Liposuction surgery is ideal for treating areas of excess fat in the stomach, buttocks, hips, love handles, saddlebags, thighs, calves, ankles, breasts (including male breast enlargement), back, arms and neck. Oftentimes patients seeking liposuction have areas of fat deposit that are disproportionate with the rest of the body and do not vanish with diet and exercise. Because liposuction removes fat rather than skin, it is ideal for areas with minimal excess skin and good skin elasticity.

Good candidates for this procedure:

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  • Patients who are relatively fit with specific problem areas rather than patients seeking to eliminate fat all over their bodies

  • Patients without excess sagging skin on problem areas and good skin elasticity
  • Patients with localized deposits of fat in their abdomen, arms, thighs and/or neck, which may be the result of heredity and do not disappear with exercise and diet

What to expect: Consultation

All cosmetic consultations are complimentary and serve as a great opportunity to gain further insight by voicing your concerns and having questions answered. During the initial consultation, Dr. Hsu will ask some questions to get to know you and determine if you are a good candidate for liposuction.

Dr. Hsu will first ask you about your specific goals for liposuction, including what areas of the body you would like to improve. He will then examine the particular areas to see if there is sufficient fat in the area and if it is a good area to target for liposuction. He will then ask you about your general health history, including any existing medical problems, prior surgery, daily medications, allergies, and any smoking habits.

Dr. Hsu will then give you his assessment on whether you would be a good candidate for the procedure, and if so, how the surgical plan should be individualized for your anatomy. Since each patient's anatomy and surgical goals are different, you and Dr. Hsu will work together to reach optimal aesthetic results.  

Surgery Details:

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On the day of surgery, come in early to fill out paperwork, meet the anesthesiologist, and the staff will prep you for surgery. Dr. Hsu will meet you in the pre-operative area before surgery to make markings on the areas planned for surgery and answer any last questions you may have. 

Dr. Hsu prefers to perform liposuction with the patient under general anesthesia, in order to allow for sufficient fat to be removed while keeping the patient comfortable. The procedure is performed in two steps. First, Dr. Hsu injects the area with fluid which includes a local anesthetic for comfort and a vasoconstrictive agent to shrink blood vessels to minimize bruising. Then, Dr. Hsu will make a very small incision to insert the liposuction cannula into the skin which removes pockets of fat. The incision site depends upon the area Dr. Hsu is targeting. For the most common areas, the abdomen and flanks, the incision areas are the belly button or groin line crease, outer and inner thighs at the knees, and the arms at the elbow. Dr. Hsu uses a power-assisted liposuction technique that helps the cannula remove fat with less trauma to the patient. Because the fat layer is above the muscle layer, the muscles will not be affected. In general, the procedure takes about thirty minutes per area, but time will vary between each patient.

If you are also interested in fat grafting to the buttocks for what is commonly known as the Brazilian Butt Lift please see our Fat Grafting procedure page for more information.

Recovery & Post-operative Instructions:

After the surgery, you will wear a compression garment for approximately two weeks, 24 hours a day, to aid the healing process. Two to six weeks after surgery, you should wear it as often as you can while you are home and you can also wear the compression garment underneath your clothes when you go out. The compression garment will be very tight in order to squeeze the skin. The skin naturally adapts well and the compression garment aids the skin in shrinking over the area. Because the compression garment aids your skin in looking naturally smooth over the smaller area, it should be worn as much as possible in the first two weeks but preferably for six.

Liposuction areas

Most importantly, you should keep the surgical area dry until Dr. Hsu gives his approval to shower. To clean the rest of your body, you can bathe or use wipes. Swelling & bruising will peak about 48 hours after surgery but will then decrease significantly in the first two weeks. Most patients can return to work after two weeks, but many patients return even sooner. The biggest limitation for post-operative patients is driving, which should be avoided while taking pain medication. Patients usually stop taking pain medication after five to seven days and plan their work schedules accordingly. Six weeks is usually an appropriate time to gradually return to full exercise and activity.

During the recovery period, we recommend walking within the house several times per day to speed healing and minimize the possibility of developing blood clots. If you have any issues after surgery, Dr. Hsu is available 24 hours for any immediate concerns. For an extended period of time after surgery, Dr. Hsu will see you in follow up to make sure you are healing well. Follow up appointments are scheduled immediately after surgery and for up to a year afterward.

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Dr. Hsu's view on Liposuction.

As mentioned above, liposuction is best used for patients who have a specific part of the body where they would like to remove some excess fatty tissue.  For patients looking for removal of fat all over the body, the best option is really diet and exercise.  I would say that in about 50% of the patients who come to me seeking liposuction, I instead recommend that they pursue diet and exercise.  That is still the best way to lose generalized body mass throughout the body.

For those patients who have specific problem areas, liposuction works very well.  The procedure can be tailored to each individual patient with a focus on those specific areas.

Many patients ask if I perform liposuction under local anesthesia, since there has been an explosion in the growth of clinics who are doing it on an outpatient basis.  I do all of my liposuction under general anesthesia, because I find that patients are much, much more comfortable under general anesthesia, and therefore I can take my time to achieve the best results possible.  No surgeon wants to cause pain in their patients, and I’ve found that many patients who come to me telling me that they had liposuction elsewhere under local anesthesia either (1) did not have sufficient results, or (2) had a lot of pain while undergoing that procedure.  

I don’t like to have my patients have pain during the procedure, so I’m a strong proponent of general anesthesia for liposuction.  The increased patient comfort and, in my opinion, better results that I can achieve when the patient is asleep, make the general anesthesia approach preferable.