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Ron Shelton M.D.

#317 East 34th Street,
11th Floor, New York, NY 10016. 

Q: I am considering liposuction but am afraid I will gain all the weight back. Is liposuction permanent?

A: Liposuction is not a method of changing your dietary and exercise habits. You have to be committed to doing that. There are times however, that once patients finally see volume reduction after doing liposuction, for the first time in their life, they develop a better attitude to monitor their caloric consumption and have a better interest in exercising to maintain their good result from liposuction. Once those fat cells are removed with liposuction, the residual cells in those areas can regain fat, but less than other areas that have more cells, so there is long term improvement that can occur from having liposuction.

Q: I had Smart Lipo and now, a month later, have very hard areas. They even hurt. Is this normal?

A: Thermal energy and excessive superficial liposuction can induce more collagen production, similar to scar formation, which can pull the overlying skin down to the dermis or muscle. This can be painful. Deep massage, warm compresses and time may help. Experienced liposuction surgeons do not aggressively remove all the fat and leave a cushion behind to have a natural appearing and feeling tissue.

Q: I had liposuction only a couple of weeks ago, but have some lumps and I want to look good for a vacation that I am leaving for in six weeks. What can I do to look better more quickly?

A: You should be wearing compression garments, and you can consider having external ultrasound therapy, if this doesn’t help. Endermologie or Velashape may be too soon for you but you may try that in two more weeks.

Q: How tight should my compression garment be that I wear after liposuction?

A: Too loose will not contribute to a benefit and excessively tight would be uncomfortable without providing better improvement. They should be tight enough to compress the tissues without causing excessive constriction at the ends of the garment.

Q: Will I definitely have dark spots after liposuction and if I do, will they go away?

A: Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is a condition that is not uncommon in some patients. It can happen to any one regardless of skin color, but may happen more commonly in asian skin and skin of color. Sometimes hormonal influences make it worse as does sun exposure. The insertion site of the cannula used in liposuction may make dark spots even if the scar is a fine almost imperceptible line, the pigment of the skin around the scar can be very bothersome to people. It can take more than a year to go away and sometimes it doesn’t fade. Lightening creams may help, and sometimes laser such as Alexandrite, neodymium-yag or Fraxel™ restore laser treatment may help, but they can make it worse too! Insertion scars are purposely placed as close to less visible regions but this is not always possible.

Q: I am interested in liposuction but when I saw a video of the procedure I saw yellow fat in a tube that got pulled into a vacuum. It looks gross. Is that how it works?

A: Yes, liposuction uses a cannula which is a hollow rod that has a blunt, not sharp tip, that has an opening through which the negative pressure of the aspirator (vacuum) pulls the fat. It is a gentle way of fat removal and most patients are very comfortable with the local tumescent anesthetic.

Q: Can I have liposuction after abdominal surgery?

A: Usually, as long as there is no evidence of hernia, liposuction is done very well despite having had gall bladder removal, C-section or other abdominal surgery. There is extra attention given to suctioning underneath the insertion scars to make sure the skin doesn’t stay bound down to the muscle (as it often appears after the abdominal surgery ) so that after the liposuction there is a smoother result.

Q: I have an indented crease on my waist after liposuction from my compression garment. Is this permanent?

A: Compression garments may leave a crease temporarily for up to several days to a week or more once the garment is discontinued. One should not continue to wear the garment if it becomes very painful and you should see your surgeon to evaluate the condition.

Q: I am thinking about liposuction before my vacation next month so I look good in a bikini. Is this smart?

A: One month is not enough time to have the swelling recede and the insertion sites will still be red in color probably. You may have some temporary darkening from pigment and there will still be improvement in contour for as much as six months after liposuction.

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