We all want to look better. Some of us have great abdominal tone hidden under a large accumulation of fat. Others of us lack abdominal definition beneath our deposits of fatty tissue. The beauty experts at Mira Aesthetic Medical Center & Spa in Costa Mesa, CA can help you achieve your aesthetic vision, regardless of if you are a weekend warrior or haven’t done a sit-up since P.E. Today, we highlight the key differences between liposuction and liposculpture to help you determine the best body contouring procedure to sculpt the body of your dreams.
What Is Liposuction?
Liposuction is a body contouring procedure that sculpts your body by removing stubborn pockets of fat that are resistant to diet and exercise. While liposculpture can take between two and four hours, this procedure usually doesn’t take more than two. It really depends on the volume of fat you need removed, how many areas you are trying to remove fat from and if any other procedures, such as a tummy tuck or breast reduction, are being performed at the same time.
Am I a Good Candidate for This Procedure?
The best candidate for this procedure does not smoke, does not suffer from any chronic health conditions, has a BMI (body mass index) within a healthy range, has elastic skin, does not have a history of certain serious medical conditions and is not on any medication that may cause bleeding, bruising or swelling.
During your initial consultation, we will perform a physical examination to evaluate your health, review your medical history and determine if you are healthy enough to be a good candidate for this procedure. If you are, we will review your aesthetic goals to determine if this is the right body contouring procedure for your needs.
What Areas Can Liposuction Treat?
Liposuction can be used to remove fat from just about any area of your body. The primary caveat is there needs to be enough fat to treat. Common areas targeted for fat removal include the:
- Chin, neck and jowl region
- Upper arms
- Middle back
- Lower back
- Upper and lower abdomen
- Lower buttocks
- Inner and outer thighs
In general, you’ll want at least an inch of pinchable fat for liposuction to be the most effective. This equates to approximately five pounds of fat. How much fat can be safely removed depends largely on your body mass index. During your initial consultation, we will help you determine which areas of your body have enough fat for treatment and if you can see your desired results after just one fat removal session.
Which Body Sculpting Method Is Right for Me?
When considering which body sculpting method is right for you, it is essential that you consider what percentage of a given region’s fat you want removed. Liposculpture removes only a small percentage of fat from a given treatment site. Body contouring treatments, such as CoolSculpting and WarmSculpting, remove between 20 and 80% of the fat in a given region. On average, liposuction removes a quarter of the fat cells present in a given trouble spot.
There are several liposuction techniques, including tumescent liposuction, laser-assisted liposuction, ultrasound-assisted liposuction and super-wet liposuction. The ideal technique for you will depend on where the treatment area is, among other factors. Here is a quick breakdown of the four liposuction techniques:
Tumescent liposuction is by far one of the most common forms of liposuction. It starts with the fat removal region being cleansed and marked for the procedure. You may or may not be given an anesthetic. If you receive an anesthetic, your board-certified cosmetic surgeon will wait for the anesthesia to take effect. Then, the surgeon will inject you with a solution.
This solution contains three primary ingredients, each with a unique purpose. First, the solution contains lidocaine. This is a numbing agent that will ensure your procedure is comfortable. It may be the only form of anesthesia you receive. Second, the solution contains epinephrine. This affects your blood vessels and mitigates the risk of bleeding, bruising and swelling. Finally, the solution contains saline, or sterile saltwater, to help the fat be removed more efficiently. The solution is suctioned out along with your excess fatty tissue deposits during your procedure.
Super-wet liposuction is similar to tumescent liposuction in that it requires a solution including lidocaine, epinephrine and saline. The primary difference is in the volume of solution used. In tumescent liposuction, you only receive about the same volume of solution as the fat you are trying to remove.
In the case of the super-wet technique, your treatment site may be injected with a solution that has three times the volume of fat you are aiming to remove. Thus, if you were trying to remove 5,000cc of fat from your lower back, the area would be injected with 15,000cc of saline solution.
Ultrasound-assisted liposuction has far more in common with ultrasound-assisted liposculpture and laser-assisted liposuction than super-wet liposuction or tumescent liposuction. This technique uses sound waves to break up stubborn fat deposits, making them easier to suction out. In fact, the energy emitted by the sound waves actually liquifies the walls of the fat cells.
Ultrasound-assisted liposuction may be either internal or external. In other words, the energy can be emitted either through a special device inserted into the treatment area and attached to a cannula (extremely fine tube) or it can be applied outside your skin.
Laser-assisted liposuction, like ultrasound-assisted liposuction, liquifies the walls of your fat cells. This leads to faster removal. The primary difference between these two techniques is that laser-assisted liposuction uses heat from laser light to produce the energy required to destroy your fat cells. While there are several liposuction methods available, we will help you determine the best one for your needs if you believe liposuction is right for you.
What Is Liposculpture?
Liposculpture is a body contouring procedure designed to enhance the shape and tone of your musculature. It removes small pockets of fat from your trouble areas and relocates some of your body fat to help you achieve your desired shape and muscle tone. It is ideal for people dissatisfied with their body shape, who have small pockets of fat resistant to diet and exercise, who don’t smoke and who are close to their ideal weight.
If you’re concerned about loose skin or weakened muscles due to age or childbirth, abdominoplasty may be a better body contouring solution for you. Abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck, sews your weakened, distended or torn abdominal walls tighter to improve their function as well as their aesthetic. It also removes excess skin and tightens the skin that remains. If you have loose, sagging skin, ask us about which skin tightening options you may benefit from as a complement to this procedure.
How Can I Prepare for This Procedure?
First, we will review your medical history during your initial consultation. Bring a list of all medications and supplements you are taking. You may need to stop taking these for several days or weeks before your procedure as many medications thin your blood. You should also let us know if you smoke, have any allergies to medications, have blood diseases related to clotting or have hypertension.
Avoid alcohol two weeks before your procedure and two weeks afterwards. Alcohol is a diuretic that increases your blood pressure, which can effect the outcome of your body contouring. Moreover, you should avoid cigarettes and other forms of nicotine for four weeks before and after your procedure.
Limit your sodium intake, fill your prescriptions before you come in for your liposculpture and do not take NSAIDs for two weeks pre-op. Avoid herbs, vitamins and other supplements two weeks pre-op and make sure you are adequately hydrated. Finally, make sure you have someone to drive you home and stay with you for at least the first 24 hours post-op.
What Can I Expect After My Procedure?
The results of the procedure begin immediately. However, you may not really notice them until a few weeks post-op. It will take approximately six months for the final results to be realized. Wear your compression garment as instructed to prevent discomfort caused by swelling and take short walks to mitigate the risk of blood clots.
You should start walking as soon as you feel ready and for as far as you feel comfortable. Stop and rest, then return to where you started. We recommend taking a week off of work to allow your body time to rest.
Avoid strenuous exercise for two to three weeks post-op and eat a balanced diet loaded with fruits, veggies and grains. Legumes are an excellent choice to incorporate into your meal plan because they are very high in fiber and protein. Protein helps to hasten your recovery, while fiber will keep you regular. This mitigates the risk of cramping or bloating caused by constipation, a common side effect of prescription analgesics.
Am I a Good Candidate for This Procedure?
The ideal candidate for liposculpture has a body mass index of no greater than 30, has elastic skin and only needs a small amount of fat removed. This is the primary difference between this procedure and liposuction. Liposuction can safely remove up to five liters, or 11 pounds, of excess body fat. Liposculpture only removes a small amount of fat.
What Areas Can I Treat?
Like liposuction, liposculpture can be used to remove fatty tissue deposits from the arms, thighs, back, sides, abs and chin. The primary difference between the areas you can treat with these two procedures is that liposuction requires a lot more fat to be removed.
With this procedure, you can target areas with smaller volumes of fat. Moreover, this procedure is great if you need to move fat around and sculpt a region that is extremely resistant to exercise.
Are Results Permanent?
Like liposuction, results from this procedure are considered permanent. However, it is important to remember that this procedure does not remove all the fat cells in the treatment area. If you gain weight in the future, the remaining fat cells in your target area can expand.
However, the effects of the weight gain will not be as prominent in your treatment areas due to the permanently lower volume of fat cells in the area. If you gain a significant amount of weight, you will start to notice fat accumulation in untreated regions of your body.
Learn More Today
To discover whether liposuction or liposculpture is right for you, contact the dedicated medical professionals at Mira Aesthetic Medical Center & Spa in Costa Mesa, CA today to schedule your initial consultation. We will assess your medical history, health and unique aesthetic goals to find the best body contouring procedure to sculpt the body of your dreams.