Liposuction: Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Summertime: it is most people’s favorite time of year, but with trips to the beach throughout the season, a lot of people have been concerned with excess weight… and the phones are alive with patients asking about liposuction.
There are as many types of liposuction as there are surgeons, it seems – and just like surgeons, not all are created equally. Laser assisted, cryolipo, and CoolSculpting® are all techniques that claim bigger, better, faster results… but for a lot more money. Fortunately, the technique that works the best in my opinion, is still the least costly: traditional tumescent liposuction, even with its bruising and weird sensations afterward, still nets the best result for the lowest cost. In fact, one study showed that at three months, satisfaction levels for all types of liposuction were equal, and professionals couldn’t tell the difference between techniques based on before and after pictures. In my opinion, I’d rather spend $4,000 than $10,000 for the same result, right?
But what I am writing about today isn’t technique, it’s safety. When I meet with a new patient, after evaluating whether they are a safe candidate for liposuction, I carefully consider how many areas of liposuction they desire and how much volume I am removing. If I believe that I will be removing five or more liters of total aspirate (fat and fluid), I tell my patients to plan on being admitted to the hospital for 23 hours as recommended by our national society, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Although many people might think liposuction is a simple cosmetic surgery because of the small incisions, it can be complex in how you recover. When we remove fat, we also remove electrolytes and some of the good things that you need for simple things like standing up without getting dizzy, for instance. In the hospital, we can easily replace these things in your IV, and it helps you heal a little more quickly. We can monitor your urine output and vital signs and make sure you are doing as well as we expect. And – if you need help, it’s only down the hall; it’s not a trip to the emergency room. Your caregiver can stay or not stay; it’s totally up to you. If you are considering liposuction, talk to your surgeon about what they plan on removing, and ask if you are better off staying in the hospital or going home after surgery – then make your choices.
Some surgeons do liposuction in their office-based operating room, and some perform it in their office procedure room. It is safe for them to do so in accredited surgical facilities, but I prefer to do it at the hospital. Do it once, do it well, and get you back to your life. With an added layer of protection from a hospital setting, I feel we do just that.