What to expect from tummy liposuction

December 1, 2006

You've made a big decision to get liposuction to make your tummy look flatter and to feel your best in your favorite clothes.

You've made a big decision to get liposuction to make your tummy look flatter and to feel your best in your favorite clothes.

But, before you rush to have this procedure, there are some important things you need to know.

It is imperative that you make sure you've chosen the right doctor for the procedure and that you are a good candidate for it as well, according to New York dermasurgeon, Rhoda Narins, M.D., clinical professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center and a past president of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS).

WHAT WILL HAPPEN? State of the art tummy liposuction is often referred to as "tumescent liposuction."

It is accomplished under local anesthesia and most people can go back to work in one to three days. You'll be pleased to know that the days of wearing heavy compression garments following liposuction are gone - those garments have been replaced by leotards or onesies at first and a bathing suit thereafter. You'll probably only need to wear these garments for a week or two. You will also be able to shower the day after the procedure. You will be able to return to a nonjarring, noncontact exercise routine within a day or two.

But here's the real skinny on getting the best results. If you're in your 20s and may have an inherited body type leading to belly fat, you'll probably only need to liposuction your lower abdomen. If you're in your 30s and beyond, however, Dr. Narins advises that you consider having liposuction on both your upper and lower abdomen at the same time. She recommends a "3-D" liposuction that takes fat from the upper and lower abdomen, as well as from the front and back of the waist and hips.

"This provides ideal contouring," she explains, "and creates a truly dramatic difference."

IDEAL CANDIDATE who is the ideal candidate for tummy liposuction?

"Ninety-five percent of people who are within 20 to 30 pounds of their ideal weight are usually good candidates," Dr. Narins explains. "Liposuction is a terrific technique for contouring the body, but it is not meant as an alternative to dieting and losing weight. Therefore, it is not meant as a solution for people who are obese."

Similarly, she explains that for individuals who have lost a lot of weight and have skin or muscle that is too loose around the abdomen, a surgical alternative called a tummy tuck may be preferable. This procedure will remove the loose skin and help give the body a tighter, more attractive look.

An interesting note - Dr. Narins explains that if you weigh more than 20 pounds over your ideal weight going into a tummy liposuction, you would be well served to lose 10 pounds after the procedure.

"Since fat cells are removed during liposuction, you don't want fat cells in other parts of the body to compensate by filling up with more fat."

"Tummy liposuction gives you a wonderful boost," Dr. Narins says. "Immediately after the procedure you will look 70 to 75 percent improved, at six months you will have 95 percent improvement, and it's ongoing. You may see subtle changes up to two years after the procedure."

How great is that for a boost in your self-confidence!