It is normal to have a specific set of wants and desires when considering plastic surgery. Not being able to find a surgeon to meet those goals can be frustrating. It’s your body; you want it to look perfect. Dr. Kao had one such patient named Alexandra who was fed up with surgeons telling her that it was impossible to achieve the breast lift she wanted without extensive scarring. Instead of doing a traditional anchor breast lift and approaching her breast lift from the typical angle, she pushed Dr. Kao to think outside of the box and develop a unique breast lift technique that he named after her—the Alexandra Breast Lift—(mentioned in a previous blog) to provide this patient and others like her with the beautiful breast appearance they want.
Traditional liposuction involves the use of a tube-like tool called a cannula. It is inserted below the surface of the skin through tiny incisions, and moved back and forth to loosen fat cells, which are then suctioned out through the cannula. In my case, I prefer to use VASERlipoTM, which incorporates ultrasound into this process. I invested in this expensive equipment so I could provide better results, and I've got to pay for it. I charge from $2,000 to $4,000 per area using VASERlipoTM, which is several hundred dollars more than surgeons typically charge for traditional liposuction.
When skin is damaged, the body repairs it by creating new collagen fibers, which gives the healing area a different look and texture: a scar. The “mended” skin will be less flexible than the skin around it, and it may have no hair follicles. The scarred skin might be a different color than surrounding skin and the color will change as healing progresses. This is completely natural.
Some doctors may use ultrasound waves to break down fat cells before suctioning them out. However, ultrasound technology can be an effective tool for fat reduction, even when it is not used in conjunction with liposuction. Your doctor will apply an ultrasound device to the treatment area, and the waves will gently break down the cells, allowing your body to rid itself of the fat over a period of time. Ultrasound fat reduction treatments, such as Liposonix®, typically take about an hour and involve no anesthesia or downtime. They can also boost collagen production and improve skin elasticity. However, these treatments typically do not result in as much fat removal as surgical liposuction.
Liposuction is very effective for shaping the abdominal area in men and women. The lower abdomen in particular tends to be resistant to diet and exercise, making even the most fit and active individuals insecure about their appearance. Pregnancy and cesarean births can have a disfiguring effect on the lower abdomen, which diet and exercise cannot correct. Most abdominal fat is located directly beneath the skin and can easily be removed through liposuction procedures. However, fat that is located deep in the abdomen (between the intestines) cannot be removed with liposuction because of the increased risk of severe complications. Abdominal liposuction may be performed in conjunction with a tummy tuck.
Cryoliposlysis is an alternative fat reduction treatment that does have FDA approval. This treatment uses cool temperatures to freeze stubborn fat cells without impacting the surrounding skin or muscle. As the cells crystalize, the body can expel them naturally over a period of several months. To perform this treatment, the doctor will apply cooling panels to the treatment area for about 40 minutes. Like most patients, you will likely find the session relaxing, and you can read or even nap as your fat cells are frozen away. You may enjoy optimal results after just one appointment, or you may benefit from multiple sessions. You should be aware, however, that this treatment is more suited to some areas of the body than others. Doctors typically use cryolipolysis to treat the abdomen, thighs, and hips.
Because each patient has individual nutritional and lifestyle needs, there is no set diet that a person should follow after liposuction. Many patients use liposuction as a way to jump-start a healthier lifestyle, using their physical and financial investment in the procedure as motivation to take better care of their bodies. In general, patients should eat plenty of lean protein, calcium-rich dairy products, fresh produce, and whole grains. They should also increase their water consumption and cut back on processed foods. For more personalized diet advice, patients may want to consider visiting with a nutritionist.

Also known as a vertical lift, this technique requires surgeons to make a keyhole shaped incision on the breast, preserving the nipple but removing any excess skin below it. The areola is then shifted up into its new position, while suturing the skin edges together results in a lollipop shaped scar around the nipple and a vertical line down to the breast crease.


Your comfort with the scars are a very personal aspect of the surgery, but to the extent you are able, I urge you to keep in perspective the lesser importance of the incision pattern. I advise patients never to compromise contour for a lesser scar. I’d argue that it is more important to choose a highly experienced board-certified plastic surgeon who is a specialist in cosmetic surgery of the breast and body. Good luck with your surgical journey!
Cellulite is caused by fat cells pushing through the collagen, the connective tissue directly beneath the skin's surface, causing a dimpled appearance. The appearance of cellulite is not related to the amount of body fat an individual has and is prevalent even in healthy and underweight people. Cellulite is more common in women because men have a tighter collagen mesh pattern beneath their skin. Liposuction can help aid cellulite removal in both men and women, but it is important to remember that there is no permanent "cure" for cellulite. The success of cellulite removal is dependent on many factors, including genetics. Because of this, patients should not expect liposuction to eliminate cellulite from their bodies.
Although the mastopexy procedure is one of the safest and most rewarding plastic surgeries, concern about breast lift scars is natural for women who are considering the procedure. As a woman and a breast surgeon, I have a deep understanding of the mix of emotions that can accompany a breast lift. You’re longing for a return to the high, perky breasts you had in younger years, before major weight loss or prior to pregnancy and breastfeeding. At the same time, you realize any surgery carries risk and excess scarring is one of them. Here we’ll provide expert tips to help you avoid visible breast lift scars.
A technique called "tumescent liposuction" is the most common method for removing fat around the stomach, buttocks, thighs and ankles. It's also considered the safest. "Tumescent" means that large amounts of buffered salt water are injected into fatty tissue beneath the skin. The doctor makes a cut in the fatty area to be treated, then inserts beneath the flesh a strawlike tube called a cannula that is attached to a vacuum. At the end of the cannula is a stiff wand. The doctor moves it back and forth in rapid motions to loosen fat. The procedure takes 45 minutes to two hours, with a recovery time of up to two weeks. The full effect of liposuction is seen six to 12 weeks after the procedure is performed. After the procedure, the area is bandaged and the patient must wear a compression garment for one to two weeks. Pain and bruising may last up to two weeks, and swelling may last for two weeks to two months.
For tumescent liposuction, the most common technique, your doctor will make one or more small (one-quarter inch or less) incisions in the area to be treated and inject a large quantity of a mixture of saline (salt water), local anesthesia, and epinephrine into your tissue. The fluid causes the fat to become swollen, firm, and easier to remove. (It also constricts your blood vessels, which reduces bruising, blood loss, and recovery time.) The surgeon then inserts the cannula through the same incision and passes it back and forth under the skin to break up the fat before suctioning it out. For a very small area, the procedure takes around 30 minutes, while a 360 liposuction—which includes the abdomen, flanks, back, and all around the torso—lasts three to four hours. 
Liposuction is a surgical procedure that removes fat via suction. It’s typically done with a thin tube, called a cannula, attached to a vacuum. No matter how healthy your diet or how often you work out, you can still have pockets of unwanted fat that resist your best efforts. With liposuction, an experienced surgeon can remove fat, contouring your hips, thighs, stomach, abs, waist, chin, or other areas. 

There have been cases of children as young as 12 undergoing liposuction. While this is uncommon, there are rare instances in which a doctor may perform liposuction on a teen, especially after major weight loss that may have left one or two lingering bulges of fat. Generally, a doctor will assess a teenager's emotional maturity and self-esteem before agreeing to perform liposuction. The majority of these patients choose to have one problem area contoured to help with self-esteem issues. Some teens are affected by excess fat under the chin, in the calves, hips, or other areas, and it can be a source of embarrassment and ridicule among peers. In these cases, liposuction can eliminate this fat and produce a more sculpted, toned appearance.
Liposuction can also be used as a form of breast reduction in men, but several important factors must be considered first. The surgeon must determine whether the excess tissue in the breast is fatty or glandular. If the breast is primarily fatty tissue, then liposuction is an excellent method for reducing the size and improving the appearance of the chest.
Certain health conditions may prevent patients from being suitable liposuction candidates. People with chronic ailments such as diabetes and high blood pressure are more likely to achieve less-than-desirable aesthetic results. Individuals who have compromised immune systems and those who suffer from diabetes, poor blood circulation, heart disease, or lung disease should not undergo liposuction, as they could suffer serious health complications. If patients have recently had another surgery in the area they would like to treat, they should wait until the area has healed before considering liposuction.

It may take one to three months for swelling and bruising to subside and up to six months for skin to tighten over the area from which fat has been removed. The finished liposuction results should be visible after six months. Following recovery, patients could enjoy a trimmer figure, more defined muscle tone, reduced cellulite, and a more youthful appearance. Of course, the results are not the same for everyone, but most patients enjoy a huge boost of self-confidence after undergoing liposuction.
To maximize the success of liposuction surgery and minimize your risks, always follow your cosmetic surgeon's instructions for surgical preparation and postoperative care. If you smoke, your cosmetic surgeon will advise you to stop two weeks prior to and following liposuction surgery. You may also choose another avenue for fat removal. There are non-surgical liposuction alternatives available to patients who are not good candidates for liposuction or simply prefer other methods.

Dr. Kao believes that the best results are achieved when the correct procedure is performed on the right patient. The Alexandra Breast Lift can be performed with or without implants and can provide beautiful results on specific patients. However, if you aren’t the right patient for this technique, Dr. Kao will evaluate your needs and develop a treatment plan that works for you. Stay tuned for our next blog on breast lift candidates and the consultation process.
While cost is obviously an important consideration when it comes to liposuction, it is not the most important one. Patients should remember that their health and cosmetic satisfaction are ultimately the top priorities. Choosing an inexperienced doctor to save some money could cost far more in the long run if they require a corrective procedure or if they develop serious health complications.
It is important to choose a doctor who has performed a number of liposuction procedures with good results. Even if a plastic surgeon has a great reputation for tummy tucks or facelifts, if he has firsthand knowledge of liposuction, he is probably not the right choice for your treatment. It is also advantageous to choose a doctor who is trained in dealing with surgical complications. Although the likelihood that you will experience adverse effects is low, selecting a doctor with specialized training in this area can minimize your risks even further.
If a woman has enlarged breasts, they can cause back pain, neck pain, headaches, and poor self-esteem. Liposuction is a more effective and less invasive method of breast reduction than other forms of breast reduction surgery. Using liposuction to remove excess fat has a natural lifting effect on the breast because there is less volume weighing it down.
Disclaimer: Please note, any information on this page is provided to you for educational and/or informational purposes only, and should not be construed as an endorsement of any particular procedure, product or treatment. This information is also not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment by a doctor or other qualified health care professional. For medical concerns, including decisions about any procedure, product or treatment, visitors should always consult with their doctor or other qualified health care professional.

Some surgeons prefer to give prospective patients an itemized list of all the anticipated costs of liposuction. These separate costs might include the surgical fee (money paid to the surgeon for his services), anesthesiologist’s fee, operating room fee, pre-operative laboratory test fees, charges for post-operative elastic compression garments, and possibly prices for antibiotics and other recommended drugs. Sometimes itemized prices are used when the surgeon cannot control all of the related expenses, such as when the lipo surgery is to be done in a hospital operating room with a hospital anesthesiologist. Itemized lipo prices are also used by surgeons who are in the habit of doing multiple unrelated surgical procedures at the same time that the liposuction is done.
With this procedure, a surgeon creates an incision on or around the perimeter of the areola and later a second outer incision to remove the “donut” of skin around it. The nipple is sutured back to the breast skin, tightening it in the process. This method provides more lift than the crescent, but again only a relatively small amount of sagging can be repaired.
Recently I read an article on Medscape from the journal “Wounds” about wound healing problems in Breast Reduction and Breast lift (Mastopexy). The article, Treatment of Wounds Following Breast Reduction and Mastopexy With Subsequent Wound Dehiscence With Charged Polystyrene Microspheres, cited that the use of the Inverted T technique (Wise Pattern) has a 10% wound complication rate. IMO, that is a pretty high complication rate, and it is much higher than the other two techniques, the Vertical Scar and the Benelli technique. In my practice, the wound rate with the other scars is less than 5%.
During the course of a woman’s life, the breasts change in appearance and oftentimes sag. Don’t worry, this is NOT an uncommon condition. In fact, the clinical term for female breasts that sag is called ‘breast ptosis.’ There are many causes of breast ptosis including pregnancy, cigarette smoking, high body mass, gravity and the natural aging process. There are also different degrees of ptosis as shown in the illustration below. Fortunately, breast ptosis can easily be treated with breast lift surgery.

Certain health conditions may prevent patients from being suitable liposuction candidates. People with chronic ailments such as diabetes and high blood pressure are more likely to achieve less-than-desirable aesthetic results. Individuals who have compromised immune systems and those who suffer from diabetes, poor blood circulation, heart disease, or lung disease should not undergo liposuction, as they could suffer serious health complications. If patients have recently had another surgery in the area they would like to treat, they should wait until the area has healed before considering liposuction.

Be very careful!  You are a set up for a bad result.  50% of my revisional patients are people who were just like you and did not want what they NEEDED and ended up making compromises and ended up with terrible results.  The irony is they ended up getting what they NEEDED originally except with more cost and suffering.  You need what you need.  Do not just fill your breast to make up for excess skin. It will look good for a short period of time while it is swollen and then bottom out.  Spend more time looking for a surgeon who gets good results and closes incisions well.  The vertical scar can in many instances become invisible.


Experienced breast surgeons create a personalized surgical strategy just for you in advance of your breast lift. The plan takes into account your specific goals for the breast lift, along with your body size, age, skin tone and elasticity and more. The best breast surgeons never perform a generic breast lift—every procedure should be designed to fit your unique needs and your anatomy.
If you are undergoing general anesthesia, you should not eat or drink anything for at least six hours before surgery. This prevents you from becoming nauseous while you are sedated. When you arrive for liposuction surgery, you will be asked to sign a consent form indicating that you understand the risks, benefits, possible outcomes, and all liposuction alternatives prior to the procedure. Although the methods required to prepare for liposuction can vary doctor to doctor, your physician will likely draw on your skin to mark the areas to be treated, take a "before" picture to compare with your results after liposuction, and provide you with a dressing gown to change into before surgery.
According to the FDA, there are no hard numbers regarding the risk of death from liposuction. While there have been several studies, the results vary significantly. According to one study, there are 3 deaths for every 100,000 liposuction procedures. However, another study indicates that there are as many as 20 to 100 deaths for every 100,000 liposuctions.[1]
There is a basic principle that applies to most cash-pay health care procedures: the more reputable the surgeon, the more surgery will likely cost. A surgeon with considerable experience and recognition in the field of body sculpture can understandably command a higher fee. When you add advanced technology used for the benefit of the patients, this can also drive a price higher. Using lasers and radiofrequency in liposuction has been proven to provide even better results, but this equipment is expensive, and requires special training.
Liposuction of the entire thigh (circumferential liposuction) is not recommended due to an increase in swelling and lengthened recovery time. Rather, liposuction should be performed in a series of surgeries spaced about one month apart. Focusing the procedure on one specific area of the hips allows the lymphatic tissue to drain excess fluids quickly and evenly throughout the thigh, yielding more desirable results in a shorter amount of time. Liposuction of the thighs may be performed with thigh lift surgery.

A: It’s difficult to answer “how much” sensitivity you can expect to lose after breast lift surgery but most patients report that they are able to retain complete or near complete sensation. During the initial postoperative period, there may be a temporary loss or decrease in sensation primarily due to swelling. As the swelling subsides, the sensation will return. There is the potential that you may experience a change in the sensitivity of your nipples and the skin of your breast. On occasion, patients have reported that their nipples are “supersensitive.” In this case desensitization, exercises can be performed to diminish the sensitivity. This involves gently rubbing the nipples with cotton ball and then progressing to a more course material.
If you are looking for the best looking scar, or the smallest scar, that would be the Benelli. This is eventually a ‘hidden scar’ as it will eventually fade into the nipple line. Most patients are also happy with the Vertical Scar as the scar is on the underside of the breast, and not exposed horizontally on the chest wall. In my opinion, the least attractive scar is the Inverted T technique (Wise Pattern), which is really two scars.
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