There is no doubt that the body experiences numerous changes over time, including the accumulation of unwanted bulges and rolls in various areas that seem to appear out of nowhere. Even if you manage to reduce the number on the scale with healthy eating and daily exercise, isolated deposits of fat can linger and interfere with your slimmer body image. These are called stubborn areas. When your own efforts don’t effectively remove these stubborn areas, liposuction is a good option to permanently remove the stubborn fat and put the finishing touches on your body contour.
Dr. Barrett says, “Liposuction is one of the more powerful cosmetic procedures I perform. It allows me the ability to sculpt the human body and remove fat from problem areas. When done properly, liposuction can highlight the underlying physique of the individual’s body. This is also call high definition liposuction and requires an excellent understanding of anatomy and an artistic approach.”
Liposuction is a very popular procedure that is used to remove localized areas of fat from many different areas of the body and help give patients a slimmer, more balanced look. Recently, new technology and improved techniques have vastly improved the amount of pain commonly associated with liposuction procedures, as well as the results patients can hope to achieve. Dr. Barrett has extensive experience performing liposuction and has adapted some of the most effective techniques available to ensure beautiful cosmetic results for his patients.
What is Liposuction?
Liposuction is surgery, but it is less invasive than other body contouring procedures. The less invasive nature means patients usually don’t have to undergo general anesthesia for the procedure and the recovery process is significantly shorter than what is expected with other body contouring treatments like a tummy tuck. This process utilizes narrow tubes called cannulas, which are inserted directly into the treatment areas to release fat cells and take them from the body. The precision of the treatment allows it to be effectively used on both large areas like the abdomen and smaller locations such as under the chin. The most frequent treatment areas for liposuction include:
- Inner and outer thighs
- Abdomen and waistline (love handles)
- Arms (upper arms where “bat wings” tend to develop)
- Upper and lower back
- Hips and flanks
- Face and neck
- Double Chin
- Knees, calves and ankles
Liposuction offers highly satisfying results when it is performed as a stand-alone procedure. However, Dr. Barrett might recommend combining liposuction with other cosmetic surgery, such as a facelift, breast reduction or tummy tuck to achieve optimal results. It is frequently included in a mommy makeover, which is a collection of procedures performed simultaneously to restore a woman’s body after having children. Because liposuction is easily incorporated into the surgery, you can enhance your results without additional anesthesia or downtime. Fat removed from liposuction may also be used to augment other areas of your body such as your breasts (fat grafting to the breasts) or buttocks (Brazilian Butt Lift)
Is Liposuction Right for You?
Liposuction is a beneficial procedure for both men and women that have achieved a stable weight and have residual areas of fat they have not been able to eliminate. The optimal candidate is in good overall health and maintains a healthy lifestyle overall but has one or more problem spots with unresponsive fat deposits. It is critical for patients to keep in mind that liposuction is not a method of substantial weight loss. Instead, it is designed to remove extra fat in localized areas after the patient has attempted traditional weight loss methods. In many cases, it is the finishing touch on a weight loss program.
The best results are seen in patients that have good skin elasticity, which allows the skin to conform over the treated area smoothly and firmly. If you have significant skin laxity, the loose skin may become even more prevalent and problematic after a liposuction procedure. In these cases, Dr. Barrett may recommend a surgical lift procedure – with or without liposuction – to produce the most natural, aesthetically-pleasing results. Rest assured Dr. Barrett will perform a thorough examination before recommending liposuction to determine whether it will meet your expectations or if another procedure would create a better outcome.
Choosing a Liposuction Surgeon
Liposuction is offered by most plastic surgeons – and others that are not even plastic surgeons – in the Beverly Hills area. However, that doesn’t mean you will receive the same level of care or the best outcome from any physician you choose. Dr. Barrett is a board-certified plastic surgeon and has perfected his liposuction techniques to achieve the smoothest contours with the least amount of pain and downtime. He creates multiple micro access sites and inserts tiny cannulas that he uses to remove small amounts of fat very slowly. He has also incorporated the S.A.F.E. liposuction technique as well as pinch tests with the wetting method to ensure an even result and minimize contour irregularities. Dr. Barrett understands the importance of a meticulous process and takes his time with each patient to provide an optimal outcome. “It’s not what you take out, it’s what you leave behind,” is the philosophy he follows at his practice.
Benefits of Liposuction
While the primary goal of liposuction is always to remove unwanted areas of fat, the advantages of the procedure are quite far-reaching. Some of the benefits you might notice after your treatment include:
- Smoother body contour without unwanted rolls and bulges
- Flatter stomach than you could achieve with diet and exercise alone
- Slimmer silhouette from the thigh to the ankle
- Elimination muffin tops and saddlebags
- No more bra rolls or bulges over the waistline in the lower back
- More sculpted appearance to the upper arm
- Reduction of a double chin
- Elimination of excess breast fat in men
- More comfortable and attractive fit to your clothing
- Greater self-confidence in your appearance
Dr. Barrett will customize this procedure to your precise needs to ensure the most natural results. Your smoother contour should last indefinitely as long as you maintain a healthy weight after your liposuction treatment. Humans are born with a set number of fat cells, so those that are removed cannot return. However, if you gain weight after your liposuction procedure, the remaining fat cells can expand and change your contour. If that occurs, you may require additional treatment to restore your slimmer profile.
Dr. Barrett uses a revolutionary liposuction technique that has been proven to produce the best outcomes for his patients. S.A.F.E. liposuction is an acronym that stands for separation, aspiration and fat equalization – the three phases of the treatment. It does not imply this is the only safe method of liposuction. However, this three-step liposuction process promises the smoothest results while minimizing contour irregularities. It is especially advantageous for patients interested in using the removed fat to augment the buttocks, a procedure referred to as the Brazilian butt lift. However, it is a preferred technique for any patient that wants to achieve an optimal outcome from this body contouring procedure. The three steps of S.A.F.E. liposuction include:
Loosening the fat before removing it is a critical factor in enhancing your liposuction experience and your results. While S.A.F.E. liposuction is not the only method that includes this step, other techniques use heat for this purpose, which is generated from a laser or similar device. Heat can damage surrounding tissue and lead to internal scarring, resulting in more pain and a longer recovery in some cases. Internal scar tissue can also form, which can create dimpling or rippling along the contour, necessitating revision surgery to create a more aesthetically-pleasing profile.
Instead of relying on heat, Dr. Barrett uses power-assisted liposuction (PAL) as a part of the S.A.F.E. technique, which utilizes mechanical vibration to loosen fat cells. The cannula boasts a vibrating tip that offers the desired effect without the need for manual rotation by the provider. There are numerous benefits to the simple addition of a vibrating tip to the cannula used for the treatment:
- Smaller incisions are required since the cannula used in PAL has a smaller diameter than standard liposuction cannulas. Reducing the size of incisions also minimizes post-operative scarring and the risk for infection after surgery. Smaller incisions heal faster as well, leading to quicker recovery times for some patients.
- Greater precision, which allows for the ability to treat even smaller areas effectively while ensuring an optimal outcome. The accuracy of the device also provides less trauma to surrounding tissue, which often translates to less pain and a faster recovery process for the patient.
- Ability to remove more fat – up to 30 percent more during a single session – without compromising the patient’s safety or the quality of the results.
- Reduced risk for complications during and after surgery due to the less invasive nature of the process, less trauma and a quicker procedure. In fact, PAL may be used on some patients with contraindications for traditional liposuction, due to the lower risk factor associated with this technique.
When following the S.A.F.E. technique, specific probes are used during PAL to gently separate fat cells from one another and their surrounding attachments. This meticulous separation prevents damage to the delicate internal structure while preparing the fat cells to be removed for the next phase of the process.
Aspiration, the second step in the S.A.F.E. liposuction process, refers to the removal of the separated fat cells from the body. Using the same small cannulas used in step one, suction is incorporated to eradicate the cells gently and safely. Because the cells have already been loosened, they are eliminated easily without undue trauma to the surrounding area. Dr. At the same time, a thin layer of fat is left behind just under the dermal structure to further protect the treatment area from bruising and swelling. The risk for internal scarring is also reduced with this technique, minimizing the possibility of contour irregularities developing after the procedure.
This final step in the S.A.F.E. process is unique to this technique and has the most significant impact on the patient’s outcome and aesthetic result. During this phase, the thin layer of fat that is left just underneath the dermal structure is smoothed out to create an even surface. Unique probes are used for this purpose that do not involve any suction that might cause further damage to the tissue. Instead, the probes merely smooth or equalize the fat layer. In addition to creating an even surface underneath the dermis, the fat prevents the skin from adhering to the muscle tissue below, which eliminates the risk of dimpling or rippling sometimes seen after traditional liposuction techniques are performed.
The S.A.F.E. technique promises a superior experience and outcome for patients that are seeking liposuction for the first time, as well as those in need of revision after an initial procedure that left irregular contouring. In fact, this technique was developed in part due to the need for revision surgery, as a means of reducing contouring irregularities overall. Despite its promising track record, this technique is still not offered by many plastic surgeons in the Beverly Hills area. Dr. Barrett is one of the few that has perfected this technique and provides it to his patients on a regular basis.
Preparing for Your Procedure
Every person seeking body contouring procedures like liposuction are unique regarding their specific concerns and the aesthetic goals they would like to achieve. Dr. Barrett employs the latest techniques in this area that allow him to customize treatment to each patient while maximizing results. Liposuction is a standard procedure, but it is not a quick one. Dr. Barrett takes his time with each treatment to remove fat slowly and sculpt the best contour for his patients.
During your initial consultation, Dr. Barrett will take ample time to discuss your cosmetic concerns and the goals you hope to achieve through liposuction. Because your safety is his priority, he will also collect your full medical history and evaluate your general health to ensure this procedure will be appropriate for you and there are no undue risks in undergoing surgery of this sort. The treatment area will be evaluated to determine whether the amount of fat to remove can be addressed sufficiently with liposuction alone. The condition of the skin will also be assessed since good skin elasticity tends to produce the best results. You will have the opportunity to ask all the questions you need to feel comfortable moving forward with your procedure if that is your decision.
Before your procedure, you may be advised to do the following:
- Stop taking medications that could exacerbate bleeding, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and aspirin, and supplements like vitamin E and fish oil.
- Quit smoking before your procedure since nicotine can increase your risk for some types of complications and interfere with incision healing. Nicotine also impairs skin elasticity, which could impact your final contour after fat removal.
- Find a friend or family member to drive you home after your session, since you will be given medication before your procedure that will prohibit driving right away. Most patients are ready to drive within a few days after their surgery, depending on the type of medication you take during recovery.
- Fill any prescriptions Dr. Barrett prescribes for you before your surgery, so they are ready for you when you get home. Medicines might include an antibiotic to prevent infection and pain medication to keep you comfortable for the first day or two.
- Take sufficient time off from your routine to recover – although the recovery process is much shorter for liposuction than other body contouring surgery, taking a few days to rest will make a difference in both your comfort level and how quickly you heal after your procedure.
By following these instructions, you will be prepared for a safe and successful liposuction experience. If any questions arise before your procedure, Dr. Barrett and the rest of our team will be happy to answer them. Our goal is to ensure you are confident of your decision to move forward with your liposuction surgery and fully ready for the process that lies ahead.
Dr. Barrett performs liposuction as an outpatient procedure under local anesthesia, light twilight sleep, or general anesthesia depending on patient preference. Tiny incisions are created in the treatment area to allow for administration of local anesthetic and the insertion of the small cannulas that loosen and remove the fat cells. Dr. Barrett uses the tumescent or wetting technique, which involves the administration of a fluid containing local anesthesia and a vasoconstrictor through the incisions before beginning the liposuction process. The addition of tumescent fluid contributes to less bleeding during and after the procedure, as well as a reduction in post-operative pain. The local anesthetic also expands and firms the fat, making it easier to remove.
Once that step is completed, the cannula is inserted to begin the separation portion of the process. The probes are used to separate the fat cells so that they can be aspirated through the same cannulas with the addition of suction. Once the cells are loosened, the suction will be incorporated to take the fat cells out of the body. Throughout this process, Dr. Barrett will use the pinch test to ensure the fat removal is even across the treatment area. In the final step, probes are once again inserted through the incisions to smooth out the remaining fat just underneath the dermis. After the procedure is finished, few to no stitches are needed to close the incisions, since they are small enough to heal on their own.
While liposuction is less invasive than other methods of body contouring, there is a recovery process after the procedure. Patients frequently experience mild swelling, bruising and discomfort in the treatment area for a few days following treatment. Compression garments or elastic bandages can be used to help reduce these symptoms while healing takes place. Pain medication is also helpful for the first day or two when discomfort is most intense. Dr. Barrett will provide you with special instructions on how to care for your treatment area and reduce the risk of any complications after the procedure.
Patients can usually return to work and regular activities within a few days. Strenuous activities such as exercise should be avoided for a few weeks to give the body ample time to heal. Dr. Barrett will personally see you in his office for regular follow-up visits after liposuction to track your recovery progress and advise you as to when your workout program might be safe to resume. This appointment also provides an excellent opportunity for you to ask questions or raise concerns about the recovery process.
Body Contouring that Lasts
After your surgery, you will begin to see the results of your surgery almost right away. However, the full outcome will appear gradually as healing occurs and bruising and swelling subside. It could be a few months before your complete surgery results are recognized but once they are, they will be long-lasting. As long as you maintain a healthy, active lifestyle after your liposuction surgery, the positive results from your procedure can endure a lifetime. If significant weight is gained, the results may be altered, and additional treatment may be needed to keep your slimmer look.
Trim the Fat Today
Liposuction is an excellent body contouring option that offers dramatic, long-lasting results for the right patient. If you have achieved a healthy, stable weight but have not been able to eliminate those stubborn rolls and bulges, liposuction may be the right choice in helping you achieve those body sculpting goals. This procedure is less invasive that body contouring surgery like a tummy tuck but can offer equally satisfying results. To learn more about the liposuction procedure, we encourage you to call us at 310-598-2648 and schedule your consultation with Dr. Barrett today.