Liposuction, technically known as suction-assisted lipectomy, can be used to treat localized areas of adiposity (fatty collection). Fluid is first injected into the areas to receive treatment. Small incisions are made for access and typically require a single suture for closure. The fluid contains lidocaine for pain relief and epinephrine to help minimize blood loss. Next, liposuction is performed to reduce the fatty content of the areas being treated. Liposuction is used for localized fatty deposits and is not appropriate for global fat reduction. Liposuction is frequently combined with other breast or body procedures but can be performed as the sole procedure.
At the time of your initial consultation, you will meet with Dr. Barlow and discuss your concerns and goals. He will examine you and then offer possible surgical solutions. At this time, the extent of the corrective surgery will be explained. Pre-operative photographs will be made to facilitate surgical planning. Of course, you will have the opportunity to ask questions and have them answered.
You will again see Dr. Barlow for a pre-operative appointment. The surgical plan will be reviewed and any additional questions answered. Dr. Barlow will note any changes in your medical history and will listen to your heart and lungs. You will also be given prescriptions to fill prior to your procedure. You will then register at the hospital.
The procedure takes up to two hours and is performed under general anesthesia. Incisions are small (3-4 mm) and are placed in skin folds or other well-hidden locations. Dr. Barlow performs all procedures in two hospitals in the Clear Lake/Houston area (CHRISTUS St. John Hospital where he is co-director of the Plastic Surgery Program or Clear Lake Regional Hospital where he serves as the Plastic Surgery Section Head on the Surgical Executive Committee) as an outpatient procedure. This is an important distinction. In Texas, a fully trained plastic and reconstructive surgeon is granted hospital privileges to perform suction-assisted lipectomy. Physicians who call themselves cosmetic surgeons may not have completed a plastic surgery residency. In fact, some cosmetic surgeons have not completed a single day of any surgical residency, let alone a plastic surgery residency. These physicians generally perform procedures in their own facilities because they cannot obtain hospital credentials. There is only one certifying board for plastic surgeons that is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties, and that is the American Board of Plastic Surgery. The American Board of Medical Specialties governs and regulates each residency program, insuring that every graduate has met a rigorous training standard.
Post-operatively, you will be seen within a week to evaluate your healing. Bruising is common as is a moderate amount of swelling in the operative areas. You will be required to wear a compressive garment for one month to help reduce swelling and speed your recovery. Sutures are typically removed one week after surgery. You will be seen weekly for the first month, every other week for the second month and then every other month out to six months. You will be followed annually from then on.
Full activities are resumed gradually but rigorous exercise is prohibited for the first post-operative month. This will allow your body time to recover from the surgery and avoid any unnecessarily prolonged swelling. During the early recovery period, increased activity will often lead to increased swelling.
Liposuction is a very gratifying procedure for both Dr. Barlow and his patients. Most patients are very pleased with the increased self-esteem they experience. Dr. Barlow looks forward to meeting with you and discussing your options. Call or e-mail today to schedule your appointment!