What exactly happens during a liposuction procedure? It’s a question we hear a lot. There’s a lot more to liposuction than just the day of surgery, so let’s start at the beginning.
The first step in any liposuction procedure is having a consultation.
While a virtual consultation can give you a good idea of whether liposuction is an option for you, we do require in-person consultation at our office in Houston or Katy before scheduling surgery, so that your surgeon can speak with you directly, understand your goals, and perform an examination (some exceptions are made for out-of-town patients). During the consultation you’ll discuss what you want to achieve and what your goals are for your body, and your surgeon will let you know whether liposuction can achieve the results you’re looking for and make recommendations based on your goals. They’ll also answer any questions about the procedure, financing, and provide you with a price quote.
If you’re a candidate and move forward with the procedure, you’ll schedule a date for surgery. The office staff will let you know what days you may need to take off for recovery – typically you’ll need to take the rest of the day and the next day off, and you’ll need to come in the next business day for a follow-up appointment. Payment in full is typically required prior to setting a date – many patients choose to finance their procedure so that they can schedule quicker and pay their liposuction procedure off monthly, without having to wait.
3. Surgery Prep
Prior to surgery, we’ll perform lab work including a blood draw to check for any conditions which may cause issues – your safety is our priority. You’ll also be given an antibiotic soap scrub which you’ll use the morning of the procedure – this ensures that your skin is clean of any potential bacteria.
Are any antibiotics given aside from the scrub?
4. The Day of Surgery
All patients are given a small dose of sedatives (orally) when they arrive – just enough to make sure you’re relaxed and comfortable. You’ll still be awake during the procedure – however you will need transportation home and we do not allow patients to drive themselves home after surgery (you’ll need to make arrangements prior to your surgical date).
You’ll be taken to a waiting room where you’ll change into a gown. Afterwards you’ll walk over the surgical plan one last time with your surgeon, who will mark the areas for treatment with a special marker.
5. The Surgical Procedure
Once you’re comfortable on the operating table, your surgeon will perform a final scrub to ensure a clean surface prior to making any incisions.
First, a small shot of lidocaine will be administered to numb the area. Then your surgeon will use a small circular punch to make small incisions (we use 2mm) into the skin.
Through these small incisions your surgeon will insert a special instrument to slowly infuse the fat layer with tumescent solution. Tumescent solution is comprised of sterile saline, lidocaine (a numbing agent) and epinephrine (a vasoconstrictor). The area will swell up, a bit like a water balloon, and become completely numb.
Once the tumescent solution has been infused into the fat layer and the area is tumesced and fully numb, the procedure can begin. If your surgeon is using a laser liposuction device, they will perform the laser treatment first, prior to suctioning. Laser treatments help break up fat and heat the skin – this promotes collagen formation and is used when skin tightening is desired for a better post-treatment appearance. Laser treatments may take up the six months for full results.
Next, the suction process will begin. With our micro-tumescent technique, the largest size we typically use is a 3mm cannula, which allows for detailed sculpting of the area. The fat will slowly be suctioned out of the area (along with the tumescent solution) into special containers until your surgeon has achieved the desired results. Depending on the size of the area, multiple containers may be needed.
6. Immediately After the Procedure
Gauze and tape will be placed over your incisions immediately following the procedure. You may still experience some drainage from the incision sites and will likely need to change the bandages when you get home – we’ll provide you with the necessary supplies. With our method, the incisions are so small that they should close quickly on their own, so no sutures are needed.
You’ll be given a compression garment which you’ll need to put on before leaving. This ensures a more consistent result and helps with swelling, bruising and skin retraction. Your surgeon will provide you with instructions on how long you’ll need to wear this garment.
Pain medication will be called in for you at the pharmacy of your choice in the event that you experience any pain after the procedure – it’s your choice whether to pick it up or not.
7. Post-Procedure & Recovery
You’ll have a follow-up appointment the next business day, as well as follow-up appointments at two weeks and three months. Your surgeon will advise you on when you can return to work and exercise. Typically you only need to abstain from high-intensity exercise for two weeks following the procedure.
Have questions? Call our office at 713-777-5476.