1. Is it painful?
The initial sedation (usually with sedatives and pain medications) provides a high degree of patient relaxation. The addition of sodium bicarbonate to a volume of dilute local anesthetic takes the `sting' out of the numbing process, resulting in complete numbness in most cases. Postoperatively, the small amount of soreness usually disappears in several days.
2. Will I be asleep?
You will be lightly sedated, though relaxed, but will not be under general anesthesia. The body contouring generally takes 2 to 3 hours to complete. The procedure is performed in an office surgical facility utilizing trained professional staff and containing state-of-the-art monitoring and safety equipment.
3. How much can be removed? Will it stay gone?
Considerable amounts can be removed from the localized areas containing the unwanted fat - enough to make a definite difference. The procedure is not effective for generalized obesity, since a maximum of 4-8 lbs can be removed in any one session. However, fat cells in the adult do not divide, and hence the fat removed will not return.
4. What are the age and weight limits for liposuction?
Dr. Swinehart has performed this procedure on patients ranging in age from 15 to 84. Age (or weight) are not absolute factors as long as you are in good health and have realistic expectations.
5. Will it be symmetrical and even?
Considerable skill and experience are necessary to obtain symmetry with body contouring. This is nearly impossible when a patient is asleep and lying flat. With the newer tumescent technique, however, under local anesthesia, we will examine you sitting or standing up, right after the procedure, to carefully search for areas of imperfection; these can then be touched up `on the spot'. Other techniques for obtaining symmetry include: (a) measuring the skin - fold thickness in each area, and (b) an exact measurement of fat removed from each side. The adjacent photos depict typical before-and-after results obtained by Dr. Swinehart.
6. Will my skin be saggy or loose?
In nearly all instances, the elastic properties of your skin will cause it to retract back to your desired shape. `Tightening' or `tucking' procedures on the skin after liposuction are occasionally necessary only in the elderly or in patients previously quite obese.
7. What are the risks? Is it safe?
On a nationwide basis, no serious complications have developed in over 47,000 patients requesting body contouring by the tumescent technique over the past several years. In contrast, liposuction performed under general anesthesia received considerable negative nationwide publicity centering on several cases a few years ago. These unwanted effects resulted in a search for a safer technique, and soon afterwards the tumescent technique was developed and perfected.
8. Are there any after effects?
Some soreness, swelling, and occasional bruising may persist for a few days. A special garment may be worn for 6 weeks to maintain your contour. Recently, occasional reports have been received of breast enlargement in women following body contouring procedures in other areas of the body.
9. When can I resume my activities?
Although you will need someone to drive you home, you can be `up and about' that evening, with return to work in one to two days. Exercise can be commenced, as tolerated, within several days.
10. What is the cost?
The cost of the procedure is only one-third to one-half of that previously associated with liposuction under general anesthesia, since there is no hospital or operating room fee. Additionally, you will miss much less time from work with this new method. Call 303-744-1202 for fees.
11. How long has the doctor been doing the procedure?
Dr. Swinehart has performed body contouring with the tumescent technique since 1987 and performs one to five procedures per week. His dermatologic surgical training and experience with other cosmetic operations (including hair transplantation, skin cancer surgery, dermabrasion, and blepharoplasty) have resulted in the addition of numerous `fine touches' and modifications to this procedure.
12. Which doctors perform body contouring?
Dermatologists, by nature, are conservative, and their emphasis on performance of techniques in a safer, outpatient fashion under local anesthesia led to the development of the tumescent technique. Dermatologic surgeons are the only cosmetic surgeons trained solely in skin and soft tissue surgery. Liposuction was invented by an Italian gynecologist, but is now performed by dermatologic surgeons, cosmetic surgeons, facial plastic surgeons, general surgeons, and plastic surgeons. Tumescent Liposculpture was, of course, invented by Jeff Klein, a California Dermatologist. Dermatologists are now teaching this technique to other surgical specialists.