Craig Mezrow MS, MD, FACS

What is Liposuction?

Liposuction is the most common surgical procedure. It is performed in men and women who are within a relatively normal weight range but have areas of fat that they can not reduce or are resistant to diet and exercise. Often, these resistant regions, which may be inherited, appear disproportioned to the rest of the body and liposuction is often the only way to reduce them.

Liposuction should not be considered a substitute for overall weight loss, nor is it an effective treatment for cellulite, a condition that gives the skin an uneven, dimpled appearance. Alternative treatments may be considered, in some instances, to improve this problem.

Liposuction can be performed on several areas of the body at the same time and can be done in conjunction with other aesthetic plastic surgery. Common regions where liposuction is performed for contouring include: neck, upper arms, chest or breasts, back, hips, abdomen, inner and outer thighs, and inner knees. Liposuction may sometimes be used to treat a condition called gynecomastia, or male breast enlargement.


Consulting with Dr. Mezrow: 

During the consultation, Dr. Mezrow will ask you about your particular concerns regarding fatty regions that you cannot decrease with diet and exercise. This will help determine your expectations and determine whether they can be realistically achieved. 

After obtaining a comprehensive medical and surgical history, Dr. Mezrow will perform an examination of the regions you desire to reduce with liposuction. The skin overlying the regions of concern will be assessed for skin tone or elasticity.

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Who is a candidate?

A good candidate will have isolated regions of fat in the presence of good skin tone also referred to as good skin elasticity. If liposuction is performed with overlying skin that has poor elasticity, the skin will likely not contract, resulting in hanging or loose skin that requires skin removal.


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How is the procedure done/Where will I have scars?

Prior to surgery, the region or regions for fat removal are marked. Liposuction may be performed under local anesthesia, anesthesia with intravenous sedation or general anesthesia depending on the number of regions and extent of fat removal.

The surgical procedure entails, making multiple very small incisions in the regions of fat removal. Through these very small incisions, anesthetic solution with adrenalin called tumescence or also known as wetting solution is injected into the regions for fat removal. The injected solution anesthetizes the regions and reduces the risk for bleeding. Following tumescence, small tubes (called cannulas) with suction applied are used to reduce fat and contour the desired regions.

Liposuction is performed as an outpatient when the planned procedure is to remove less than five liters of fat. The procedure typically takes approximately 1-3 hours to perform depending on the number of regions to be contoured. Most patients recover within 1 to 2 hours after surgery and are discharged home. It is important to arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery and to stay with you for at least the next day or two.



What are the potential complications?

Fortunately, significant complications from liposuction surgery are infrequent, however, all surgery has risks. Dr. Mezrow will discuss with you, the risks, benefits and alternatives and answer all your questions

Some potential complications include infection, bleeding, fluid accumulation under the skin (seroma), contour abnormalities, loose skin and poor scarring. A complication, which delays healing and prolongs recovery, is more common in diabetic patients and those who smoke.

Preoperative and postoperative instructions will be given to you by Dr. Mezrow in attempt to reduce the likelihood of complications and make you as comfortable as possible with the whole process. Smokers will be instructed to stop smoking 4-6 weeks prior to surgery and not resume smoking to reduce the risk of delayed healing, wounds, infections and compromised outcome. Aspirin, anti-inflammatory medications as well as agents that cause bleeding should be discontinued two weeks prior to surgery (or as otherwise instructed by Dr. Mezrow and your primary physician) to reduce the likelihood of bleeding.

What happens after surgery?

When surgery is completed, you will be taken into a recovery area where you will continue to be closely monitored. A compressive garment is worn over the regions of fat removal and pads are placed over the multiple, very small incisions.

You may be permitted to go home after recovery. After surgery, you should have your legs elevated if liposuction is performed on the thighs. It is normal to drain some fluid for approximately one or two days from the small incisions. It is essential to remember, not take aspirin or certain anti-inflammatory medications to decrease the risk of bleeding.

Strenuous activities including heavy lifting should be avoided for the first several days, since these activities might cause compromised results including but not limited to increase swelling or even bleeding.

After surgery, patients experience varying degrees of swelling and bruising that will resolve with time. The compressive garment will be worn for the first several weeks following surgery. The incisions will be initially be reddish and then slowly fade over months resulting in tiny permanent scars.


When can I return to work?

Depending on your physical condition, you may be able to return to non-strenuous work in approximately one week after surgery.


How long is the healing process?

During healing you may experience some mild, periodic discomfort and swelling, such feelings are normal. Severe pain should be reported to Dr. Mezrow.

Liposuction will reduce areas of fat that are resistant to diet and exercise obtaining improved body contour. After liposuction, it is not uncommon for clothing and bathing suits to fit better, and to feel more confident about your appearance.

Healing from your surgery is a process that takes up to a year for final result. You will be instructed to return to Dr. Mezrow’s office for follow-up care at prescribed intervals to monitor your progress and optimize your outcome.

If you have any questions or concerns prior to surgery or during your recovery, you should contact Dr. Mezrow.