Liposuction, or suction lipectomy, is the surgical procedure which reduces the number of fat cells in a particular area to improve or sculpt a person’s shape. If your self-image is negatively affected by areas of your body that continue to appear out of proportion over time, even though you have tried eating a healthy diet and following a routine exercise program, this procedure may help you achieve the results you desire. Remember though, liposuction is not a generalized diet plan – it can help achieve a more proportionate body shape, however.

Liposuction is ideal for adults who:

  • Are within 30% of their target weight and have good muscle tone and firm, elastic skin
  • Are generally in good health and do not have a life-threatening illness or medical condition that could interfere with the healing process
  • Do not smoke
  • Have a positive outlook and realistic goals for their results

Our individual fat proportions are set at puberty and are genetically determined. If mom had big saddle bags, don't be surprised if you get them too. The good news is that if we remove some of these excess cells in the saddlebags, they are gone forever! If you gain a few pounds you won't re-grow the saddlebags. Your new proportion will be maintained. The fat doesn't “go somewhere else” rather, you add weight according to your new proportion – which is different from the way you previously added weight.

Problem areas that can be addressed with this procedure include:

  • Thighs
  • Hips
  • Buttocks
  • Abdomen and waist
  • Back/flank
  • Arms
  • Legs/knees
  • Face/neck

Liposuction is very effective provided the patient has good skin tone. This will be evaluated at the time of your consultation. If the skin tone isn't adequate after the surgery, then you can get laxity of the skin and a less-than-desirable outcome. This is why it is extremely important to have an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon perform your procedure. There are an increasing number of non-plastic surgeons offering this surgery, and I have seen absolutely disastrous outcomes.

Liposuction is not a substitute for weight loss. It is ideally used for people who have disproportionate areas of fat that can be reduced to improve their shape. I combine this procedure in almost every abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) I perform as well as with many other surgeries. It is an invaluable tool to improve contours.

HydraSolve™ New Technology For Liposuction

In 25 years of private practice of plastic surgery in Indianapolis, I have continually sought out new technologies that can provide better outcomes for my patients. A variety of new methods have come along in the area of liposuction in the 40 years since it was introduced. And recently, I received one of the first units in the U.S. of another new technology for fat removal: HydraSolve by Andrew Technologies. This device uses a unique cannula system that warms and pressurizes an internal flow of saline to draw in the fatty tissue, releases just the fat and preserves the other tissues – nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue – leaving them unharmed. This uses a technology similar to one Dr. Mark Andrew invented to remove cataracts. The advantages of HydraSolve are faster removal of fatty tissue –with less post-operative discomfort and quicker recovery time. There is also research evidence that the fatty tissue removed with HydraSolve is excellent for use in fat grafting. In fact, the FDA recently gave HydraSolve approval for use in fat grafting – the only such device to gain approval.

Here are some common questions and answers about HydraSolve.

Below are examples of liposuction before and after photos. If you would like to see more before and after photos, click the "Photo Gallery" on the left.

SAFELipo® Technique For Liposuction

My standard technique for the past several years is to use a method developed by Dr. Simeon Wall known as SAFELipo to achieve excellent outcomes. The technique involves a three step process using a power assisted hand piece to initially break up the fatty layer mechanically, then suction and finally smooth out and blend the treated area to the surrounding tissues for a smoother overall contour.

Your Consultation

A safe and successful liposuction procedure depends very much upon being completely candid during the consultation. I will want you to come prepared to discuss:

  • Why you want liposuction, your expectations and desired outcome
  • Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
  • Use of current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs
  • Previous surgeries
  • Family disease history

I may also:

  • Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
  • Take photographs for your medical record 
  • Discuss likely outcomes of liposuction and any risks or potential complications 
  • Discuss the use of anesthesia during your procedure

Preparing for Surgery

Prior to your surgery, we may ask you to get lab testing or a medical evaluation, as well take certain medications or adjust your current ones. If you smoke, you will need to quit well in advance. You should also avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements, as they can increase bleeding.

Questions to Ask Your Surgeon

  • Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
  • Were you specifically trained in the field of plastic surgery?
  • How many liposuction surgeries do you perform each year?
  • How many years of plastic surgery training have you had?
  • Where will the procedure be performed? Is it accredited by a nationally- or state-recognized accrediting agency, or is it state-licensed or Medicare-certified?
  • Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
  • How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
  • What are the risks and complications associated with my procedure?
  • What are my options if I am dissatisfied with the cosmetic outcome?
  • Do you have before-and-after photos I can look at for this procedure and what results are reasonable for me?

Things You Should Know About Dr. Van Natta

  • He is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
  • He was trained specifically in the field of plastic surgery with 5 years of general surgery training followed by 2 ½ years of plastic surgery training.
  • He has been in practice for 25 years.
  • Meridian Plastic Surgery Center, his surgical facility, is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency, and it is state-licensed and Medicare-certified.
  • He also has hospital privileges to perform this procedure at St. Vincent Hospital and I.U. North Hospital.

How are complications handled? If you experience a rare complication requiring reoperation, Dr. Van Natta often won’t charge for his services, but you may well have additional expenses for the operating room as well as anesthesia.

Liposuction Blog Article

You may want to review the blog post I have written that outlines the liposuction procedure step-by-step with photo illustrations: