What Is Liposuction?
Designed to eliminate stubborn fat deposits in various areas of the body, liposuction can help many women and men attain a slimmer, more toned appearance. However, liposuction is not intended as a weight loss procedure—ideal candidates are typically at or near their desired healthy weight. Liposuction should not be used as a substitute for diet and/or exercise, or as a treatment for sagging skin or cellulite. Philadelphia plastic surgeon Dr. Joseph DiBello approaches liposuction, also known as “lipoplasty” or “suction lipectomy,” with the experience needed to create the best results for qualified candidates.
It is Dr. DiBello’s keen attention to detail that helps him sculpt a “new body” for his patients. Where other surgeons may be incorporating liposuction into their repertoire due to its popularity, Dr. DiBello has been performing liposuction with the same focus on results and safety for years, and understands what it takes to create the best liposuction results.
What Areas of the Body Can Liposuction Treat?
Now among the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures, liposuction sculpts the body by removing undesirable fat from virtually any area. The most common treatment areas include the thighs, knees, buttocks, waist, hips, abdomen, chin, cheeks, neck, and upper arms. If you are concerned about multiple areas where stubborn fat has accumulated, it is often possible to treat more than one region within a single liposuction session. Your safety is Dr. DiBello’s priority, so he will take your individual needs and unique anatomy into consideration to ultimately determine how many (and which) areas can be treated simultaneously. Dr. DiBello will personally work with you to create an individualized treatment plan.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Liposuction?
In your initial consultation, Dr. DiBello will listen carefully to your concerns and aesthetic goals, as well as review your medical history and conduct a thorough examination. He will then work closely with you to create a treatment plan that takes your individual needs and desires into consideration to ensure an ideal outcome.
Healthy individuals who seek to reduce or eliminate localized pockets of fat and have good skin laxity are typically considered ideal candidates for liposuction. Liposuction is not a substitute for a healthy diet and exercise, but the procedure can eliminate areas of fat that are unresponsive to typical weight-loss methods. Patients who embrace diet, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle are much more likely to be satisfied with the results. A consultation with Dr. DiBello will help you determine if you are a candidate for liposuction. At that time, he will discuss what is involved in your personal surgical experience and the best technique for you to achieve a natural, toned result.
What Are the Different Types of Liposuction?
During the liposuction procedure, very small incisions are made for insertion of the liposuction cannula (suction tube). Unwanted fat is then carefully and gently extracted from targeted regions via the cannula. There are several modalities (or types) of liposuction available, employing variable size cannulas, with or without the use of an external energy source. Traditional liposuction is referred to as suction-assisted liposuction (SAL). Other common types of surgical liposuction include ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL), vaser-assisted liposuction (VAL), laser-assisted liposuction (LAL), and power-assisted liposuction (PAL).
Through Dr. DiBello’s extensive experience, he has worked to determine which procedures and techniques are the most effective and safe for his patients. UAL, VAL, LAL and non-surgical radiofrequency lipolysis all deliver heat energy to the tissues in order to break down fat cells—because the heating may cause skin injury, scarring, and release of fatty acids into the body, Dr. DiBello does not recommend these treatment types. Dr. DiBello specializes in both SAL and PAL, and because of their proven record of safety and effectiveness, uses these techniques exclusively in his practice. Additionally, both SAL and PAL can safely be used in fat transfer procedures such as the Brazilian Buttock Lift since they preserve the integrity of the fat cells.
Suction-Assisted Liposuction (SAL)
SAL, also known as “traditional liposuction,” is manually powered by the operating surgeon using back and forth movements of the cannulas. Dr. DiBello uses this method for smaller volume or delicate areas such as the neck.
Power-Assisted Liposculpture (PAL)
PAL is performed with specialized, thinner cannulas attached to a powered handpiece. The tip of the PAL cannula vibrates with small, rapid reciprocating motions, allowing the fat to be removed with less effort. This enables Dr. DiBello to provide more precise and targeted fat removal. This method is often ideal for addressing dense or larger volumes of fat (or multiple areas) and is designed for quick, gentle treatment.
Dr. DiBello is a highly knowledgeable, very skilled surgeon. He clearly explains the procedure at hand and takes the time to address all questions and post surgery care. I have recommended Dr. DiBello to family and friends.
How Is the Liposuction Procedure Performed?
Depending on the amount of treatment areas and/or the volume of fat to be removed, liposuction can be accomplished either with the use of general anesthesia or with heavy IV sedation. Dr.DiBello performs the vast majority of his liposuction procedures under general anesthesia at an accredited surgery center or hospital. The length of your procedure ultimately depends on the total amount of fat to be removed, as well as the location and number of areas being addressed. Most procedures are performed on an outpatient basis, however, any procedure where a large total volume of fat is to be removed will require overnight admission for monitoring.
In its earliest stages, liposuction was performed “dry,” meaning that there was not a wetting solution administered prior to the procedure. The addition of a “wetting” solution, otherwise known as tumescent solution, has made the liposuction procedure easier and safer. Tumescent solution consists of a numbing medication (lidocaine) and a medication to reduce bleeding (epinephrine) mixed in intravenous fluid, and is injected into the treatment area(s) prior to fat removal. This fluid disrupts fat cells for easier removal and helps reduce blood loss during the procedure by shrinking capillaries. The current methods for utilizing wetting solutions include wet, super-wet, and tumescent.
During super-wet liposuction, a conservative amount of tumescent fluid is infiltrated into the treatment area—approximately equal to the amount of fat to be removed. Super-wet liposuction uses more fluid than the wet technique, but less than the tumescent, ultimately providing maximum safety. The super-wet technique resolves the blood loss safety issue often associated with the wet technique (there is only 1% blood loss with super-wet), and reduces the risk of fluid overload that can occur with the tumescent technique.
Super-wet liposuction is considered to be one of the safest and most effective methods for liposuction, which is why it is Dr. DiBello’s preferred technique when performing SAL and PAL.
For a visual representation of this procedure, please view our liposuction 3D animation.
What Is Recovery from Liposuction Like?
It is vitally important that you follow all patient care instructions provided by Dr. DiBello and reviewed with you prior to surgery. This will include information about wearing compression garments, taking an antibiotic, if prescribed, and the level of activity that is safe. Dr. DiBello will also provide detailed instructions about the normal symptoms you will experience and any potential signs of complications. It is important to realize that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly among individuals.
Following surgery, you will need a friend or relative to drive you home, unless you stay overnight. Compression garments will need to be worn to facilitate proper healing, resulting in a better-contoured body. You will wear the compression garment over the treated areas for four to six weeks to control swelling and promote skin contraction. Mild to moderate discomfort can be expected, but Dr. DiBello will prescribe medications that can help manage this. Swelling is typically at its peak 48 hours after surgery and mostly resolves within two to three weeks. However, there may be slight residual swelling for up to four months. Bruising is normal and typically disappears within seven to ten days (Dr. DiBello usually recommends a homeopathic supplement to aid in this).
Dr. DiBello generally does not place drains with liposuction procedures, and all the incisions are closed with absorbable stitches. Due to the small size of the incisions used for liposuction, any resulting scars typically fade well and become unnoticeable, but Dr. DiBello still takes great care to strategically place the incisions in inconspicuous locations whenever possible.
How Long Do Liposuction Results Last?
A slimmer body is usually noticeable immediately after liposuction, but results should continue to improve as swelling subsides. The fat deposits removed during liposuction are permanently eliminated from the body; however, remaining fat cells can potentially expand as a result of unhealthy habits, so weight gain is still possible after liposuction. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle after the procedure is key to preserving your outcome. With a proper diet and regular exercise, initial results can be long-lasting.
Are There Any Risks or Side Effects of Liposuction?
Aside from temporary side effects like bruising, redness, or swelling, liposuction has several potential associated risks that patients should be aware of, much like any surgical procedure. These can include infection, irregular/asymmetrical contours, blood clots, fluid accumulation, and more. When performed by a skilled and experienced board-certified plastic surgeon like Dr. DiBello, the risk of developing these complications can be minimized substantially. Dr. DiBello will discuss these and any other possible risks with you prior to surgery, and is sure to take every measure to ensure the highest level of safety for all his patients. To improve overall safety and proper healing, it is also important for patients to carefully follow any aftercare instructions provided by Dr. DiBello and keep up with all scheduled follow-up appointments.
How Much Does Liposuction Cost?
Although it is important to keep in mind that liposuction pricing can vary based on each patient’s individual needs and the extent of the area(s) being addressed, the average price for suction-assisted liposuction (SAL) or power-assisted liposculpture (PAL) using the super-wet technique is approximately $5,000 at DiBello Plastic Surgery. Smaller areas, such as the neck, will be less, while larger areas, such as both thighs, may be more. Additionally, multiple areas that are treated during a single session are discounted.
Unlike many price quotes available online (which only include the surgeon’s fee), the ranges listed above are representative of the total cost of liposuction performed at an accredited hospital.
When conducting research online about liposuction cost, be sure to keep in mind that the overall price includes several variables, which can include anesthesia fees, the surgeon’s fee, prescribed medications, hospital (or surgical facility) fees, and more. To obtain a more accurate estimate, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with Dr. DiBello. In your consultation, he can provide you with a customized price quote that can give you a better idea of what you can expect.