One of the most sought-after cosmetic procedures worldwide is liposuction. At St. Louis Cosmetic Surgery, we offer a gentle liposuction technique called power-assisted liposuction (PAL) to women and men from Decatur and Champaign, Illinois; Terre Haute, Indiana; and throughout Missouri. This technique uses tiny, rapid vibrations to gently loosen fat cells — making suctioning easier and minimizing trauma to the surrounding tissues.
The technical skill and artistic ability of our board-certified and board-eligible plastic surgeons ensure your liposuction procedure is performed with precision. Request a consultation online or call (636) 530-6161 to set up an evaluation and learn more about our practice.
Before & After Photos
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Before & After Photos
Keep in mind that each patient is unique and your results may vary.
Keep in mind that each patient is unique and your results may vary.
Am I a Good Candidate for Liposuction?
One common misconception about liposuction is that it is intended for weight loss. The surgery is actually intended for patients who are already at or near healthy weights but wish to address areas of unwanted fat that are resistant to diet and exercise. Liposuction is a versatile procedure that’s popular with both men and women, and it can be performed on a variety of areas of the body. These include:
- Flanks (“love handles”)
- Upper arms
- Neck and jawline
Prior to undergoing liposuction, you should have clear, realistic expectations. During your consultation, you and your doctor discuss your areas of primary concern and the results you can expect. Most patients find liposuction to be a very satisfying procedure that offers a long-term solution to their most stubborn “trouble spots.”
Although it is not always the case, power-assisted liposuction can improve the look of cellulite in some patients. However, this is just an ancillary benefit, and cellulite reduction shouldn’t be the sole reason you undergo liposuction.
- Natural, long-lasting results that are never overdone
- Personalized surgical plans
- Honest and comprehensive consultations
- Reduced downtime and comfortable recovery
See more reasons why people choose St. Louis Cosmetic Surgery. View real patient testimonials.
Our Liposuction Techniques
Liposuction uses a thin, hollow tube called a cannula to gently massage and loosen unwanted fat cells, allowing for targeted fat reduction while leaving surrounding tissues unharmed. At St. Louis Cosmetic Surgery, our surgeons use a variety of techniques to reduce surgical time, lessen postoperative discomfort, and provide better results.
Our surgeons prefer power-assisted liposuction (PAL). This variation of traditional liposuction uses a vibrating cannula to loosen fat before it is suctioned away. Because of its small, precise motions, power-assisted liposuction is very effective for treating smaller areas of the body that are often too difficult to sculpt with traditional methods such as the thighs and other areas of the legs.
Traditional Liposuction vs. PAL
Surgeons use multiple techniques to perform liposuction, including PAL. The primary differences between the techniques involve the type of energy used. Traditional liposuction remains a highly effective technique for most patients. PAL is essentially the same procedure as traditional liposuction, but it adds and improves upon the procedure by using a vibrating cannula.
Traditional liposuction requires surgeons to manually break up the fatty tissue by moving the cannula. That results in more bruising and discomfort than with PAL. The vibrating cannula is also more precise, allowing our surgeons to target smaller areas, such as the neck, jawline, and upper arms.
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Depending on the scope of your surgery, you may require general anesthesia or local anesthesia with sedation. The total length of your procedure depends on the areas you’re having treated, but most liposuction procedures don’t exceed a couple of hours.
Your plastic surgeon begins by making several small incisions around the area you wish to target. He then applies a special fluid called tumescent fluid, which causes the targeted fat to swell. It also contains an ingredient called epinephrine that prevents excessive bleeding. The swelling makes the unwanted fat easier to access, break up, and suction away.
Once the tumescent fluid has suitably affected the fat, your surgeon inserts a cannula through the incisions. He relies on the vibrating action of the cannula to loosen fat, leading to more precise, safer results. As the tissue is loosened, the cannula also suctions it out of the body and into a collection canister. As he works, your surgeon takes care to sculpt away just enough fat and create smooth, even results.
Some people who get liposuction also choose to undergo a tummy tuck to help flatten their abdomens or breast augmentation for additional body enhancements. These complementary procedures can be performed at the same time as liposuction for a more significant result. During your consultation, you and your surgeon will discuss the possibility of combining procedures to better suit your needs.
While experiences vary, most liposuction patients are able to return to work within a few days to 1 week. At St. Louis Cosmetic Surgery, our doctors use a rapid recovery approach to ease your recuperation. These special surgical techniques minimize many of the side effects associated with surgery. However, it’s still likely that you’ll experience some temporary bruising and swelling around the treatment area. Soreness and discomfort are usually manageable with prescribed medicines. You may also need to wear a special compression garment to support your body and lessen the chance for excessive swelling while you heal.
After liposuction, patience is key. It can take several months for your results to fully develop, but you’ll likely see a reduction in treated areas soon after your procedure. Our surgeons are known for providing smooth, more pleasing body contours with reduced bulges and localized fat deposits. The fat that is suctioned away during liposuction does not return, but your remaining fat cells can still shrink and enlarge in relation to your lifestyle. For this reason, it’s still important to practice healthy habits after surgery. By eating right and exercising regularly, you can maintain your results.
Frequently Asked Questions
Patients considering liposuction typically have many questions regarding the procedure. Some of the most common ones are answered below:
How long do the results last?
The fat cells that are suctioned away do not return, but remaining fat cells can still expand. It is important to follow a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and good nutritional choices to maintain your results.
Does liposuction treat cellulite?
Although power-assisted liposuction may diminish the appearance of cellulite for a few patients, liposuction is not a cellulite treatment. Cellulite is mostly caused by fibrous bands that pull on the skin from below, rather than by fat, which is why liposuction isn’t typically effective for treating it.
How much fat can be suctioned out during liposuction?
At most, liposuction may safely take 6 to 8 pounds of fat from the body. Patients who want more extensive liposuction may schedule multiple procedures to reduce the risk of complications. A patient who is significantly overweight or obese can consider bariatric surgery, followed by post-weight loss cosmetic surgery.
Will liposuction reduce my post-pregnancy belly fat?
For many women, liposuction alone is an excellent way to reduce the abdominal fat that remains after childbirth. It may be the preferred alternative to a tummy tuck for certain patients. Some patients combine liposuction with other procedures, such as a breast lift with or without implants, for what is known as a mommy makeover.
Are there non-surgical alternatives to liposuction?
Yes. Some men and women who desire a slimmer waistline or toned thighs who are reluctant to take the time needed for surgery may not need liposuction. A treatment such as CoolSculpting® is clinically proven to reduce fat in areas such as the flanks and thighs — without surgery.1 We can evaluate your body and determine which option would best suit your needs.
1 Nils Krueger, Sophia V Mai, Stefanie Luebberding, and Neil S Sadick, Cryolipolysis for noninvasive body contouring: clinical efficacy and patient satisfaction, Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2014; 7: 201-205. Published online 2014 Jun 26. doi: 10.2147/CCID.S44371https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4079633/Back to Top