Areas of stubborn fat can be especially frustrating for men and women who are striving for smoother, leaner body contours. For these individuals, liposuction can break down and suction pockets of superficial fat from nearly anywhere on the body, providing an effective method for reshaping the figure. Our plastic surgeon, John M. Sarbak, MD, has undergone extensive training in various liposuction approaches and has nearly 20 years of experience utilizing both tumescent and ultrasound-assisted liposuction systems to create optimal cosmetic outcomes for his patients. As with all surgical procedures, Dr. Sarbak emphasizes natural-looking results achieved through ethical practices designed to protect patient safety.
If you are considering liposuction to target areas of excess fat, we encourage you to review the helpful information provided on this page and contact our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Sarbak.
What is Liposuction?
Liposuction is a procedure designed to remove excess fatty tissue (from between the skin and the underlying muscle layer) and resculpt contours through tiny incisions in the skin. Dr. Sarbak’s approach to liposuction is focused around the idea that the final result is not really determined by what’s removed, but what’s left behind. His expert skill and artistry in liposuction allow him to recontour problem areas for optimal aesthetics. Some of the most common areas Dr. Sarbak treats with liposuction can include:
- Flanks (love handles)
- Mid-back (bra fat)
- Lower back
- Upper arms
- Above the knee
Liposuction Methods We Offer
At our practice, Dr. Sarbak utilizes both conventional tumescent and internal ultrasound-assisted approaches to liposuction. VASERlipo® is our internal ultrasound device of choice, and Dr. Sarbak has been performing liposuction with internal ultrasound since 1999. Ultrasonic liposuction was designed to make the process of fatty tissue removal more efficient. The vibrations created from an internal ultrasound device actually cause the fat cells to rupture, allowing for easier fat removal than with standard vacuuming techniques. This method is inherently less traumatic on the soft tissue and can often lead to decreased recovery times. It is also well suited for treating more fibrous regions such as the lower back and areas with scar tissue from previous surgeries. Ultrasonic energy also provides more of a stimulus for the overlying skin to shrink back into place than with conventional techniques.
You can locate more information from Dr. Sarbak about Liposuction Technology by scrolling to a section found farther down the page.
The Liposuction Procedure
Liposuction can often be performed under local anesthesia for small areas. In general, larger areas are treated under anesthesia (delivered by a board-certified anesthesiologist) providing a more comfortable and controlled setting. Up to four liters of fatty tissue can be removed in one operation in an office-based operating suite (State of Florida Law). If liposuction is combined with any other procedure, the limit is one liter of fat removal. We can and do remove more than four liters in one operation; however, these procedures are scheduled at Indian River Medical Center and usually entail at least one night stay in the hospital.
During the liposuction procedure, small incisions are made around the treatment area to accommodate the width of the liposuction cannula. Dr. Sarbak moves the cannula back and forth throughout the area, breaking up fat and suctioning it away. He is always mindful of creating smooth, even, symmetrical results that can enhance the patient’s natural figure. Once the appropriate volume of fat has been removed, the small incisions are carefully closed with small sutures and the treated area is dressed with a compression bandage.
Recovery After Liposuction
The length of the recovery period after liposuction can vary based on the area treated, the type of liposuction used, and the volume of fat that was removed. Swelling, bruising, and soreness are common within the first phase of healing and typically fade quickly with time. Most of Dr. Sarbak’s patients are able to participate in regular activities between a few days and two weeks after liposuction. Typically patients are instructed to wear compression garments to aid in the healing process. Prior to your procedure, Dr. Sarbak will educate you about what to expect during your recovery and provide thorough post-operative instructions.
Dr. Sarbak Addresses Liposuction Technology
Many different machines have recently been developed to assist in effective fat removal. These include internal ultrasound (VASER®, LySonix®), external ultrasound, mechanical devices (water-assisted liposuction, power-assisted liposuction), internal lasers (Smartlipo Triplex™, SlimLipo™), and external lasers (Zerona®). The choices can be confusing, but all of these devices can be utilized to bring about improvements. However, the single most important determining factor of the overall quality of a patient’s liposuction result is the experience and training of the surgeon performing the procedure, regardless of the device.
No device can compensate for an inadequately trained or inexperienced physician. In fact, when used improperly, many of these advanced devices have potential risks that can exceed those associated with conventional liposuction. As a side-note, many of the above devices are very expensive. In order to be profitable they have to be utilized on large volumes of patients, which are usually accompanied by large advertising campaigns. Over the past five years or so companies worried more about their bottom lines than patient safety have been selling their machines to any medical doctor willing to pay for them. It doesn’t matter to these companies whether that doctor is a dermatologist, eye doctor, ear nose and throat doctor, family practitioner, cardiologist, or plastic surgeon. Many times these companies will push their devices onto non-plastic surgery physicians, because plastic surgeons as a group through our societies (American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery) are still evaluating the safety and efficacy of those devices. Some of them may indeed prove beneficial, but we as plastic surgeons want to make sure that they are safe and effective before offering them to our patients.
Explore liposuction before-and-after photos of Dr. Sarbak’s patients to learn more about the results that are possible with this effective method of body contouring.
*Individual Results May Vary
If you would like to find out if liposuction may be right for you, we encourage you to contact our practice to schedule a consultation with Dr. Sarbak.