Posted by Dr. Halaas | on January 3, 2018 »

What your plastic surgeon isn’t telling you about liposuction

Liposuction is often touted as the most effective form of plastic surgery to remove unwanted fat. Indeed, there are probably very few people who haven’t heard of the procedure. However, what is it? How does it work? Is it permanent? The answers aren’t so black and white, and may actually surprise you.

What is liposuction, and how does it work?

Liposuction works by way of an incision being made, and a hollow tube being inserted and suctioning out fatty tissue. Depending on how the procedure is performed, fat cells are either physically broken down or liquified using laser or ultrasound, and then literally vacuumed and drained out of the body.

While there is usually a noticeable result almost immediately, but there are definitely limitations to this procedure and it’s not a substitute for proper diet and regular exercise. In fact, one of the biggest drawbacks to liposuction is that weight will often return if the patient does not change their lifestyle. Furthermore, liposuction is unable to address cellulite or sagging skin that often accompanies the loss of fat stores in clinically obese patients.

Being a major surgery, liposuction runs the risk of causing a number of short-term and long-term side effects, including:

  • bruising
  • Swelling
  • leaking from incisions
  • inflammation
  • infection
  • scars
  • pigmentation changes
  • tissue and nerve damage
  • uneven results
  • bloodclots

While liposuction can be more effective with little risk for complications, for smaller areas, like under the chin, there are other non-surgical alternatives available.

Better alternatives?

One treatment which is taking the cosmetic industry by storm is Kybella. Approved by the FDA two years ago, Kybella is both a non-invasive and non-surgical injection of deoxycholic acid, a chemical compound produced naturally by our digestive system to break down and absorb fat in order to treat fat cells in numerous places including the double-chin.

Unlike liposuction, alternatives like Kybella are not associated with the pain and down time that we see with more invasive surgeries. In fact, recovery time is relatively minimal, and the healing process uses the body’s lymphatic system to flush out fat as it breaks down. Most patients report a bit of discomfort and swelling, but nothing to the level seen in a major surgery like liposuction.

In addition, the costs are relatively controlled with Kybella. Treatments can vary based on how much of the product is injected, but you’re typically looking at 2-3 treatments ranging between $900 to $1500 each treatment, requiring no more than two or three treatments in most cases. Much of this depends on your specific needs, and what exactly you want to have done. By comparison, liposuction, not to mention the associated lost wages and costs of medications, can typically cost $4000 to $5000.

Why Dr. Halaas?

Dr. Yael Halaas is a board-certified plastic reconstructive surgeon currently serving the New York area, and has extensive experience with both liposuction and cosmetic procedures such as Kybella. If you have any questions on liposuction alternatives, we encourage you to contact our office today to book a consultation.

Written by Dr. Halaas

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