Liposuction is a procedure that can help sculpt the body by removing unwanted fat from specific areas, including the abdomen, hips, buttocks, thighs, knees, upper arms, chin, cheeks and neck. During the past decade, liposuction, which Canton and Akron cosmetic surgery patients also may call "lipoplasty" or "suction lipectomy," has benefited from several new refinements. A number of new techniques, including power asssited liposuction, ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty (UAL), the tumescent technique, and the super-wet technique help Dr. Carp provide more precise results and quicker recovery times. Although liposuction is not a substitute for a healthy diet and regular exercise, it can remove stubborn areas of fat that don't respond to traditional weight-loss methods.

If you're considering liposuction, please read the information provided on this page and then talk with Dr. Carp for answers to your questions and a professional recommendation based on your individual circumstances.

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The best candidates for liposuction

A good candidate for liposuction has realistic expectations about what the procedure can achieve. Liposuction can improve your appearance and enhance your self confidence, but it won't turn you into a whole new person. Think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with Akron Canton plastic surgeon Dr. Carp so that you both have a shared understanding of your goals.

Liposuction is best for people within a healthy weight range who have localized pockets of excess fat. Age is not a major consideration, but in some cases older patients may have diminished skin elasticity and may not achieve the same results as a younger patient with tighter skin. If you have diabetes, significant heart or lung disease, or poor blood circulation, Dr. Carp may not recommend surgery. He will carefully review your medical history to ensure that you are a good candidate for the procedure.

Planning liposuction in Canton - Akron

During your initial consultation, Dr. Carp will evaluate your health, determine the location of excess fat deposits, and assess your skin quality. He also will explain the body contouring methods that may be most appropriate for you. For example, many women and men come in for a consultation thinking that they need liposuction in their stomach area when in fact a tummy tuck (also known as abominoplasty) may be appropriate to remove excess skin and tighten abdominal muscles. In other cases, a combination of liposuction techniques may yield the best results.

Be frank and honest when you discuss your expectations with Dr. Carp. He will be straightforward about procedure details, risks, and limitations.

Getting the answers you need

Women and men considering liposuction in the Canton - Akron area often feel a bit overwhelmed by the number of options and techniques being promoted today. Through the surgical judgment he has developed over years of training and experience, Dr. Carp can determine the best treatment approach for you by considering effectiveness, safety, and cost.

For high-quality information and advice about liposuction, trust in the guidance of a surgeon like Dr. Carp who is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). By choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon, you can be assured that the doctor has graduated from an accredited medical school and completed at least five years of additional residency - usually three years of general surgery (or its equivalent) and two years of plastic surgery. To be certified by the ABPS, a doctor must also practice surgery for two years and pass comprehensive written and oral exams.

Preparing for your surgery

During the consultation at his Akron area cosmetic surgery office, Dr. Carp will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking as well as instructions about taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications. If you smoke, you will be required to quit before surgery to minimize the risk of complications and help improve results. Be sure to tell Dr. Carp if you develop a cold or an infection of any kind, which may require the postponement of your surgery.

While you are making preparations, talk with a friend, family member, or loved one about driving you home after your liposuction procedure and staying with you around the house for the first day or so.

Where your surgery will be performed

Dr. Carp performs liposuction surgery in an outpatient surgery or hospital setting. Many Akron and Canton liposuction patients find that the outpatient setting is ideal in terms of privacy, comfort, cost, and convenience. If a large volume of fat will be removed, or if liposuction is being performed in conjunction with other procedures, a hospital stay is often most appropriate.

Anesthesia for liposuction

Various types of anesthesia can be used for liposuction procedures. Together, you and Dr. Carp will select the type of anesthesia that provides the most safe and effective level of comfort for your surgery.

For liposuction of small amounts of fat in a limited number of body areas, Dr. Carp can use local anesthesia. In many cases a local anesthetic is used along with intravenous (IV) sedation so that a patient can rest comfortably during the procedure. If a large volume of fat is being removed or a patient prefers to sleep through the procedure, general anesthesia also is an option. For general anesthesia, a nurse anesthetist or anesthesiologist will be called in to monitor you.

The surgery

During the liposuction procedure, localized deposits of fat are removed to re-contour bulging or bumpy areas such as "love handles," "saddlebags," or other areas of excess fat on the belly, back, arms, hips, thighs, and buttocks. Dr. Carp also performs liposuction to improve facial contour by reducing the amount of fat in the cheeks and neck.

Through a tiny incision, Dr. Carp inserts a narrow tube called a cannula to vacuum the fat layer that lies deep beneath the skin. The cannula is moved back and forth through the fat layer to break up the fat cells before suctioning them out. If many sites are being treated, Dr. Carp will move from area to area, taking care to minimize the number of incisions and place them as inconspicuously as possible.

Technique variations

Dr. Carp offers several liposuction techniques for his Canton and Akron cosmetic surgery patients.

Tumescent Liposuction

Dr. Carp routinely uses this technique, in which a medicated solution is injected into fatty areas before the fat is removed. The tumescent fluid - a mixture of intravenous salt solution, lidocaine (a local anesthetic) and epinephrine (a drug that contracts blood vessels) - helps remove the fat more easily, reduces blood loss and bruising, and provides increased comfort.

Typically performed for patients who need only a local anesthetic, tumescent liposuction may take up to 5 hours to perform for large volumes of fat removal. "Tumescent" refers to the swollen and firm state of the fatty tissues when they are flooded with solution. Dr. Carp also performs a variation on the tumescent technique known as the super-wet technique, which uses a lesser amount of fluid and can be performed in less time.

Ultrasound-Assisted Lipoplasty (UAL)

This technique requires the use of a special cannula that transmits ultrasonic energy. As it passes through the areas of fat, the energy explodes the walls of the fat cells, liquefying the fat. The fat is then easily removed with the traditional liposuction technique.

UAL has been shown to improve the ease and effectiveness of liposuction in fibrous areas of the body, such as the upper back or the enlarged male breast. It is also commonly used in secondary procedures, when fine-tuning is needed. In general, UAL takes longer to perform than traditional liposuction.

All surgery carries some uncertainty and risk

Liposuction is safe and effective for the vast majority of people who choose the procedure. There are several things you should look for to maximize your safety. For starters, ensure that the surgeon you choose is highly trained and experienced in performing body contouring procedures. Your doctor must have advanced surgical skills to perform procedures that involve the removal of a large amount of fat (more than 5 liters or 5,000 ccs). More extensive liposuction procedures also require attentive aftercare, so find out what steps your surgeon plans to take to monitor your condition after surgery.

Even with a well-trained surgeon and state-of-the art facility, keep in mind that with surgery there are no guarantees. Though they are rare, complications can and do occur. Risks increase if a greater number of areas are treated at the same time, or if the operative sites are larger in size. Removal of a large amount of fat and fluid may require longer operating times than may be required for smaller operations.

The combination of these factors can create greater hazards for infection; delays in healing; the formation of fat clots or blood clots, which may migrate to the lungs and cause death; excessive fluid loss, which can lead to shock or fluid accumulation that must be drained; friction burns or other damage to the skin or nerves or perforation injury to the vital organs; and unfavorable drug reactions.

There are also points to consider with the newer techniques. For example, in UAL, the heat from the ultrasound device used to liquefy the fat cells may cause injury to the skin or deeper tissues. Also, you should be aware that even though UAL has been performed successfully on several thousand people worldwide, the long-term effects of ultrasound energy on the body are not yet known.

In the tumescent and super-wet techniques, the anesthetic fluid that is injected may cause lidocaine toxicity (if the solution's lidocaine content is too high), or the collection of fluid in the lungs (if too much fluid is administered).

The scars from liposuction are small and strategically placed to be hidden from view. However, imperfections in the final appearance are not uncommon after lipoplasty. The skin surface may be irregular, asymmetric or even "baggy," especially in an older patient. Numbness and pigmentation changes may occur. Sometimes, a secondary surgery may be recommended to improve cosmetic results.

After your surgery

Some fluid drainage from the incisions is common after surgery. Occasionally, a small drainage tube may be inserted temporarily beneath the skin to prevent fluid build-up. To control swelling and help your skin fit its new contours, you may be fitted with a snug elastic garment to wear over the treated area for a few weeks. Dr. Carp also may prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection.

Don't expect to look or feel 100% right after surgery. Even though newer techniques can reduce some post-operative discomfort, you may still experience some pain, burning, swelling, bleeding and temporary numbness. Pain can be controlled with prescription or over the counter medication.

It is normal to feel a bit anxious or depressed in the days or weeks following surgery. However, this feeling will subside as you begin to look and feel better.

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