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Liposuction has cosmetic as well as some medical applications. Whatever the reason for your visit, when you come to our office for treatment, you will be welcomed by a doctor and staff who know that all bodies are beautiful. We also understand that cosmetic improvements can have marked and even life changing psychological effects, allowing you to experience increased confidence and enjoyment of your body. Nips and tucks are not the focus of what we do—letting you embrace life more fully is what our practice is about.
From the minute you come through our doors, you will be treated with the utmost respect. Your comfort and peace of mind is our number one concern. The best way for us to serve you is for you to feel completely at ease about this process. Don’t feel timid about asking us questions! Dr. Gerstle has handled tens of thousands of procedures over the course of his career—big and small—and trust us: he’s seen it all! You simply cannot ask a question or raise a concern that he has not heard before.
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The New You—Working with Dr. Gerstle
First, you and Dr. Gerstle will have a detailed consultation that involves your medical history, a physical exam, and a review of your cosmetic goals. Dr. Gerstle wants to understand what you are hoping to achieve and will discuss how he can use his skills and expertise to help you reach your new and improved appearance.
We offer an in-office, state-of-the art digital imaging system called “mirror imaging.” We are able to digitally enhance your own photographs to create the look you hope to achieve. Then, Dr. Gerstle will explain how he can best help you achieve that look. We often say that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and this technique is a great way to ensure that the two of you have similar expectations and that the plan you agree on matches your desired outcome.
Dr. Gerstle operates at Lexington Plastic Surgery, a AAAASF accredited ambulatory surgery center. Small areas, such as the area underneath the chin, can be treated in the office surgical suite under local anesthetic or sedation. Larger areas, such as buttocks, arms, thighs, hips, and abdomen will require a general anesthetic also performed in office..
Following the surgery, you will see Dr. Gerstle the following day at our office to check your progress. Of course, Dr. Gerstle is always available by cell phone or email in between office visits. We want to make sure you are comfortable with every step in the process.
Liposuction is generally a very safe procedure that is done hundreds of thousands of times annually in the United States. Side effects such as scarring, numbness, or dents in the skin occasionally occur. To limit this risk, Dr. Gerstle limits the amount of fat removed to four liters at a time and only combines liposuction with other procedures that do not compound the small risks associated with liposuction.
Before deciding on a liposuction procedure, Dr. Gerstle will take a full medical history and pinpoint any pre-existing conditions that could carry added risk. Because any surgery has some inherent risk associated with it, we may order certain lab tests to ensure that you are in good health and are physically able to handle a surgical procedure. We exercise caution when considering doing work on anyone with conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or a compromised immune system.
The Liposuction Procedure
Liposuction surgery is fairly straightforward and easy to explain. Depending on the area or areas to be treated, either local or general anesthesia may be called for. There are several different procedures to choose from, but broadly speaking, Dr. Gerstle will create small incisions in the skin and use a thin, tube-like instrument called a cannula to loosen and dislodge excess fat and then suck it out of the body into a vacuum-type instrument that is attached to the cannula. The procedure takes only a few hours, again, depending on the size and range of areas to be treated.
Following your surgery, this is the perfect time to focus on self-care. After all, in just a few months , you will be seeing the end result of a process that can have far-reaching consequences for your confidence and self-esteem! While you are recovering, take the opportunity for some well-deserved downtime. Take time to see friends, read or do journaling, walk or hike (as long as Dr. Gerstle gives you the OK). Take things slowly and let your body heal.
If you’re feeling sore or experience some bruising or swelling post op, know that this is all part of the process. Feeling tired or achy after your procedure is normal, and the good news is, it doesn’t last. So focus on your emotional and psychological health. Give yourself time.
As you recover, ABD pads and a compression garment are placed on the surgical sites in order to decrease swelling and absorb any fluid discharge. It is perfectly normal for fluid to drain from the surgical incisions.
You should avoid strenuous activity for two to four weeks to allow your body to heal properly. By that time, most of the swelling should be gone, but it is not abnormal for some people to experience swelling for several months post op. Most patients can expect to judge their final result at around 3-6 months after the liposuction procedure, once all swelling has resolved.
Benefits of Liposuction
Clearly, one of the main reasons people get liposuction is to feel better about their appearance, and it is highly effective in achieving this goal. Liposuction can balance out areas where too much fat accumulates, leaving you looking more symmetrical, sleeker, younger, and fitter. You will feel better about your appearance both in and out of clothing following liposuction.
Of course, this translates to a psychological boost. You may feel more confident in a bathing suit, a tennis skirt, your favorite lingerie, or just in your everyday work clothing or active wear. And, just as importantly, it will propel you to taking better care of yourself to maintain these benefits. So, liposuction is far more than just a vanity treatment!
During the procedure, it is also possible to harvest fat to inject into other areas—such as the face or buttocks—to enhance and plump up other body parts that need it.
Medical conditions that can be treated with liposuction include:
- Abnormal distribution of fat—Certain conditions can cause deposits of fat to collect under a man’s breasts (gynecomastia) or to distribute unevenly (lipodystrophy syndrome). Liposuction can help to correct these issues.
- Chronic swelling—Lymph fluid can sometimes build up in tissues causing long-term swelling and pain which can be addressed via liposuction.
How can I prepare for liposuction surgery?
Make sure to pause any medications or supplements as discussed with Dr. Gerstle prior to your surgery. Most likely you will not be able to eat for twelve hours prior. Get a good nightsleep and make sure to only engage in calming and soothing activities.
Is liposuction appropriate if I am significantly overweight?
It is important to understand that liposuction can help sculpt the body, but it is not a weight loss strategy. Patients who are significantly overweight are typically not candidates for the procedure. The best candidates are people who are of normal weight with firm, elastic skin with pockets of excess fat in certain areas. Some people think that liposuction is what they need to achieve their cosmetic goals when, in fact, you may learn that gastric bypass surgery would actually be the best choice for you.
Could some of my medications impact the surgery?
Discuss all medications you are currently taking with us before surgery. Some that may need to be temporarily discontinued include aspirin and NSAIDs
How much fat can be removed during liposuction?
It is not safe to remove more than 4 liters (4,000 cc’s) during a single surgery. Dr. Gerstle generally does not recommend that you undergo a liposuction procedure that removes a greater quantity of fat.
When can I return to work?
Most people feel well enough to return to work within week or two.
Will I have scarring?
Dr. Gerstle takes all possible steps to minimize scarring. The cannula, the tool used to remove fat during a liposuction, is small and is designed to create a minimum of scarring.
What areas of the body can liposuction be performed on?
Liposuction is a generalized procedure that can be used in areas around the whole body, including the upper arms, beneath the chin, outer thighs (“saddle bags”), abdomen (“love handles”), female and male breasts, back of neck, bra strap area, “muffin top,” back, ankles, and inner thighs.
What is the recovery like after liposuction?
It is a good idea to prepare for several weeks to several months of relaxation and downtime following liposuction, depending on the area treated and the size of the area. Swelling, bruising, and fat shifting will resolve in fairly short order. Try to be patient and take it easy as you wait. Staff is always available to discuss any concerns pre or post op. We’re here to support you!
Who is eligible for liposuction?
Nonsmokers who are already at a healthy or average weight are the best candidates for liposuction. Skin elasticity is important for the recovery process; liposuction will not remedy cellulite, stretch marks, or loose skin conditions. Good general health is necessary.
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Theo Gerstle, MD
Theo Gerstle, MD
Theo Gerstle, MD