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Whether due to aging, lifestyle or genetics, the accumulation of fat is a natural part of life. However, sometimes stubborn pockets of fat develop that are difficult to get rid of. Over the years, countless diet and workout trends have emerged to help target the biggest trouble spots, but these solutions don’t always seem to work. As a result, many people turn to liposuction to achieve their fitness goals and improve how they feel about their body contours.

Liposuction consistently ranks as one of the most popular surgical procedures performed worldwide, and it’s easy to see why. It offers a permanent and effective solution for eliminating unwanted fat around the hips, waist, thighs, abdomen and more. Since liposuction was first pioneered in the 1970s, it has only continued to improve and evolve. Now, patients can receive even better results with less downtime using modern techniques.

At Plastic Surgery Austin, we’re proud to offer various types of liposuction for men and women who want to eliminate stubborn pockets of fat and achieve slimmer, more flattering contours. Dr. Sharma is well versed in tumescent liposuction, power-assisted liposuction and ultrasound-assisted liposuction (VASER), each of which can be personalized to your needs for truly outstanding results. If you’re a resident of Austin or one of the surrounding communities and are interested in learning more about these procedures, contact or call our office today at 512-838-3658 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Sanjay Sharma.

Liposuction Quick Links

    1. What is Liposuction?
    2. Liposuction Options

a.Tumescent Liposuction
b.Power-Assisted Liposuction
c.VASER Liposuction

    1. Ideal Candidates for Liposuction
    2. What to Expect During Your Procedure

a.Tumescent Liposuction
b.Power-Assisted Liposuction
c.VASER Liposuction

    1. Liposuction Recovery

a.Tumescent Liposuction
b.Power-Assisted Liposuction
c.VASER Liposuction

    1. Liposuction Results

a.Tumescent Liposuction
b.Power-Assisted Liposuction
c.VASER Liposuction

  1. Schedule a Consultation
  2. Frequently Asked Questions

What is Liposuction?

Liposuction, also known as liposculpture, is a body contouring procedure that permanently removes stubborn fat. Earlier forms of this procedure simply used a tube-like tool called a cannula to suction out unwanted fat cells, but surgical techniques have evolved significantly throughout the years to provide safer and more consistent outcomes. Today, liposuction can be used to treat nearly any area of the body, making it one of the most versatile procedures for sculpting a more flattering figure. Multiple regions can be addressed in a single operation and it can be combined with other cosmetic procedures for highly personalized results. To give his Austin patients the most flexibility in customizing their treatments, Dr. Sharma offers a variety of modern liposuction techniques that suit a range of individual preferences, including tumescent, VASER and power-assisted liposuction.

Liposuction Options

Dr. Sharma offers the following liposuction techniques so that he can directly address the body contouring needs of each patient. During your consultation, he can help determine which procedure is right for you based on the areas being treated, the amount of fat to be removed and the kind of results you hope to achieve.

Tumescent Liposuction

Tumescent liposuction is an improvement on the original technique. It involves first infusing the treatment area with a tumescent fluid, which contains a mixture of saline, lidocaine and epinephrine. This solution causes the fat cells to swell and makes them easier to remove, resulting in less trauma to the surrounding tissues. It also reduces the amount of bleeding that occurs during and after surgery. Overall, this process (also called the wet technique) is safer and more comfortable for the patient. Additionally, it tends to produce a superior outcome compared to traditional forms of liposuction that are rarely still performed today.

Power-Assisted Liposuction (PAL)

Power-assisted liposuction is an advanced technique that is similar to other liposuction procedures, but it uses a vibrating-tipped cannula to dislodge and eliminate unwanted fat cells. The addition of mechanical vibration aids in the fat removal process by making it easier to extract, so power-assisted liposuction is faster and more efficient than traditional techniques. As with all forms of liposuction, it can be used almost anywhere on the body to target common problem areas such as the abdomen, hips, thighs, arms, legs and buttocks.

Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction (VASER)

Also known as VASER, ultrasound-assisted liposuction is an innovative approach that takes body contouring to an entirely different level. It utilizes a specialized probe that first delivers ultrasound energy into treatment areas, liquefying fat calls so they can be easily removed. Then, a small diameter cannula is inserted beneath the skin to suction out the fat with minimal harm to the surrounding tissues. Compared to other techniques, VASER liposuction allows for more precision, so it can be effectively used on even small areas like the chin and neck. It is also the preferred method for contouring larger areas that require advanced sculpting capabilities, such as the breasts and abdomen.

Ideal Candidates for Liposuction

Liposuction is a great choice for both men and women looking to improve their figure and eliminate unwanted fat deposits. While this procedure is designed for fat reduction, it’s important to remember that it is not a weight-loss treatment, nor can it replace a healthy lifestyle. In fact, no matter which liposuction technique is used, patients should be within their target weight range and have good skin elasticity for the best results. The ideal liposuction candidate would be someone with a BMI of 30 or less who is seeking to treat no more than 4% of their body weight. Most people who seek this treatment are in relatively good shape but have trouble achieving their fitness goals due to stubborn fat that doesn’t respond to diet or exercise. Other factors that make someone an ideal candidate for liposuction include:

  • Good overall health
  • A desire to permanently eliminate fat in treatable areas
  • Firm skin with minimal sagging
  • Stable weight with a healthy BMI
  • An understanding that liposuction isn’t a weight-loss procedure
  • The ability to maintain lasting results with diet and exercise

The most commonly treated areas with liposuction include the stomach, hips, thighs, waist, buttocks, flanks, arms and back, but some techniques can target more delicate areas such as the face, chin and knees. Different approaches may also be recommended depending on your concerns. For example, ultrasound-assisted liposuction is frequently used to treat gynecomastia, a condition in which male breast tissue develops excessively.

During your consultation, Dr. Sharma will evaluate your concerns to determine which technique will best help you achieve your goals. If you have other issues you’d like to address, such as excess skin due to weight loss, he may also recommend including a surgical body lift to ensure the best results. Liposuction can also be combined with breast procedures, a tummy tuck and other cosmetic surgeries for a complete mommy or daddy makeover.

What to Expect During Your Procedure

The liposuction process will depend in part on which technique is used, although it is always done as an outpatient treatment. In the majority of cases, the procedure can be done using local anesthesia with IV sedation, but general anesthesia may be preferred for more extensive treatments. Dr. Sharma will review the steps of your procedure in detail during the consultation process to ensure that you feel comfortable and confident moving forward.

Tumescent Liposuction

Tumescent liposuction is performed under general or local anesthesia, depending on your treatment. First, a sterile tumescent solution is administered to numb the area and provide a more comfortable experience. Dr. Sharma also uses tumescent fluids for other types of liposuction to ensure the best results, including power-assisted and VASER liposuction.

After the sterile solution has been infused into the treatment area, Dr. Sharma will make tiny incisions to insert a cannula into the fat deposits. This specialized tube will be moved back and forth to dislodge unwanted fat cells. Other techniques will use mechanical vibrations or ultrasound energy to aid in this process. Once the cells have been loosened, they are suctioned away using a vacuum device attached to the cannula. The incisions will then be closed with either sutures or surgical tape, depending on their size and location.

Power-Assisted Liposuction (PAL)

The process for power-assisted liposuction is similar to other liposuction procedures. It starts with the administration of anesthesia and a tumescent solution, which helps reduce bleeding and makes fat cells easier to remove. Then, Dr. Sharma will make a small incision in the treatment areas and insert the vibrating cannula beneath the skin, guiding it into the underlying layer of fat. Once in place, the oscillation from the tool will break up and dislodge unwanted fat cells, which are then suctioned out. Each area takes less than an hour to complete, but this can vary depending on your unique needs, goals and physiology.

During treatment, Dr. Sharma takes great care to avoid contour irregularities by smoothing out any remaining fat deposits to ensure optimal results. After a sufficient amount of fat has been removed, he will close the incisions with sutures or tape. If your surgical plan includes other body contouring treatments, these may be performed at the same time as your liposuction or scheduled for a later date, depending on the extent of correction needed.

Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction (VASER)

VASER liposuction is also performed using either local or general anesthesia. Which type of anesthesia is used depends on factors such as the size and number of your treatment areas and the amount of fat being removed. Your VASER liposuction procedure will begin with Dr. Sharma injecting a tumescent fluid into the target area. This solution expands the fat cells, numbs the treatment site and shrinks the surrounding blood vessels to reduce bruising and blood loss. Dr. Sharma will then create a small incision through which the VASER liposuction probe is inserted. This probe emits ultrasound vibrations that displace and liquefy unwanted fat for easier removal with minimal harm to nearby blood vessels, nerves and other tissues. To achieve the maximum benefit, Dr. Sharma moves the ultrasound probe back and forth in a pattern akin to playing the violin, consistently displacing the targeted fat cells.

Next, Dr. Sharma will take out the VASER ultrasound probe and insert a small, suctioning cannula that removes the liquefied fat and tumescent solution. Some fluid will remain, which will continue to numb the area for up to 24 hours. Once your ideal contours have been sculpted, the incisions are then closed. Surgical drains are typically put into place to eliminate excess fluids, but these will be removed at your follow-up appointment. For most patients, VASER liposuction usually lasts one hour per treatment area, but it can take up to four hours to complete for those requiring more extensive fat removal.

Liposuction Recovery

Modern liposuction techniques involve less recovery and downtime than earlier forms of the procedure, but you’ll still need to take a few days off from daily activities. Here’s what you can expect during the recovery process, depending on which type of liposuction you received.

Tumescent Liposuction

Recovery from tumescent liposuction is usually quick compared to other surgical procedures, but it may take longer than more advanced techniques that use vibration or ultrasound energy to make fat cells easier to remove. Still, the process is significantly easier than traditional forms of treatment that don’t use a tumescent fluid to reduce tissue trauma.

Generally, you can expect a few days of downtime to deal with side effects like bruising, bleeding or swelling. You may also feel some pain and soreness in treated areas, but Dr. Sharma will prescribe medication to keep you comfortable. He will recommend compression garments to improve healing and enhance your results. Most patients are ready to return to regular activities within a week after tumescent liposuction, and even sooner if other techniques are used. Strenuous exercise should still be avoided for about two weeks to prevent complications and ensure that the body recovers properly from the procedure.

Power-Assisted Liposuction (PAL)

The recovery period after power-assisted liposuction is quicker and more comfortable than other techniques. The vibrating cannula aids in the fat removal process and causes less trauma to surrounding tissues, but you can still expect some bruising, swelling and soreness in treated areas. Dr. Sharma will recommend the appropriate compression garments to wear, which reduce these side effects and encourage the skin to adhere to your new contours. Compression garments are typically worn for six weeks after surgery, and more than one is typically needed to accommodate changes in swelling and laundering. Depending on the extent of your treatment, surgical drains may also be used to eliminate excess fluid.

After the first week, side effects like bruising or swelling will dramatically decrease. Drains and stitches will also be removed around this time. Most patients are ready to return to work and resume their normal routine after a few days, but vigorous exercise may still be restricted for longer to ensure proper healing. Dr. Sharma will check on your recovery progress during a follow-up appointment and advise you on when it’s safe to incorporate strenuous activities back into your daily schedule. He’ll also provide you with detailed aftercare instructions for the best possible outcome and be available to address any questions or concerns you may have.

Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction (VASER)

Much like power-assisted liposuction, the body heals quicker after VASER liposuction with less bruising, bleeding and swelling than other techniques. You will still notice some of these side effects, however they will be less severe and begin to subside within a few days. Surgical drains may be used to help this process, and Dr. Sharma will recommend certain compression garments to promote the best possible outcome. These should be worn constantly for a full 48 hours. After that, they can be removed to shower, but you can expect to continue wearing them for up to six weeks to improve the results of your body contouring.

Compared to other liposuction procedures, most patients feel ready to resume their normal routine much sooner. The typical amount of downtime is four to seven days, but this can vary depending on the extent of your procedure. Strenuous activities will still be restricted for a few weeks to allow the body to heal properly. Dr. Sharma will provide you with a detailed recovery timeline and aftercare instructions to ensure that everything goes smoothly after your surgery.

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Liposuction Results

Each liposuction technique performed by Dr. Sharma can effectively eliminate stubborn deposits of fat and sculpt more flattering body contours. However, your results may differ slightly depending on which procedure you received, as some forms of liposuction are better suited to address specific concerns. Here’s what you can expect.

Tumescent Liposuction

The results of your tumescent liposuction procedure can be seen right after your surgery, but they will improve as side effects like swelling and bruising decrease. Most people notice a dramatic improvement after three to six months, during which time your final contours will emerge. These results will be permanent but are best maintained with a balanced diet and regular exercise. As for scarring, the incisions are small and will be barely noticeable once they have healed. Dr. Sharma also takes great care to place them in locations that are easily concealed with clothing to ensure seamless and natural-looking results.

Power-Assisted Liposuction (PAL)

The results of power-assisted liposuction can be seen instantly but will continue to improve in appearance over the next three to six months as swelling diminishes. This treatment gives your surgeon better control for more precise and thorough fat removal, so your results will be highly personalized and complement your natural contours. The cannula used is also smaller for less scarring. Your newly defined, sculpted figure will last for many years to come, as fat cells cannot return once they have been removed. However, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and stable weight following this procedure is of the utmost importance. Weight fluctuations can cause remaining fat cells to expand and may compromise your results.

Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction (VASER)

You will see an improvement in your body contours immediately after surgery, but swelling and bruising will likely obscure your final results for some time. It can take approximately three to six months before you’ll notice a dramatic change, depending on your body’s natural healing rate. Compared to other techniques, VASER liposuction has improved contouring capabilities for highly sculpted results. It also leaves behind less scarring and has a moderate skin tightening effect. Just like other types of liposuction, this outcome will be permanent, but the remaining fat cells can expand in response to drastic weight gain. Therefore, patients are encouraged to lead a healthy lifestyle after treatment to ensure lasting results.

Schedule a Consultation

If stubborn fat is standing in the way of your ideal figure, liposuction at Plastic Surgery Austin can help you achieve your goals. To learn more about this procedure and the different techniques we offer, contact our office today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Sharma, one of Austin’s premier body contouring experts. Give us a call at 512-838-3658 to get started.


Does Liposuction Leave Noticeable Scars?

Although liposuction requires your surgeon to make incisions in the skin, it doesn’t usually result in much scarring. That’s because the incisions are small and strategically placed to limit visibility. Once they heal, your incision lines will be barely noticeable and easily concealed by normal clothing. You can also take steps to further minimize scarring, such as following all aftercare instructions, avoiding sun exposure and using high-quality skin care products.

Is Liposuction Painful?

The liposuction procedure itself isn’t painful, as Dr. Sharma will use either general anesthesia or local anesthesia with IV sedation to keep you comfortable. He will also administer a tumescent solution that numbs the treatment area and makes fat cells easier to remove. However, you may experience some discomfort during the recovery period, but this is easily managed with rest, medication and compression garments that reduce side effects.

How Does Liposuction Compare to Nonsurgical Body Contouring?

Liposuction is considered the gold standard for permanent fat removal. While there are many nonsurgical devices now available that eliminate fat cells with hot or cold temperatures, they may not be as effective at sculpting new contours in particularly stubborn areas. During your consultation, Dr. Sharma can help you explore your treatment options and recommend the best approach for achieving your fitness goals.

Will Liposuction Help Me Lose Weight?

Liposuction can remove pockets of stubborn fat, but it isn’t intended to help patients lose weight, nor will it have a significant impact on the number on your scale. There is also a limit to how much fat can be removed safely without serious side effects. Furthermore, liposuction isn’t intended to replace diet or exercise and works best in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle.

Does Liposuction Tighten the Skin?

Liposuction is great for sculpting a slimmer physique, but it has a minimal effect on the tone or tightness of your skin. If you have significant sagging you’d like to resolve, Dr. Sharma may recommend VASER liposuction instead, which can promote firmer contours by causing the skin to contract. For more severe cases, a surgical body lift may be required to help you achieve your desired results. These procedures can be combined for your benefit.

Can Liposuction Be Combined With Other Procedures?

Absolutely! Body contouring procedures like liposuction can be performed on their own or combined with other surgeries that eliminate excess skin, reduce cellulite or enhance other areas of the body. Common additions to liposuction include breast augmentation, buttock enhancement, tummy tucks or body lift procedures. Dr. Sharma can help you explore your options during your initial consultation and craft a surgical plan tailored to your needs.

How Does Power-Assisted Liposuction Compare to VASER Liposuction?

Power-assisted liposuction uses a vibrating-tipped cannula for easier fat removal. In contrast, VASER uses ultrasound technology to liquefy fat cells instead. This allows for precision sculpting of common problem areas and makes VASER ideal for advanced contouring in the neck, chin, abdomen or breasts. Both power-assisted liposuction and VASER provide superior results compared to more traditional techniques, but Dr. Sharma can help determine which approach is right for you during your initial consultation.


Contact our office to schedule a private consultation with Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, Sanjay K. Sharma, M.D., F.A.C.S.