Stubborn, localized fat is a common complaint among both men and women. At the Zelken Institute, we use state-of-the-art fat removal techniques to help our patients say goodbye to unwanted fat. Saddlebags. Love handles. Cankles. if those words ring a bell, liposuction might be the ideal procedure for you.
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Liposuction, or suction lipectomy, is a term used to describe removal of fat from the body through a closed suction system. Liposuction can be used to collect fat for transfer to the breasts or buttocks or the fat can simply be discarded. Liposuction has been around for a long time, but more recent advances like BodyTite, ultrasound and laser-assisted liposuction will help dissolve fat cells prior to sucking them up.
One common misconception about liposuction is that it is a weight loss procedure. Although as much as 5 liters of fat can be withdrawn in a single outpatient procedure, the operation does not lead to weight loss. It is a sculpting procedure. Liposuction will not address loose, overhanging, or inelastic skin. However, liposuction can work wonders — possibly with only one treatment — for patients with excess fat deposits.
At the Zelken Institute for Aesthetic Medicine, we improve body contours and proportions in both men and women, targeting the thighs, hips and buttocks, abdomen and waist, upper arms, back, inner knee, chest area, cheeks, chin, neck, calves and ankles. Liposuction can be performed alone or along with other plastic surgery procedures, such as facelifts and breast reductions. It gives our patients more consistent and predictable result than noninvasive treatments.
Adults within 30% of their ideal weight who have firm, elastic skin and good muscle tone are the best candidates for a liposuction. It’s also important that you are generally healthy and do not have a life-threatening illness or medical conditions that can impair healing. Liposuction is not a treatment for obesity or a substitute for proper diet and exercise. It is also not an effective treatment for cellulite—the dimpled skin that typically appears on the thighs, hips and buttocks—or loose saggy skin. However, if you are bothered by excess fat deposits located anywhere on your body that has not respond to diet or exercise, liposuction at the Zelken Institute for Aesthetic Medicine may be right for you.
Prior to any procedure at the Zelken Institute of Aesthetic Medicine, including liposuction, you will have a consultation with Dr. Zelken. We will discuss your goals, past medical procedures and may take photographs for your medical record. When we ask questions pertaining to your health, desires and lifestyle, the success and safety of your liposuction depends on your complete candidness. During this consultation, you will be presented with course of action based on Dr. Zelken’s extensive liposuction experience.
Though you will have unrivalled access to Dr. Zelken and his staff throughout the process, this is a great time for you to ask any questions you may have regarding the procedure. If you’re feeling anxious about your anticipated new look or the procedure itself, be sure to discuss those feelings with us. A little anxiety, by the way, is completely normal.
Dr. Zelken will insist that you stop smoking prior to liposuction. We will also go over the risks associated with the procedure, and you will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the process and any risks or potential complications. We may also ask that you get a lab test or a medical evaluation, take certain medications or adjust your current medications, and avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, herbal supplements and other medications that may increase bleeding.
The decision to have liposuction is extremely personal. You will have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications outweighed by those benefits. For any outpatient surgery, it’s important that you arrange for someone to drive you to and from the procedure.
Based on your particular needs, Dr. Zelken will recommend local anesthesia, intravenous sedation or general anesthesia for your comfort during the surgical procedure. Liposuction is performed through small, inconspicuous incisions. A thin hollow tube, or cannula, is inserted through the incisions to detach excess fat using a controlled back and forth motion. The dislodged fat is then suctioned out of the body using a surgical vacuum or syringe attached to the cannula.
Liposuction is truly an art, as the surgeon must be careful to control suction from various regions. If there is too much suction in one spot, contour deformities may result. Dr. Zelken prefers “power assisted liposuction”, or PAL. PAL uses a vibrating liposuction tip that facilitates suction of fat and allows for smoother, more controlled passes and a more refined result. Your improved body contour will be apparent once the swelling and fluid retention subside.
During your liposuction recovery, a compression garment or elastic bandages may cover treatment areas once the procedure is completed. These help to control swelling and compress the skin to your new body contours. In addition, small temporary drains may be placed in existing incisions beneath the skin to remove any excess blood or fluid. This is the exception, not the rule. Dr. Zelken and his team will also give you specific instructions regarding how to care for the surgical site and drains, as well as medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection.
We will also explain specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health, and we will schedule a follow-up appointment with Dr. Zelken at this time to monitor your progress.
It may take several months for the swelling to fully dissipate. As it does, your new contours and enhanced self-image should continue to develop. The results of liposuction will be last a long time if you maintain a stable weight and general fitness. Remember though, as your body ages, it is natural to lose some firmness. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedure and another surgery may be necessary. Following Dr. Zelken’s instructions is key to the success of any liposuction procedure.
A large percentage of the extra skin will retract by 6-12 months, allowing for better contour in clothing and naked. However, inappropriately selected patients, or over-resected patients may be bothered by the resulting laxity. Dr. Zelken offers BodyTite to increase this retraction of skin to ensure the best results without actually removing the skin. Even if you choose BodyTite, it still may be possible that you choose to perform a proper excisional procedure like tummy tuck or arm lift in the future.
Dr. Z is the best! A very genuine guy who you are able to talk to about anything.
– Chad S.
If you’re considering liposuction to get rid of stubborn fat or if you have questions about how liposuction may work for you, don’t hesitate to contact us or schedule a consultation with Dr. Zelken. We’re located at 1617 Westcliff Drive in Newport Beach, CA, and we can be reached at (949) 432-4730. We serve patients from across the world — we have a Mandarin Chinese-speaking physician — along with clients in Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Irvine and Laguna Beach, California.
Common misconceptions about liposuction are that it is a weight loss procedure. Although as much as 5 liters of fat can be withdrawn in a single outpatient procedure, the operation does not lead to weight loss. It is a sculpting procedure. Liposuction will not address loose, overhanging, or inelastic skin.
Written by Dr. Jonathan Zelken
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