines that promote bleeding, such as aspirin and related drugs.
For the most current cost information, link to the cost page.
It is usually not necessary to stay overnight after liposuction, unless a large volume removal is expected. Recovery time varies from one person to another, and depends upon the person's age, body weight, body area treated, and the nature of their work and activities; most people are back to work in two or three days. A compression garment is worn for several weeks, which may limit activities.
Images Copyright © R.V.Dowden, MD, 2009.
View a number of before-and-after photos of liposuction patients.
If you are interested in liposuction and want to find a board-certified Plastic Surgeon in your area who is qualified to do it, call the referral service of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons at (800)-635-0635, or check
http://www.plasticsurgery.org.To find out if a surgeon whose name you have been given is truly a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon, put the name into the search engine at http://www.abms.org to find out.
Images Copyright © R.V. Dowden, MD, 1993.
This page Copyright © R.V. Dowden, MD, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007.
This information may not be reproduced or distributed electronically or in print without permission from Dr. Dowden.
Note that while the information given by Dr. Dowden during a consultation is completely current and up-to-date, the information of this website is only as current as the date of last update, and therefore may become out-of-date.
Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery
6770 Mayfield Road, Suite 410
(Mayfield Heights) Cleveland, Ohio 44124
Note: To ensure privacy for our patients, all of our outgoing phone lines have their caller ID permanently blocked; if your phone does not accept blocked ID calls you will not be able to receive any calls back from our office.
Last Update: 7:03 PM on 08/01/2012
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