Liposuction is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures that removes unwanted fat from the body.
Plastic surgeons perform almost 250,000 liposuction procedures in the US annually to help people near their ideal body weight reduce fat in the abdomen, sides, legs, male chest, arms, chin, and other body parts.
Anyone considering liposuction should have as much information as possible, including the possibility of scarring. Below is more information.
Liposuction And Scarring
Liposuction is surgery that involves making small incisions in the target area. First, the surgeon inserts a thin cannula to remove the undesired fat, then the incisions are closed with sutures.
Anything that makes incisions in the skin can leave a scar, which is true with liposuction incisions. However, it’s rare for there to be significant scars from liposuction.
A skilled plastic surgeon knows how to make the scars as small and unnoticeable as possible. For example, they will often place abdominal liposuction incisions as low as possible so they cannot be seen with clothes on.
After the procedure, your surgeon will have you wear a compression garment over the treatment area. Wearing the garment for four to six weeks will reduce the chances of significant scarring.
In rare cases, a patient may experience hyperpigmentation on surgical scars. For example, one clinical study found that 1.3% of liposuction patients had more noticeable keloid scars. If your family has a history of this issue, you may want to reconsider having liposuction.
Also, keep in mind that your scars will be visible for the first few months. But as the body recovers, the scars will fade in most cases until they are hard to see.
How To Reduce Liposuction Scarring
There are several ways you can reduce the appearance of liposuction scars:
Maintain Your Incisions With Care
Your surgeon will provide instructions after liposuction to ensure your incisions heal well. It’s vital to listen to their advice carefully to decrease scarring risks.
For example, it’s essential to wear your compression garment to make your skin adhere to your new contours. Wearing the garment also will minimize scarring because the constant pressure makes the wounds close fully.
If you are tempted not to wear the compression garment because it’s hot or uncomfortable, remember that it is essential to your healing process.
Use A Skilled Plastic Surgeon
Check that your surgeon has a lot of experience with liposuction. Skilled and experienced liposuction surgeons know how to minimize scarring as much as possible.
Also, ask your surgeon for before-and-after images of previous patients to see how their scars look.
Consider Non-Surgical Options
Liposuction was once the only cosmetic procedure to remove unwanted fat. Today, there are other ways to remove stubborn fat, including CoolSculpting and SculpSure.
Of course, remember that diet and exercise are the most tried-and-true ways to reduce body fat.
How To Reduce Existing Liposuction Scars
Already had liposuction and want to minimize existing scars? Try these methods:
Some several over-the-counter creams and ointments may reduce minor scarring. Most liposuction scars are tiny, so one of these products may do the trick.
Check your local pharmacy for a scar cream that can reduce scar tissue on the skin surface. However, your dermatologist may prescribe a more potent cream that can reduce scarring even more.
This is a soft wound cover you can put over scars. The idea is to hydrate the skin and prevent the body from making too much collagen during the healing process. Scars form from excessive collagen production, so this treatment may make scars less noticeable.
If you have raised scars from liposuction, dermabrasion can smooth the outer skin layer and make the scar less noticeable.
A mild or moderate chemical peel can reduce raised scars, too. The healthcare provider puts a chemical solution over the scar, removed after a set time.
Chemical peels come in many strengths. Your doctor will choose the appropriate chemical peel, which will remove the top or deeper skin layers to reduce scars.
A high-intensity laser can reduce the color, size, and shape of scars.
Scar Removal Risks
You shouldn’t have side effects from over-the-counter products. But the procedures mentioned above can lead to additional problems in some patients:
- Additional scars
- Scarring that gets worse over time
Keep in mind that scarring after liposuction is typical. However, if you are displeased with the appearance of your scars after several months of recovery, talk to your doctor about one of these options.
Most patients do not experience significant scarring from liposuction. This is because the incisions for the cannula are quite small, and skilled surgeons know how to make incisions that scar as little as possible.
However, if you have a history of excessive scarring from other surgeries, you may want to consider different ways to reduce unwanted body fat.
In addition to diet and exercise, there are non-surgical procedures to eliminate body fat, including CoolSculpting and SculpSure. These non-invasive procedures don’t offer the same dramatic results as liposuction, but there is no scarring.
Request a Houston Liposuction Consultation
Interested in liposuction in Houston? Please set up a consultation with Dr. Ashley Steinberg today. She’ll talk to you about the benefits and risks of liposuction to determine if it’s a good fit for your needs.
Liposuction Scarring Clinical Study. (2020). Accessed at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3901919/
Liposuction Overview. (n.d.). Accessed at https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/liposuction/about/pac-20384586
Liposuction Scars. (2021). Accessed at https://www.healthline.com/health/cosmetic-surgery/liposuction-scars