Goodbye, Stubborn Fat

Liposuction (also known as suction-assisted lipectomy, liposculpture, liposurgery, and lipoplasty) has been around for nearly 50 years, and has become the most commonly performed cosmetic surgical procedure in the U.S. As one of the most popular minimally invasive aesthetic procedures available, liposuction is an excellent option for individuals who struggle with specific areas of persistent fat. 

All About Fat

A certain amount of fat is important to our wellbeing. Directly under the skin is a layer known as metabolic fat. Encasing blood vessels and nerves that nourish the skin, this layer of fat gives it a smooth contour while providing warmth. Between this metabolic layer and muscle tissue is storage fat. It is this storage fat which collects in isolated areas such as the neck, stomach, waist, hips, thighs, and knees that patients often choose to remove with liposuction.

These areas frequently prove to be bothersome to patients, but respond well to the liposuction procedure. With our increased understanding of fat metabolism, we now know that heredity and hormonal influences along with lifestyle account for these problem areas. Each of us is born with a genetically pre-determined number of fat cells.

The local concentration of these cells and the extent to which they absorb and hold fat is largely hereditary. Pinching an area of your skin between your thumb and forefinger will give you a good idea of the amount of fat concentrated under the skin.


Candidates for Liposuction

If you’re interested in receiving liposuction, Santa Monica's Grossman Dermatology can help. The best patients for this procedure are those who:

  • Have persistent fat that is not affected by diet or exercise
  • Have been at a stable, healthy weight for six months or longer
  • Are non-smokers in general good health
  • Have firm, elastic skin 
  • Have realistic expectations for what liposuction can do
  • Fully understand the liposuction procedure (including the risks and recovery requirements)

Most Commonly Treated Areas 

  • Submental fat
  • Stomach
  • Waist
  • Love handles
  • Hips
  • Saddlebags
  • Inner thighs
  • Knees
  • Ankles
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“I recently saw Dr. Grossman for the first time, and have to say I was so impressed from the time I checked in with the beautiful atmosphere and smiling receptionist, to Dr. Grossman’s friendly approach and thoroughness to her knowledgeable staff.” 

Yvonne B.

Before & After

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Who is Liposuction For?

It’s commonly stated that liposuction is not a treatment for obesity, and that statement is true. However, liposuction can be appropriate for an overweight person if there’s an area of excess that needs to be reduced to put the body into proportion. However, liposuction cannot diffusely remove fat throughout the body in someone who does not have any localized excessive deposits.

It’s easy to appreciate how a thin person with love handles is appropriate for liposuction, but so too is the moderately heavy person whose love handles are out of proportion to the rest of their body. The goal of liposuction is to put the patient back into proportion and create an artful symmetry in the body. If the patient gains or loses weight, they will continue to maintain the proportion given to them by their surgeon.

Liposuction can help many patients look better not just by having fat removed, but with the trickle-down effects of the improvement in a patient’s self-image. Self-esteem and confidence are improved, the individual feels better about themselves, and after their results, they tend to be more enthusiastic about the gym and good nutrition. Additional, natural weight loss can therefore follow liposuction.


What to Expect During Liposuction

During the liposuction procedure, you will be completely awake. This will allow you to lie down and stand up. Everyone is aware that their body looks different when they’re standing versus lying down, and by having you stand, Dr. Grossman will be able to more accurately sculpt your body proportions.

Pre-operative Valium® will help minimize any anxiety or discomfort you may feel. A special tumescent solution will be injected to numb the area, as well as put fluid around the fat cells so they can be more easily removed. The liposuction procedure is performed through inconspicuous 1/4″ incisions that are often hidden in crease lines.

A cannula (a long, thin tube approximately half the width and twice the length of a pencil with specially-shaped holes located along the tip) is connected by tubing to a very specialized high-suction machine and introduced underneath the skin. A separate machine, external ultrasound, may be applied to the outside of the skin. Dr. Grossman may use this method to aid in creating the best result and to decrease swelling and bruising after surgery. To avoid dimples and injury to the nerves and blood vessels containing metabolic fat, only the lower layer of storage fat near the muscle is suctioned away. Internal ultrasonic liposuction can be performed on select patients in fibrous areas to reduce swelling.

Recovery and Results: What to Expect

You will leave with a compression girdle on, which must be worn for the first two weeks. Thereafter, depending upon the treatment site you may be able to switch to a lighter girdle which should be worn for another two weeks. Because of fluid retention, you may not see much difference for the first few days following surgery, and you may notice bruising with deeper suctioning. If only a small amount was removed, the swelling may be as much as the volume removed, so little change may be noted right away. When larger amounts are removed, patients notice the results sooner.

The change in your appearance, however, will become increasingly evident over the next few months. Although some leg or ankle swelling beginning a few days after surgery is not unusual, any pain or tenderness in the calves should be immediately reported to our team — so we urge you to contact us if you notice this. Normal healing takes its course over 4-6 weeks. You may even see improvement for up to a year as swelling resolves.

Dr. Karyn Grossman, MD

Liposuction at Grossman Dermatology 

Karyn Grossman, M.D. is a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist who safely and effectively performs liposuction for men and women with stubborn pockets of fat. Dr. Grossman is known for helping her patients look their best, as well as her years of experience and artistic, natural-looking results. She does all of the body contouring markings herself and sees all patients, since there is art involved. When you choose Grossman Dermatology, you’re choosing a high level of customer care. If you’re in the Santa Monica or NYC area and you’re considering liposuction, we invite you to contact us.

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