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What is Liposuction?

Liposuction is a body contouring procedure that involves the removal of localized fat collections by gentle aspiration, through small, hidden incisions. Modern liposuction techniques, however, are not merely the removal of unwanted fat through crude mechanical destruction and suction, but the simultaneous liquefaction and gentle removal of fat as well as the contraction of overlying soft tissue. With more traditional techniques, commonly known as tumescent cannula liposuction, a very dilute local anaesthetic was inserted into the fat to render it “frozen.” Then, a small, blunt-tipped micro-cannula was inserted under the skin into the area to be treated and the fat was removed by traumatic suction. While these old-fashioned techniques were successful in the removal of fat, patients would often complain of bruising, swelling, and pain in the early post-op period and uneven skin or skin laxity over time.

The goal of modern liposuction, as pioneered by Dr. Mulholland and SpaMedica in Toronto, is the use of energy-assisted devices that heat, liquefy, and coagulate the fat just prior to its aspiration and removal. Our cutting edge techniques make the removal of fat in its liquefied state a gentler process with less bruising, swelling and pain than ever before. Even more importantly than improved recovery, the use of heat energy provides a very strong internal soft tissue contraction. These “energy based liposuction” procedures are named in accordance with the energy they harness: BodyTite (radiofrequency energy); SmartLipo (laser energy); and VaserLipo (ultrasound energy). Dr. Mulholland teaches his energy assisted techniques worldwide, has authored numerous articles, and himself coined the use of heat in energy-assisted liposuction!

The use of energy-based devices to heat up soft tissue and stimulate skin tightening ultimately leads to contraction and an enhanced skin tone, making it an option even for patients with a compromised skin tone and laxity, either due to age, childbirth, or drastic changes in weight. Modern liposuction methods, coined by Dr. Mulholland as energy-assisted liposuction, is thus the application of energy just prior to the removal of fat in order to liquefy, coagulate, and easily remove it, all while inducing a contraction of the overlying soft tissue to ensure smooth, tight contours. The new “gentle era” of energy-assisted liposuction has made the experience much less painful for patients and has allowed for up to 35% contraction of treated areas. Whereas in the past, a tummy tuck, arm lift, thigh lift or neck lift might have been necessary, today small minimal-incision, minimally invasive, energy-assisted liposuction can be performed with excellent results.

Before and After Liposuction

Who is a Good Candidate for Liposuction?

The best candidates are those prospective Toronto patients who have unwanted depositions of fat that detract from their ideal shape and contour and have tried their best at diet and exercise to modify their shape and figure. Good candidates are healthy, without uncontrolled illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease or hypertension. Contraindications to liposuction include anyone who is unrealistic about the shape and figure they can achieve, are medically unwell, excessively overweight, have excessively loose and damaged skin, or have a pacemaker. Pregnant patients are also ineligible.

Why Choose SpaMedica and Dr. Mulholland for your Liposuction?

Liposuction is an art, and it meets science beautifully with the application of energy-assisted devices. Using energy-assisted devices is a highly specialized skill, and one that Dr. Mulholland pioneered. He helped develop the radiofrequency BodyTite™, SmartLipo™, and VASERLipo™ procedures and teaches hundreds of physicians from around the world. He has more combined energy-assisted device experience than any other physician in Canada and is sought by patients worldwide for lipocontouring procedures. Choosing Dr. Mulholland at SpaMedica in Toronto means getting one of the foremost experts in the world in advanced modern liposuction. Additionally, the SpaMedica team is well-known for their service experience, care, and attention to your pre and postoperative needs.

How does Liposuction work?

What are the different types of liposuction?

The forms of energy-assisted liposuction that Dr. Mulholland has helped develop and teach include VASERLipo™, SmartLipo™,  and BodyTite™.  Dr. Mulholland is a worldwide expert in these modern forms of energy assisted liposuction and has taught his BodyTite treatment to luminary surgeons from around the world. He is also the author of the authoritative BodyTite Text Book.

VaserLipo™ (ultrasound energy) involves the release of ultrasonic energy through a small probe and into the fat. The ultrasound waves gently vibrate and implode the fat cell, creating a soft, liquefied, milkshake-like substance. Once the ultrasound has liquefied the fat, Dr. Mulholland uses a very small, blunt-tipped microcannula to gently aspirate and remove the liquefied fat from the unwanted localized areas of excess. The real advantage of VASERLipo™ is its gentle nature and its ability to preserve the fat for possible fat grafting procedures following the liposuction.

Many patients wish to remove fat from the areas of excess localized collection, and transplant it to other areas, such as with a Brazilian butt lift, fat grafting breast augmentation, and facial fat transplantation. Since the gentle VASER ultrasound energy does not kill fat cells, merely loosening them for removal, they still remain viable for transplantation. The weakness of VASERLipo™ is that it does not provide significant soft tissue contraction, so other energy-assisted devices must be used post VASERlipo to ensure the suitability of the skin and soft tissue.

SmartLipo™ (laser energy) uses a small laser probe to emit laser energy directly into the fat, prior to aspiration. This coagulates and liquefies the fat, and closes off small blood vessels to minimize bruising. The liquification of the fat via laser facilitates easy aspiration with a microcannula. The advantages of SmartLipo™ over VASERLipo™ are that the heat generated will lead to a simultaneous contraction and tightening of the skin, allowing for quality body contouring and skin tightening effects. Studies have shown that 6-12 months post SmartLipo, up to 17% contraction of the treated skin can occur, as well as a 25% improvement in elasticity. SmartLipo contraction minimizes the risks of irregularities and laxity, and optimizes the ability of patients to avoid more invasive incisional procedures like tummy tucks, arm lifts, thigh lifts, and neck lifts.

The world’s most popular energy-assisted liposuction device is BodyTite. Dr. Mulholland is well known as the innovator and pioneer of the BodyTite™ procedure. It uses radiofrequency electrical current waves to coagulate and liquefy the fat and the blood vessels, minimizing post-operative pain, bruising, and swelling. The electrical current waves, much like an internal Thermage® and internal Venus Freeze, cause a radiofrequency contraction of the soft tissue up to 35%, help deliver great contouring results, even for patients with moderately compromised skin. BodyTite™ can be used to contour the abdomen, arms, necks, inner thighs, and other areas where laxity may occur.

What areas can you get liposuction?

For women, the most common areas to have liposuction performed with energy-assisted devices include the abdomen, love handles, flanks, bra line, outer thigh, inner thigh, inner knees, neck, and jawline and, rarely, the calves and ankles. For men, the most common areas include unwanted breast tissue—called gynecomastia—as well as love handles and double chins.

What kind of results can you expect from liposuction?

Patients can expect a very significant, pleasing result in their contour and shape. These results are longterm. The focus of Dr. Mulholland’s patients should be on improvements in body shape and form rather than on weight. Your reduction will be measured in centimeters, rather than kilograms or pounds. Naturally, since fat is removed, there will be some weight loss, but the focus here is on inches and your contour, not on kilograms and pounds.

How long does it take to recover from liposuction?

Modern liposuction using energy-assisted devices such as SmartLipo™, BodyTite™ and VASERLipo™ are associated with a very rapid recovery. It is common for individuals to undergo moderate sized multiple-area liposuction and return to very light, sedentary work the following day. It is usually recommended, however, that patients take 2-3 days off post procedure to allow for rest and recovery. The more zones you have treated, the more stiffness and discomfort you may have and you might consider a full week off work. Patients with sedentary jobs can go back to work sooner than patients with more demanding physical jobs.

Patients will wear a high-tech, Spandex-like, Lycra-type of compression garment post op as well—22 hours a day for 3 weeks. The garment is used to “shrink-wrap” the overlying soft tissue, controlling the skin’s position while it heals in the ideal shape, location and contours. Liposuction garments provide comfortable support during the healing process.

Is liposuction painful?

Modern liposuction uses energy-assisted devices to pre-coagulate and liquefy the fat, which makes it very easy to aspirate—so the procedures a gentle one. In peer-reviewed medical studies, VASERLipo™, SmartLipo™, and BodyTite™ have been shown to be far less painful and cause far less discomfort, bruising, and swelling post procedure, than old-fashioned liposuction techniques.

Will there be a need for a drain in any of my liposuction areas?

A small, flexible, rubber-silicone drain is usually necessary following liposuction surgery to the abdomen and is used to remove lymphatic fluid, until the skin can adhere adequately to the underlying rectus abdominis muscle, thus reducing the risk of lymphatic fluid collection and swelling, also known as a seroma. A seroma, once it has occurred must be drained, similar to “water on the knee,” with weekly needle insertions and seroma fluid removal. A seroma, once established, can be difficult to treat and can compromise a smooth and attractive soft tissue contour.

The drain works to create negative vacuum pressure under the skin, helping to hold the skin firmly and stably in place and works to drain excess fluid through small holes on its side. It empties into a small grenade-shaped bulb, which is easy to self-manage by the patient. All patients are shown how to monitor the drainage amount and empty the drain daily. The most common area which may require a small drain is the abdomen. In general, most drains are removed after 3 days recorded with less than 30 mils of drainage per day. The removal of the drain is simple and relatively painless.

Can I shower with a drain in?

You may shower with a drain in, however be sure to wash your hands before touching your incision or the drain. Cleanse the area around the drain gently in the shower with a mild soap and rinse well. Avoid bathing in a tub when you have an incision that has not completely healed or a drain in place unless otherwise instructed. Take the time to inspect the area around the drain for signs of infection, just as you would a normal surgical incision.

What You Need to Know Before Getting Liposuction

How long will the results of my liposuction last?

The results of your liposuction will be lifelong. The fat that is removed will not return. It is very important to achieve weight maintenance after the procedure and stay within 5-10 pounds of your post liposuction weight to ensure permanent contour and figure enhancements. Excessive weight gain following your procedure will result in the accumulation of fat, not to the treated area, but to other areas where you would not traditionally have collected fat.

How can I best protect my liposuction results?

The best way to protect your results are to maintain your post liposuction body weight by eating well and exercising to optimize your underlying muscle contours. In addition, ensure that you adhere to recommended radiofrequency treatments such as Venus Freeze, BodyFX, and Excilis to ensure optimal skin tightening. As well, any fat destruction technologies that are recommended following your liposuction surgery to improved contour should be performed. Improvements to your contour will be permanent, as long as you maintain your weight so as not to cause swelling or enlargement in residual fat cells.

Is there any maintenance required following my liposuction?

There is no maintenance required for the fat that has been removed, as it is permanently gone. However, skin-tightening treatments, such as bulk heating radiofrequency devices like Venus Freeze, Exilis®, the VASERShape™, and Forma™ or BodyFX are a good form of maintenance that can be deployed throughout your post-operative program to ensure optimal skin contraction and tightness. Once your series of post-op treatments have been completed, Dr. Mulholland will recommend a single treatment every 3 months to maintain skin tautness, elasticity and contour.

Can secondary or repeat liposuction be performed?

Repeat or secondary liposuction can be performed occasionally to enhance your contour in the 1-2% of cases where there may be a small amount of residual extra fat, or in scenarios where the patient puts on a little weight a few years after their original liposuction.

How long will the results of my tighter skin last after energy-assisted modern liposuction?

SmartLipo™ can induce 17% area contraction. With BodyTite™, up to 35% soft tissue contraction occurs through the vertical fibres in the fat called the fibroseptal network. Dr. Mulholland often combines these procedures together with VASERLIPO™ to give you the most outstanding results that modern liposuction can deliver. However, as you age, degree of skin laxity may inevitably occur in areas which were previously contoured. In order to enhance and maintain the 35% area contraction that you achieve, Dr. Mulholland will often include post-operative bulk heating radiofrequency treatments to help his Toronto Liposuction patients protect their investment. These gentle outpatient, no downtime, painless, bulk heating RF treatments are performed starting in the sixth week following your liposuction procedure, with following treatments occurring once every 3-4 weeks, for 6 sessions. The bulk radioheating frequency devices deployed include such devices as the Venus Freeze, the Exilis™, BodyFX, and Forma Plus, and help to maintain the increased collagen content and elasticity in your skin thanks to your energy-assisted liposuction procedure. These follow-up procedures work to improve and protect your post liposuction skin tone for many years.

What if I have small asymmetries or contour irregularities following my liposuction?

Dr. Mulholland has overseen 20 years worth of advanced energy-assisted liposuction procedures, and after 2000 individual liposuction cases, he is extremely skilled at creating pleasing contours post surgery. However, in the uncommon event that there are small contour irregularities or asymmetries, patients will be offered a complementary series of nonsurgical body sculpting technology treatments, such as CoolSculpting, SculpSure, Vanquish, BodyFX, and/or UltraShape at SpaMedica in Toronto. Nonsurgical body contouring programs begin between 8-12 weeks post surgery. Prior to this, your skin will be too sensitive to proceed. If, after a series of nonsurgical body sculpting treatments you still have areas of slight asymmetry or irregularity, enhancement liposuction may be considered. Enhancement liposuction is not offered until at least a year has passed post surgery. The risk of not liking your liposuction contour improvements in Dr. Mulholland’s liposuction practice is extremely low, and the enhancement rate for those that have good results but desire a slight improvement is between 3-5%. Most patients who undergo our enhancement liposuction procedures go from happy to very happy!

When will my skin sensation return to normal following liposuction?

It is completely normal and expected to have a moderate to significant decrease in the sensation of the skin overlying any areas recently treated with liposuction. The sensory nerves that are traumatized from the liposuction process take some time to recover. In general, a full return of sensation takes 12-24 weeks. There’s generally nothing that can be done to speed up this return of sensory awareness to the skin, however aggressive massage, aka desensitization can help minimize or prevent hypersensitivity from occurring.

Decreased skin sensation can sometimes give patients a sense of uncertainty or instability and sense that the skin may somehow become detached from, or fall off their body and underlying musculature. It is for this reason that many patients continue to wear a supportive garment for many weeks following the mandatory 6-week period, as it provides a sense of proprioception and security for skin that feels numb and detached from the body. Eventually, the sensation returns and sensitivity vanishes, as normal sensory awareness returns to the skin.

What You Need to Know After Getting Liposuction

Is it dangerous to have liposuction done on more than one area of unwanted fat?

The risks associated with liposuction are very low when performed safely and effectively by a certified surgeon, and multiple liposuction zones can also be treated without danger. IV fluids must be administrated, which match the amount of fat taken, and patients need to be properly monitored during and after the procedure. Precautions must be followed to protect against blood clots and infections, although they are very rare. If you are having multiple areas of liposuction performed and the total of the fat removed exceeds a certain limit, you will be kept overnight, monitored, and treated with fluids, circumferential sequential compression devices, and blood thinners until the following day.

Liposuction is the most common cosmetic procedure performed in North America, with over one million procedures undergone each year. The risk of a serious complication is extremely low, especially when all the safety precautions and monitoring policies are in place and you have a surgeon like Dr Mulholland with 20+ years of safe, effective and reputable experience to draw from.

When can I go into a pool, lake, or ocean after my liposuction?

Patients can expose their liposuction port scars and liposuction treated skin to chlorinated pools, lakes, and ocean water at approximately 4 weeks post procedure, or when the sutures have been removed from the aspiration ports and your physician says the ports are completely sealed to the external environment.

When can I resume sun tanning after liposuction?

Most patients can resume sun tanning post liposuction after 6-8 weeks. Caution must be exercised when exposing recently treated areas and/or port scars to UV light, as bruises and early scar tissue can become hyperpigmented when exposed to ultraviolet light too early following an operative procedure. After 6-8 weeks, exposure to the sun can usually occur without complications but a strong sunblock should be used on your skin and titanium dioxide should be applied to any scars.

When can I exercise after my liposuction?

Patients can usually return to low-impact activities such as walking, stair climbing, and ellipticals within 1-2 days. Return to high-impact activities such as jogging, running, aggressive weight training, and activities such as hot yoga and stretching should wait 4-6 weeks.

What if I lose a lot of weight after liposuction?

Keeping your weight within 5-10 pounds of your liposuction surgery weight is recommended to maintain a permanent and consistent improvement in your shape and contour. Try focusing on exercises that burn fat. Interval training is said to be good for increasing metabolism and keeping the fat off. Muscle toning activities like leg lifts, push-ups, and crunches will also help to emphasize your new contours.

What if I put on weight following liposuction?

Liposuction permanently removes a large number of fat cells and adipose tissue in the improved areas. However, some fat cells still remain, and these are still responsive to increased caloric intake. Therefore, weight maintenance is recommended following the procedure. If you gain significant amounts of weight after liposuction (i.e. more than 30 pounds), the excess calories will go to the adipose cells, both in the areas where liposuction was performed and in non-treated zones. This will compromise your contouring results. Therefore, keeping your weight within 5-10 pounds of your post liposuction surgery weight is recommended to properly maintain your results.

When can I resume sexual intimacy and sexual relations after liposuction?

Low impact physical activities such as stair climbers and stationary bikes can usually be resumed after 3 weeks. Similarly, low-impact intimacy and sexual relations can usually be resumed around the same time. However, time is required to allow for a full and proper adherence of the post liposuction soft tissue envelope to the underlying muscle anatomy. High-impact activity such as running, jogging, and therefore high-impact sexual activity should be avoided for approximately 6 weeks to avoid a seroma or skin adherence complication.

Liposuction Toronto Testimonials

Dr. Mulholland has demonstrated his energy-assisted liposuction techniques such as SmartLipo™, VASERLipo™, and BodyTite™ radiofrequency-assisted liposuction on multiple TV shows and in many published articles. The vast majority of patients at our Toronto clinic are extremely happy with their body contouring results because they understand that no amount of dieting or exercise can, reduce unwanted bulges and contours such as pots, bra lines, love handles, saddlebags, bat wings, and inner thigh or knee fat in such a targeted fashion. Patients at SpaMedica in Toronto are also particularly satisfied with their soft tissue contraction results post fat removal, which ensure the best and tightest shapely figure enhancements.

Your liposuction journey can begin today. Simply direct your inquiries to our clinical staff. Schedule an appointment with us online by filling in the form on your right or call today.

Since 1997
One of Canada’s oldest, most reputable cosmetic plastic surgery centers.
SpaMedica in Toronto, headed by Dr. Stephen Mulholland, has been expertly treating Toronto patients since 1997. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Mulholland or the SpaMedica team.
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