Are you frustrated with a stubborn bulge on your belly, hips, arms, thighs, or some combination?! Do diet and exercise never quite seem to be enough? Liposuction can help end the struggle. This minimally-invasive procedure can make dramatic improvements for those who have tried their best and still need a boost. Men and women alike turn to lipo to shed those final few pounds and achieve the most desirable contour.
Donaldson Plastic Surgery provides safe and reliable options for beautiful, natural results. Dr. Jeffrey Donaldson and his expert team create a welcoming environment for patients seeking an improved appearance. To learn more about Dr. Donaldson and his practice, please fill out the contact form or call today. The friendly staff can answer any preliminary questions and schedule your initial consultation. Continue reading to learn more about the procedure itself. You can also click here to read about liposuction on our blog.
Is Liposuction right for you?
If you have tried to watch what you eat and exercise regularly, but you still have areas with extra fat, you are probably a liposuction candidate. This surgical procedure works best when there are isolated bulges around the thighs and waist, below the navel, behind the arms, under the chin or other discreet locations.
Liposuction surgery may also be desirable if you wish to enhance the curves and contours of your body. If you’d like to accentuate your “hourglass” figure, widen the gap between your thighs or flatten the inner knees, Dr. Donaldson can help. He has even assisted many military personnel improve their critical “neck-waist-hip” ratio for body fat calculations and fitness testing.
Liposuction can be performed on men and women of almost any age and size. Younger people have a higher rate of success with liposuction due to increased skin elasticity. Dr. Donaldson will assess your skin’s elasticity at your consultation to determine whether the procedure is appropriate.
There are several types of liposuction available today, based upon different technologies and energy sources. These include tumescent/wet liposuction (SAL or suction-assisted lipectomy), Vaser (UAL or ultrasonic-assisted lipolysis), SmartLipo (laser liposuction), CoolLipo (cryo-liposuction), PowerLipo (PAL or power-assisted liposuction) among others. Dr. Donaldson typically prefers SAL and Vaser/UAL for their beauty, consistency and relative safety.
Lipoplasty is not an obesity treatment, and it is not a panacea for depression or malaise. Interestingly, it has been shown to improve cholesterol levels in certain individuals. If you suffer from any medical conditions, they should be vetted with Dr. Donaldson before making a final decision. At your consultation, Dr. Donaldson will go over your medical history to assess risks and determine whether any further testing, referrals or intervention may be necessary.
What should I expect during my consultation?
During consultation, Dr. Donaldson will first ask, “What concerns you?” After listening to your aesthetic goals, he will partner with you in order to achieve them. He will carefully evaluate your physical concerns by taking detailed measurements and photographs, and he will consider your motivations and expectations as well. Next, Dr. Donaldson will explain your full spectrum of treatment options, including potential risks and benefits. He’ll share before-and-after photographs of similar patients, and then together, you’ll decide exactly what procedure or combination of procedures seems best. Additional operations that may complement liposuction are Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty), Breast Augmentation or Reduction, and Thigh Lift. Liposuction is often considered a key component of a more comprehensive “Mommy Makeover.”
A review of your medical history is another important part of your consultation. Be prepared to discuss any previous medical issues, hospitalizations, surgery, allergies and medications, as well as the contact information for any physicians who provide you with care. This discussion ensures the safest possible outcome, as testing and preparation can be done in advance. Dr. Donaldson prefers a team approach, especially when other physicians and providers of support already know you well.
The consultation is a great opportunity to ask Dr. Donaldson and his staff any question that comes to mind. You may wish to discuss health concerns, technical details of the operation, likely range of results, specific elements of the recovery process, or any other related matter. There is such an emphasis on education that some patients even experience “information overload,” and it may take a few days or even a second visit to digest it all!
Dr. Donaldson will commit his full and undivided attention to you during consultation. Patients appreciate his ability to focus on one patient at a time, calling him “warm,” “welcoming,” “professional,” “great bedside manner,” and “The BEST — just like the rest of the Donaldson Plastic Surgery team!”
What questions should I ask my surgeon?
Although we answer many general questions over the phone, on this website and in our information packets, it is important to discuss the details of your specific situation at length with Dr. Donaldson and his team during your visit. Your unique circumstances will help shape your plan and your results, and thorough discussions will help avoid surprises.
You can start by asking for procedure recommendations. Although you may have one procedure in mind, Dr. Donaldson may know of a safer, more efficient or comprehensive option for your particular case. There are so many minimally-invasive liposuction options available that you may be able to achieve your ideal results without undergoing more extensive surgery.
Once you have decided on a surgical plan, some frequently-asked questions might include:
- Should I try to exercise more or lose some weight before surgery?
- Are there any clothes, support garments or supplements I should buy in advance?
- When can I go back to work?
- How many follow-up visits will I need?
- When can I resume exercise? How about sexual activity?
- What kind of risks are involved?
- Are the results permanent?
- Is it true that if I gain weight, it will just go somewhere else instead?
- Are there any financing options available?
After you’ve made a final decision to undergo lipoplasty, it is important that you are well-aware and comfortable with specific instructions. Dr. Donaldson and his team will explain exactly what to do before and after surgery to ensure the best possible results and a speedy recovery. Make sure to ask for clarity in advance so you understand exactly what is required of you on the day of your operation, and you can recognize problems or complications if they arise afterward. Like any other important endeavor, information and preparation is key to success.
How should I prepare for my liposuction procedure to ensure beautiful results?
Start taking good care of yourself! The healthier you are, the easier it is for your body to heal after the surgery. Dr. Donaldson recommends that you are within ten to twenty pounds of your reasonable, typical body weight. Most patients are up or down ten to twenty pounds over the course of their lifetimes, and as long as you are within that range, then your liposuction results will not suffer. If you anticipate larger weight swings, then it is best to make some progress before having surgery so revisions are less likely.
Nutrition, proper fluid intake, exercise and rest will aid your recovery. You should also cut out unhealthy habits, such as drinking alcohol and using tobacco, in the time leading up to the surgery. Dr. Donaldson advises his patients to quit smoking for at least two weeks before surgery and two weeks after surgery in order to avoid infections, wound complications and problems with healing. His staff is happy to help you plan for these lifestyle changes well in advance.
Certain medications and dietary supplements can impair healing, or cause more bleeding, bruising and scar tissue. Dr. Donaldson will provide a list of some of the most common contraindicated substances; however, it is wise to cross-check the side effects of anything you are taking yourself to be sure.
Before your procedure, make sure your home is ready for recovery. You will need a comfortable place to rest and relax for the first day or two, as your movement will be restricted. Take care of physical projects in advance, because you will not be ready for heavy chores right away. It is best to recruit a family member or a good friend to be available to assist you for at least the first twenty-four hours. Most patients rebound very quickly, but it is best to take precautions nonetheless.
Are there any risks?
As with all surgical procedures, there are risks inherent to liposuction. Complications are rare, but it is best to be aware of them in advance so you can weigh the pros and cons of surgery and be able to recognize them early if they occur.
The most common risks associated with liposuction are subtle cosmetic differences, such as contour defects or asymmetry, rippling or dimpling of the skin, or the appearance of grooves. Contour abnormalities generally result when the patient has excess or loose skin, and they can often be fixed with skin-tightening procedures or fat transfer. Additional risks are rare, but may include:
- Changes in sensation or chronic pain
- Anesthesia complications
- Irregular pigmentation
- Blood clots
- Damage to deeper structures such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles, or organs
- Fluid accumulation
Dr. Donaldson will address many of these risks during your consultation, and you will see them listed again during the informed consent process before surgery.
About the procedure
Liposuction techniques have improved dramatically since their inception. Lipo can target and isolate very specific areas, making it the most requested body contouring procedure. Better instrument designs, stronger suction, more targeted medication infiltration, and applied ultrasonic and laser technologies allow larger amounts of fat to be removed safely with less pain, bruising and recovery time.
Dr. Donaldson recommends tumescent or super-wet SAL for most common fatty areas. This technique is often considered the safest and most predictable because it does not entail destructive energy sources. Several small (5mm or 1/4 inch), well-hidden incisions are used to gain access through the skin to the underlying fat. Often a freckle or small skin fold is chosen to camouflage the scar. A thin tube or cannula is used to introduce tumescent solution, which is comprised of IV fluid, lidocaine numbing medication and adrenaline (epinephrine). This combination simultaneously provides pain relief and minimizes bleeding and bruising. Next, a series of Mercedes-tip lipocannulas of varying caliber are used to dislodge fat and carry it away through a suction apparatus. This technique is smooth and reliable, with no risk of burns or damage to the overlying skin. The entry incisions are closed with dissolvable sutures and surgical glue. This technique works especially well under the chin (wattle), behind the upper arms (bat wings), on the low abdomen and flanks (love handles), on the outer thighs (saddle bags), inner thighs and knees, and beneath the buttock creases (banana rolls).
Dr. Donaldson usually reserves Vaser UAL for tougher, more fibrous areas such as behind the neck, the back, under the armpits, the upper abdomen and lower ribcage, any areas where liposuction has been performed previously (creating underlying scar tissue) and virtually anywhere on men including the chest (gynecomastia). In UAL, the surgeon uses high-frequency sound waves at the tip of the small cannulas to cavitate and emulsify the fat before removing it. This method generally makes it easier to release stubborn fat that would not respond to SAL alone; however, it carries slightly higher risk that is unnecessary for the majority of cases.
“Liposculpture” has taken the discipline to another level with consideration of deeper and more superficial layers of fat and their removal and manipulation. Fat that is removed from one area may be injected or grafted into another area. Heavier persons can now be contoured with greater precision and predictability as well. “Focal” or “micro-liposuction” can help with even the most subtle and nuanced locations by using extremely small instruments and fine-motor surgical movements.
Liposuction is performed on an outpatient basis. General anesthesia is used during large volume liposuction or when multiple areas are being treated at once; local anesthesia with oral pain medication may be used when the area is small or isolated. Custom compression garments are fitted to your body before you leave the operating room. This supportive clothing reduces swelling and helps the skin conform to the thinner underlying contour.
What will recovery be like?
Pain medication is given before, during, and after the operation, and lidocaine/Marcaine local anesthesia (numbing medication) will continue to linger in the operated areas even after you return home the same day. Your compression garment will cover the treated areas and provide supportive comfort as well. Compression is advised for two to four weeks as it continues to minimize swelling even as your activity level increases. After this period, you may find Lycra or spandex exercise garments more comfortable as a transition or bridge therapy.
The tiny dissolvable sutures are buried beneath the skin, and you will never notice them before they are gone in a few weeks. The surgical glue overlying the incisions will gradually peel off in the shower after 1-2 weeks.
There are three distinct phases to liposuction healing. The first phase is Day 1-6, when you have the dramatic effect of the operation, followed by some amount of bruising and swelling. You will already be able to see an improvement during this phase, right away! The second phase occurs from Day 6 to approximately Week 6, when your body clears swelling, inflammation, fluids and injured fat cells that are left behind from the operation. This period brings with it a further tightening effect. The final phase lasts from Week 6 to approximately Month 6, during which scar tissue sets in and has a final “shrink wrap” effect. Patients often describe a slow and steady continuation of improvements in their contour even six months out from surgery!
The final result should not be measured until at least six months, and sometimes a year has passed since surgery.
Learn how to properly apply the following:
What about scars?
Scarring is generally minimal with liposuction, as the incisions are miniscule and often well-hidden near a freckle, inside the belly button, near a hairline, or within a pre-existing scar or stretch mark. More scars are necessary as more areas or larger areas are treated.
All scars fade over time, and some disappear almost entirely. Your scarring will depend on your skin type, your activity level immediately after surgery and your compliance with post-operative instructions. At your consultation, Dr. Donaldson can assess your skin and give you a more accurate estimation of your personal chance for scarring. After surgery, you will meet with Dr. Donaldson’s aesthetician to learn about the most current scar creams and therapies. Steroid injections, dermabrasion or laser resurfacing are very rarely needed because the scars are so small.
Why choose Dr. Donaldson?
Dr. Jeffrey Donaldson has a keen eye for detail and an artistic sense of human form. He prizes symmetry and a natural appearance. Dr. Donaldson has extensive experience with liposuction in patients of all ages and body types, and in many ways his training has “overqualified” him to perform these procedures. He prefers minimally-invasive techniques and has an outstanding record of patient safety and satisfaction. He is revered by patients for excellent results, as well as a warm and genuine bedside manner.
Dr. Donaldson devotes personal attention to each patient, making sure they are fully informed and comfortable before making final decisions. You will see why he has been voted one of America’s Most Compassionate Doctors! Dr. Donaldson was named one of America’s Top Plastic Surgeons in 2013 and one of the Columbus Forty Under 40 in 2014. He is a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery as well as the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, and he is a Diplomat of the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
Schedule a consultation
If you are interested in undergoing liposuction, the first step is scheduling a consultation at our office. Dr. Donaldson and the Donaldson Plastic Surgery Staff will guide you through the entire process, including financing options and/or travel arrangements if necessary.
Call 614-442-7610 or contact us through our form at the upper left of this page. Schedule your consultation today and start your journey toward improved shape and physique.