Dr. Don Griffin of Nashville Cosmetic Surgery

Dr. Griffin's Liposuction Procedure Information

Liposuction has been around for about thirty-five years, in one shape or form. With its inception, plastic surgeons were able to remove large amounts of fat through very small incisions by introducing cannulas that were attached to a suction device.  This became known as suction assisted lipectomy (SAL).  We now take this pretty much for granted, but it was a real innovation when it was first introduced. Prior to this, the only way to remove large areas of fat was to surgically cut it out which left significant scars. This original technique is the basis for all forms of liposuction.  All the different techniques that are mentioned here rely on fat removal by suction.

The first innovation, which is used in virtually all current liposuctions, is the tumescent technique.  This technique introduced fluid into the tissues prior to the liposuction.  The fluid contains a small amount of epinephrine to reduce bruising and blood loss, and may contain some local anesthetic to help with pain relief.

Several different techniques have been introduced over the years.  Some involve different technologies, and some are variations on the basics of the original technique.  All use the tumescent technique as the first step of the operation, and basic liposuction as the final step.  The difference in many of these techniques is the energy used to remove the fat or move the cannulas within the tissue during the suctioning.  In SAL (suction assisted lipectomy, or traditional liposuction) it is the strength of the surgeon that moves the cannula through the tissue to remove the fat.  Ask Dr. Griffin to see his biceps!

Liposuction techniques include:

  • Traditional liposuction - described above
  • Ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty, which differs from traditional liposuction by using ultrasonic energy to liquefy excess fat prior to surgical suctioning: VASER and LipoSelection.
  • Laser assisted liposuction, often marketed as SmartLipo. There are many more types that use various energy sources to dissolve the fat.
  • Body Jet, which uses pulsating water to break up the fat (like a Water Pic).

What is most important for you to know is that study after study has shown that there are no significant differences in the results achieved with ANY of these different types of liposuction.  In other words no one type of liposuction is better than the other.  Despite company marketing hype, they all produce basically the same results with no measurable differences in outcomes.

More important than the type of liposuction, is how well the technique is performed, which is ultimately dependent upon the surgeon on the other end of the suction cannula.

When considering liposuction, the most important thing to consider is finding a Board-certified plastic surgeon with a wealth of experience with liposuction.  It is this experience that will guide the surgeon in knowing how much fat to remove from which area(s), which technology to use, and whether or not liposuction is the best treatment for the area of concern.

"Buyer beware"

It is important to make sure he/she has credentials to perform the procedure in a hospital or certified surgery center.  Anyone can take a weekend certification course and perform liposuction in their office.  Only a board certified surgeon/physician will have the credentials to perform the procedure in a hospital or certified surgery center.  Do your homework and ask.

What you should you expect?

Liposuction is done on an outpatient basis so patients can go home in the care of their families, once they have recovered from anesthesia (unless, of course, the patient has undergone a large volume of liposuction or combined with other procedures.)  Areas that have been treated are placed in compressive garments to minimize swelling.

Liposuction Recovery

Helping our patients manage a speedy recovery is one of our primary goals. Most patients are up and about the day after liposuction. There will be some swelling and bruising after liposuction and recovery depends on the number of areas treated. Compression garments are worn for four to six weeks to aid the healing. Most of the swelling is gone in about 2 to 3 weeks, however there will be small amounts of swelling which may last longer.  After the initial swelling is gone, we recommend Spanx Slim Cognito garments and include them in the price of your surgery.

For men who have correction of Gynecomastia, we have Adidas compression undershirts which are also included. Dr. Griffin instructs his patients on how to perform deep massage on the areas that have been treated which helps with the resolution of swelling and firmness. Most people can return to normal activities in 10 to 14 days.

Frequently Asked Questions

How soon can I exercise after liposuction? Patients can usually return to normal exercise routines within 3 to 4 weeks.

Will it help me get rid of cellulite? No, liposuction does not eliminate cellulite.

How much weight will I lose? Liposuction is not a weight loss procedure.

I had liposuction 2 weeks ago and my clothes actually fit tighter: is there something wrong? No, patients usually have swelling for up to 4 weeks, so it would be normal for your clothes to fit tighter until swelling subsides.