Peter Galpin, M.D., FACS

Kahului, HI (96732)

200 Kalepa Pl # 203

(XXX) XXX-XX00 phone

(808) 877-7480 fax

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Liposuction: Frequently Asked Questions


These FAQ's are designed to help you with general information about a given procedure. They are not designed to give full detail, or take the place of informational consults with a Plastic Surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

What Are Fat Cells?

Fat cells are low density cells which store fat. By your early teenage years, you have made all the fat cells you will ever make (the good news). The bad news is, it seems any individual fat cell has an almost unlimited ability to expand. So even if you had only one fat cell you could still gain weight. It would all be in one giant fat cell.

As we age, fat retention and distribution is determined by: metabolism (which slows as we age, making it easier to gain and harder to lose), genetic factors (look at your parents’ distribution), caloric intake, and caloric expenditure.

Who Is A Good Candidate?

The limitation of liposuction is that it primarily deals with only fat distribution. If there are any skin quality or muscle wall problems (for example an abdomen after multiple childbirths), then liposuction will be less satisfactory.

So a description of a good candidate would be: Someone near their reasonable body weight, with areas of fatty deposition which are unresponsive to dieting and exercise.

Do I Need To Lose Weight Before My Procedure?

This really depends on the area to be treated. In general you should be at a reasonable body weight (for example: If you have to exercise like a professional athlete, and eat like a monk to maintain your weight, more than likely that’s not reasonable in the log run. Likewise if you’re 100 pounds overweight and a couch potato, that’s not realistic either). For the best results your weight should be stable (no large weight loss/gains planned).

What Is The Recovery Time?

Patients need to wear a compression garment for one to two weeks. They may return to work as soon as it is comfortable (3-10 days, depending on the amount removed). Aerobic exercise should be avoided for three weeks. You will need pain medication for the first few days. At no time do you need to be bedridden, even the next day it is good to get up and move around carefully. You should however plan on a few weeks (three to six) to get completely back to normal.

Does The Fat Come Back?

No!!! The fat removed by liposuction does not return. By the early teen years, we have every fat cell we are ever going to have. The body doesn’t make new ones. Unfortunately, it seems individual fat cells have a nearly infinite capacity to expand. So, even though the cells removed don’t come back, a patient can still gain weight in the cells left behind. Any weight gain, though, tends to better distributed.

Many patients continue to go on to lose more weight after liposuction, due possibly to changes in fat metabolism, or the motivation an improved contour gives.

What Are The Risks?

Risks should always be discussed in detail with your surgeon. While the risks to liposuction are low, you should be aware of the small chance of: postoperative fluid collections, asymmetries, changes in skin color, numbness, wound healing problems, and visible scaring. There are some risks, which are rare but serious (blood clots, breathing difficulties), and should be discussed with your surgeon.

I Have Heard Of Patients Dying After Liposuction. Is It Safe?

Liposuction has a very good safety record. It is the most commonly performed cosmetic operation. There have, however, been a few deaths after liposuction. They have usually been associated with patients undergoing multiple procedures at the time of their liposuction, or large volume liposuction. Almost exclusively, these have involved the amount of fluid given at the time of surgery, and immediately after, and not directly related to the procedure itself.

You need to be sure that your surgeon is qualified (certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery). If you are undergoing large volume removals, you should discuss having a board certified anesthesiologist present, and might wish to spend the first night in the hospital.

Do I Have To Stay In The Hospital?

Most liposuctions are done as an out patient. I almost always think it is a good idea to have an anesthesiologist present. There are some patients for whom it is best to plan on an overnight stay (patients with other medical conditions, or patients considering multiple procedures or large volume removal). We can easily arrange for an overnight stay should that be needed.

How Much Does Liposuction Cost?

This varies a great deal depending on how many areas are treated (anything you have two of equals only one area. e.g. both hips equals one area), and whether we use the hospital and an anesthesiologist.

See Liposuction Procedural Photos