Liposuction in Seattle, WA | PHASE Plastic Surgery
Liposuction is one of the top body contouring procedures and is incredibly versatile at removing select areas of fat. As one of the most sought-after cosmetic surgeries, liposuction can extract exercise- and diet-resistant fat cells in a variety of regions of the body. Additionally, liposuction can be combined with numerous procedures, including breast reduction, tummy tuck, arm lift, body contouring, and some facial rejuvenation procedures.
At PHASE Plastic Surgery in Seattle, WA, board-certified plastic surgeons Dr. Richard A. Baxter and Dr. Donald M. Brown use techniques and methods based on years of experience when performing liposuction that help enhance the results they can achieve.
Contact us today to schedule your Seattle liposuction consultation at PHASE Plastic Surgery and Longevity Institute. Our office is located in Northern Seattle, away from the traffic and hustle of the city, for convenient, hassle-free access.
How Does Liposuction Remove Stubborn Fat?
Liposuction targets isolated fat cells in the abdomen, upper arms, hips, and thighs. Fat cells naturally develop throughout the body due to a combination of factors pertaining to lifestyle, including diet, hormone changes, age, and activity levels. Unfortunately, these fat depots don’t always respond to diet and activity, causing frustration. For years, liposuction has proved to be the most effective method to extract stubborn fat cells and provide slimmer, more defined body contours.
The process uses a narrow surgical instrument called a cannula inserted through a tiny incision near the targeted region. The cannula is connected to suction and moved through the fat layer, extracting the fat cells while meticulously shaping the area to create natural-looking results.
What Are Some of the Benefits of Liposuction?
Liposuction offers multiple benefits to patients looking to remove stubborn fat bulges and achieve the slim shape they cannot reach in the gym or the kitchen—no matter how committed they are to living a healthy lifestyle. When dieting and exercise aren’t enough to reshape your figure, liposuction can provide a solution to obtaining:
Liposuction is one of the least invasive cosmetic surgeries available compared to other body contouring procedures. There is a brief period of downtime after surgery, but most patients report a quick and tolerable recovery. This quick recovery is largely due to the techniques utilized by Dr. Baxter and Dr. Brown.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Liposuction?
Liposuction has become such a common procedure that many people think it can be used to lose weight. However, this is not accurate. Liposuction is not an alternative to a healthy and active lifestyle; in fact, individuals who want to pursue liposuction should have some of the following characteristics:
Again, liposuction is not meant as a weight loss treatment but rather to treat pockets of small to moderate-sized areas of excess fat. Liposuction candidates should be in good overall health and have reasonable expectations surrounding their results. Any other stipulations or considerations will be addressed during your consultation.
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What Areas Can Be Treated with Liposuction?
Liposuction can be performed on nearly any area of the body that is notorious for holding on to fat. These areas are typically difficult to tone naturally, making them ideal for liposuction treatments. Some common areas that liposuction can be performed include:
Different Types of Liposuction Procedures
We offer different methods of liposuction that can effectively remove pockets of fat while maintaining your safety. All methods involve the placement of a numbing solution with lidocaine and epinephrine in the area to be treated, whether or not additional anesthesia is given.
Traditional or standard liposuction places the numbing solution in a 1:1 ratio to the estimated volume of fat to be removed.
The tumescent method was introduced in the 1990s and involved the placement of the numbing solution in a higher volume compared to the amount of fat to be removed. It is sometimes incorrectly described as a safer alternative to general anesthesia. It is most suitable for small areas when general anesthesia or intravenous sedation isn’t planned.
Ultrasound-Assisted liposuction, or UAL, uses ultrasonic vibrations to loosen the fat cells for easier removal. Dr. Baxter was the first to perform a UAL procedure in the Northwest but eventually determined that the added time and expense to the patient did not translate into better results.
Laser energy is utilized in this approach to liquefy fat cells and encourage the smoother removal of excess fat. This has been marketed under various brand names such as “Smart Lipo” but has fallen out of favor due to a greater risk of complications such as scarring and debate over whether the results lived up to the hype.
Liposuction vs. Tummy Tuck
As two of the top procedures that address localized fat in the abdominal area, the key differences between these two procedures may help you understand the most beneficial technique for your individual concerns and aesthetic goals. Liposuction is generally used to help patients who have localized fat and little-to-no excess or loose skin. The procedure is designed to remove these stubborn pockets of fat without tightening loose skin, so good skin elasticity must be present to achieve the desired results.
Tummy tuck surgery is meant for patients with excess skin and/or separated abdominal muscles (diastasis) due to pregnancy, weight loss, or age. A tummy tuck is designed to correct loose skin and repair the separated abdominal muscles and will include a reduction of localized fat when needed. In some cases, patients will benefit from combining liposuction with their abdominoplasty procedure to help remove excess fat, tighten loose skin, and repair the separated muscles.
During your consultation with Dr. Baxter or Dr. Brown, they will listen to your concerns and recommend the best surgical approach that addresses your needs and desires.
What to Expect from a Seattle Liposuction Treatment at PHASE Plastic Surgery
Liposuction surgery will be performed at our fully accredited surgery center with local tumescent anesthesia with or without intravenous sedation for minor body contouring or general anesthesia for larger or longer procedures. Once the anesthesia has been administered, small incisions will be created near the targeted areas. Then, the tumescent solution, containing diluted lidocaine and epinephrine, is injected into the treatment area. The cannula will then break apart or dislodge the fat so it can be gently suctioned out.
What to Expect from Liposuction Recovery?
Patients typically describe the discomfort after a liposuction procedure as soreness more than pain. Some numbness, swelling, and bruising are common but temporary post-operative effects. You will likely be advised to take short walks a day or two after your procedure to promote circulation for faster healing. You will wear a compression garment for three weeks or more.
Most patients require no more than one to two weeks off their normal activities. Listening to your body helps determine when you’re ready to return to your normal work schedule, especially if your profession requires heavy physical labor or standing on your feet for long hours.
Everyone heals at their rate, and your recovery may be faster or slower than other patients. Most of the swelling and bruising will subside within a few weeks, at which point you should have an idea of what your results will be. Dr. Baxter and Dr. Brown will monitor you closely throughout your recovery and provide more specific instructions during your initial consultation.
Schedule Your Seattle, WA Liposuction at PHASE Plastic Surgery
Liposuction can be an excellent way to reduce excess fat in hard-to-tone areas of the body. Dr. Richard Baxter and Dr. Donald Brown are nationally recognized plastic surgeons providing liposuction to patients throughout Washington state. The team of experienced and caring professionals at our fully accredited, private surgical facility makes for the best patient experience. Let us guide you through your liposuction procedure! Contact PHASE Plastic Surgery to learn more about your body contouring options today.
The tumescent method is a simple, but revolutionary technique, which has improved results and enabled faster recovery from liposuction since it was introduced several years ago. (I was one of the pioneers of the tumescent technique in the Northwest in the early 1990’s.) Nevertheless, there is a considerable amount of confusion about exactly what it is. Basically, it involves the injection of a relatively large amount of fluid into the fatty tissue, which the surgeon plans to remove by liposuction. The fluid contains a small amount of lidocaine (a local anesthetic similar to Novocaine) and epinephrine (adrenaline.) The lidocaine helps to make the area numb and the epinephrine constricts the blood vessels so that there is dramatically less bruising and blood loss. Virtually, all liposuction procedures done today involve the infusion of fluid for these reasons. The confusion has to do with the use of the tumescent technique as the only form of anesthesia. This approach has traditionally been advocated by non-surgeons (such as dermatologists) who did not have access to surgical facilities. I believe that most patients are far more comfortable with additional anesthesia. Usually sedation, not general from a qualified anesthesia professional, since the injections of large amounts of fluid can be painful.
It is important to make your decision in consultation with a plastic surgeon who has extensive experience in state-of-the-art techniques. There are several new technologies in liposuction, and these are often introduced with so much marketing hype that it can be difficult to separate truth from fiction. Remember that all of the current methods use the tumescent technique. So in and of itself, the tumescent technique is not really a specific method.
“Traditional” method: With the traditional or standard method, suctioning is done with a small instrument called a cannula. This is a blunt-tipped instrument about the diameter of a cocktail straw, with holes near the tip. After the area is infused with tumescent fluid, the cannula is connected to suction and the tip is inserted through a small incision in the skin. The cannula is moved continuously until the desired amount of fat has been removed and the planned contour change has been achieved.
Ultrasonic-assisted liposuction (UAL): Ultrasound is high-frequency sound waves, which can help to soften and liquefy fat cells, making it easier to achieve good results in areas where the fat is more dense (such as abdomen, hips, back, and chest.) The internal UAL method uses a specially designed probe to deliver the ultrasonic energy directly into the fat compartment. The most widely used type of UAL is called VASER. Most UAL procedures employ a combination of ultrasonic and traditional techniques.
Laser-assisted liposuction: Out of all the new procedures that have appeared over the last several years, this one has undoubtedly received the most hype. But does it really offer any advantage over traditional techniques including ultrasound? The procedure still involves injection of anesthetic fluid and requires the use of a suction cannula just like regular liposuction. The only difference is the use of a laser, which is supposed to soften up the fat and stimulate the skin so that it might tighten better. Although some studies show a measurable increase in skin shrinkage, it is not likely to be clinically significant and the use of laser adds expense and the risk of burns and scarring. Paradoxically, laser lipo has been advertised as being less invasive and safer.
Keep in mind that liposuction is a body contouring procedure, not a weight-loss shortcut. And, even though the use of tumescent technique enables larger amounts of fat to be removed because of the reduced blood loss, infusion of large amounts of fluid creates a physiologic strain on the body. For these and other reasons, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons has recommended that outpatient liposuction procedures remove no more than 5000cc (about 5 quarts of fat.) Very large volumes of fat removal are much less likely to result in either long-term weight reduction or satisfactory contours.
The number and distribution of fat cells is believed to be determined at an early age as a manifestation of genetics. With adult weight gain, there are not more fat cells, but rather the cells expand. Also, fat cells in different parts of the body respond differently to diet, exercise, and hormonal changes. That is why the usual liposuction patient has discrete problem areas such as the outer thighs that are out of proportion to the rest of the body. Liposuction does remove cells, permanently reducing the fat “storage capacity” in specific areas. Normally, this results in more even distribution of body fat.
Generally, there is relatively little discomfort after liposuction, although everyone’s experience is unique as with anything else. I recommend light activity for the first 5 days, followed by gradually progressing to normal routines over the next 2 weeks. Compression garments are highly recommended to be worn for 3 to 4 weeks, in order to control swelling and hold the skin smooth.