A myth is a story told to explain some natural or supernatural phenomenon which is often believed but turns out to be untrue. Myths are all around us from the boogie man who hides in the closet to super cures for weight loss. For instance, liposuction is often thought of as a weight loss remedy for people who are overweight. However, it may surprise you to know that liposuction is not suitable for people who are particularly overweight. Before undergoing liposuction, be sure to distinguish the facts from the myths of this very popular surgery.
Myth #1: Liposuction is a weight loss method
- Liposuction is not a weight loss tool and people who are overweight may not be suitable for liposuction.
- According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, liposuction is more appropriate for anyone within 30% of their ideal weight with small areas of fat they would like removed.
- For safety reasons, The American Society of Plastic Surgery limits outpatient liposuction to 5 liters, or about 11 pounds of fat removal, at one time.
- Liposuction is considered more of a reshaping technique used to contour the hips, thighs, abdomen, buttocks, legs, knees, calves, back, breasts, arms, face and neck.
Myth #2: Liposuction isn’t really a surgery
- Although there are some non-surgical fat removal treatments such as CoolSculpting, liposuction is a surgical procedure.
- The surgery can be done under local anesthesia, light sedation or general anesthesia depending on the amount of liposuction performed and the size of the treatment area.
- Since liposuction is a surgery, it is important to understand how it is performed, any potential risks, the recovery process and the amount of downtime involved before undergoing the procedure.
Myth #3: Liposuction is an easy fix for removing fat
- Liposuction techniques have improved over time to where liposuction is a minimal-risk outpatient procedure. However, patients should be aware that recovery isn’t always easy.
- Some of the common side effects include bruising, swelling, numbness, discomfort and a burning sensation.
- The use of compression garments and proper wound care is essential in order to alleviate swelling and the possibility of an infection.
- Patients will be limited with daily activities for 1-2 weeks and strenuous activities for approximately 4 weeks. Patients who only had a small amount of liposuction may be able to go back to work after 2-3 days.
Myth #4: Liposuction can eliminate cellulite
- Some people believe that liposuction can rid areas such as the thighs of cellulite but that isn’t true.
- Some patients with a small amount of cellulite may see an improvement while others may experience an increase in the amount of bumps or lumps they see.
- Extreme cases of cellulite can actually hinder liposuction results due to the fact that the skin may sag once the fat is removed.
- Some people even think that liposuction causes cellulite but the results are inconclusive.
Myth #5: Liposuction and a tummy tuck provide the same results
- Liposuction and a tummy tuck can both remove unwanted fat on the abdomen but liposuction is limited to just removing the fat.
- If a person has saggy skin from weight fluctuation or pregnancy, liposuction may not be the best option since it cannot alleviate excess skin. Therefore, removing excess fat when the skin is already lax will not provide good results.
- Liposuction can be used in conjunction with a tummy tuck since a tummy tuck can alleviate lower abdominal fat, extra skin and stretch marks and also tighten the abdominal muscles.
Myth #6: There is only one liposuction technique
- There are several different liposuction techniques, such as wet vs. dry liposuction, available to patients considering the surgery.
- One example is traditional liposuction where a surgeon makes an incision and then places a cannula inside the incision. The cannula is vigorously moved to dislodge the fat while a surgical vacuum sucks out the fat.
- Tumescent liposuction is a common technique which involves injecting a solution into the treatment area which is 2-3 times the amount of fat to be removed. This solution causes the tissue to swell which allows the cannula to gently dislodge the fat for suctioning.
- Some surgeons have adopted techniques which use either ultrasound or laser assisted Incisions are still made and a vacuum is still used but ultrasound vibrations or heat is used to emulsify the fat and liquefy it for easy removal.
Myth #7: Any beauty spa can perform liposuction
- Although many beauty spas offer liposuction at bargain prices, it is not advisable to use them for the procedure.
- Liposuction is a surgery which should be taken seriously and performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon with the assistance of an anesthesiologist.
- A plastic surgeon that specializes in liposuction is adequately skilled to perform your surgery with expertise and also to handle any potential complications which could arise.
Myth #8: The results from liposuction are immediate
- You may not see the results immediately after the procedure. There will be some visible bruising and swelling after the surgery which will mask the results.
- The swelling can be extensive and will take some time to disperse. However, subtle changes can be detected over the first few weeks.
- It can take up to five months for the residual swelling to completely disperse and reveal the final results.