liposuction birmingham al

Liposuction for Men and Women

Dr. Paul Howard is a real board certified plastic surgeon and the actual surgeon performing ALL PROCEDURES. Dr. Howard does not have associates, non-board certified physicians, or students (residents or fellows) performing any of his procedures.

How does liposuction work?

This procedure is performed using a four millimeter cannula (or small tube) inserted into the skin with suction applied to the cannula to effectively remove unwanted fat.

What areas of the body can be treated with liposuction?

Liposuction is ideal for areas such as the abdomen, love handles, saddle bags, inner/outer thighs and neck. Additionally, back-fat and gynecomastia can also be effectively addressed with liposuction.

What is liposuction recovery?

This procedure is a minimally invasive procedure. Some swelling and bruising can occur, but you will be able to return to work in a few days and resume exercise after 2 weeks. A compression garment such as a "spanx" girdle will be required for approximately two weeks until the swelling has subsided. Lite exercise can be resumed with Dr. Howard's approval after a few days, such as walking on a treadmill. Drinking plenty of water is necessary to help flush out the bruising and swelling.

How long will it take for me to see the results from liposuction?

Liposuction is a procedure that removes unwanted fat immediately, but can take several weeks to begin seeing results due to swelling. Most patients are able to immediately see some result, but will need to wait until the swelling goes away compeletely for the true results which can take up to six months. As long as patients follow Dr. Howard's post-operative instructions and do not return to their bad eating habits, the results should last. Liposuction does not change the body's DNA, it only removes unwanted fat cells. However, the body can still make new fat cells is the patient does not maintain a healthy diet and exercise plan. Liposuction will not prevent you from gaining weight down the road.

What is Lipo 360?

Lipo 360 is liposuction that includes the front and back abdomen. Depending on your specific goals, Lipo 360 may include the buttock area and thighs. Lipo 360 candidates will need to consult with Dr. Howard to determine the specific areas for Lipo 360.

Preparing for Liposuction

Here are a few pointers and recommendations to help your prepare for your liposuction procedure:

Does liposuction work?

Liposuction is designed for removing unwanted fat and to achieve mild skin tightening. The ideal candidate is in good health and normal body weight. Liposuction is not a weight loss program, but rather an ideal procedure to contour the body of unwanted areas of fat that diet and exercise fail to address. To see if you are a candidate for liposuction, please refer to our Body Mass Index (BMI) Chart. Liposuction only removes excess fat, it doesn't remove excess skin. If you think you also have excess skin, you may need a mini or full tummy tuck instead. Liposuction does not magically "shrink" skin either.

Will liposuction leave scars?

Liposuction is performed by making tiny incisions, approximately one centimeter. These tiny incisions heal well and are not noticeable after a few months.

Can liposuction replace a tummy tuck?

No, liposuction only removes unwanted fat. Tummy tuck removes excess skin that won’t shrink back after losing excess fat.

Does liposuction tighten skin?

No, liposuction does not tighten skin, but depends on good skin elasticity to shrink. When fat is removed in areas where the skin is loose or hanging, it will make this area appear worse.

How long do liposuction results last?

That depends on you and how well you maintain your weight. Liposuction does not alter our DNA, so fat cells can still be created. Therefore, you can still gain the fat back if you do not maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle.

How much does liposuction cost

Liposuction cost begins at $4100 depending on how many areas you wish to address.

When is liposuction considered medical necessary?

Liposuction is a cosmetic procedure and is NEVER considered medically necessary by insurance companies. They do not care how we look even if we gained weight as the result of pregnancy or a side effect of medications. There is NO insurance company that covers the cost of liposuction, not even the operating room expense. There is no liposuction or cosmetic fat reduction "laser" covered by insurance. This is not our rule. This is the policy of all medical insurance companies. If you have medical insurance and you do not believe us, please read your insurance policy. There will be a section stating what they do and don't cover.

Can I have my fat stored for future medical stem cell use?

What is Stem Cell Therapy?

Stem cells are like our mother-cells that can become a variety of other types of cells in our body. Medical technology has discovered we can use our own stem cells to treat conditions such as heart attack, stroke, diabetes, cancer, cartilage regeneration, cosmetic rejuvenation, and much more. Doctors are using a patient’s own adipose stem cells (found in our fat) to regenerate healthy heart muscle and restore function after heart attack. Orthopedic surgeons are also using stem cells to rebuild cartilage in knees, shoulders, and hips.

Is stem cell storage sorth it?

The benefits of using your own stem cells as a biological resource are advancing and more uses are currently being discovered. However, younger stem cells are significantly more active, powerful, and potent than older stem cells. Therefore, taking advantage of banking your stem cells at an earlier age is optimal. When cells are cryopreserved it stops-the-clock on the aging of those cells. As you get older, you will have the benefit of using your own, biological resource of those younger cells for treatment.

How are stem cells obtained for storage?

The easiest way to obtain adipose tissue, which contains the largest concentration of mesenchymal stem cells, is with liposuction. Liposuction retrieval of stem cells for cryopreservation can be performed by removing unwanted fat cells. Those fat cells are then specially packaged and shipped over-night to AdiCyte for processing and storage. The procedure is performed in the privacy of Dr. Howard’s office in about an hour and a half. You get the joy of removing unwanted fat while taking advantage of storing the removed fat for future cosmetic or therapeutic use.

Does it matter which type of liposuction is used to collect the adipose tissue for stem cell storage?

Yes, most traditional methods of liposuction are fine for collection of adipose tissue. However, laser-assisted and ultrasonic liposuction can cause damage to the tissue and cells. The least amount of damage to the adipose (fat) cells occurs with standard tumescent anesthesia and liposuction with a negative pressure machine.

What is the cost of stem cell storage?

There are two sizes of kits for collection of your tissue and stem cells. The cost for the small kit (20-60cc) including the first year of storage is $1085.00. The cost for the large kit (60-240cc) including the first year of storage is $1385.00. After the first year the annual storage fee is $120 per year.

Dr. Howard’s professional fee for the liposuction removal and packaging of the adipose tissue is $3500.00. The price does not include full liposuction as the amount of fat needed for stem cell storage is not significant.

How do I retrieve my stem cells in the future?

When you desire to retrieve your stem cells they can be shipped to the physician of your choice and you will only be charged for shipping. They can either be shipped in the cryopreserved state or for a fee the physician may prefer the laboratory will thaw and prepare the samples before they are shipped. This provides the samples are ready for immediate use upon arrival.

Is my body mass index within range to qualify for liposuction?

Specific Liposuction Recovery Information

You will have tiny incisions (about ½ inch) to perform this procedure. These incisions will be left open so that they can drain out the swelling fluid. You will need to change out absorbent pads to collect this fluid periodically. Some patients drain a lot, some don’t. Expect to check these pads every two or three hours for the first 24 hours. It is very common to have one incision to drain more than another. Lower incisions tend to drain more due to gravity. Patients should expect to change out the absorbent pads every hour for the first 12 hours. Fluid will be bloody in appearance. Our staff recommends the patient sleep on a towel the first night just in cause fluid leaks through the absorbent pads. Allowing this fluid to drain is beneficial to the patient to expedite the recovery process.

You will be sent home in a compression garment. This garment must always stay on for the first three days. This means you cannot shower until for three days. You may un-do the garment a little to change out the absorbent pads. After three days, you may shower and put the garment in the laundry. You will need to continue to wear the compression garment for up to 2-6 weeks. Dr. Howard will be seeing you for post-operative appointments to monitor your swelling and advise you further regarding the compression garment and what he recommends.

Failure to wear this compression garment will cause you to swell significantly and prolong your recovery significantly.

You will not be able to shower until three days after your procedure. At that time, you may only shower. You are not permitted in soak in a bathtub, jacuzzi, or get into a pool, ocean, river, lake, etc. Your incisions will not be healed enough to immerse in water. You are not permitted to immerse in any body of water of any kind for 6 weeks following this procedure.

Your skin may feel funny to touch, such as numbness. The sensation of your skin will return in time as your body recovers. You should also expect to bruise from this procedure. Some skin laxity is to be expected in the beginning and usually resolves over time unless you have prior skin damage such as stretch marks. Liposuction will not erase stretch marks but may improve the appearance of stretch marks depending on the skin elasticity.

Underwear should NOT be worn under these compression garments (for liposuction of the abdomen). The elastic waist bands will create a permanent indention line. We need for the compression garment to be smooth all around for the skin to shrink smooth. You may wear underwear on top of the compression garment or use panty liners with the compression girdle.

Liposuction Facts and Myths

Liposuction Myth: Once Fat is removed it won't come back. If it does come back, it will come back in other places.

True but false! Yes, the fat is removed permanently, but liposuction does not alter the human body genetics. Fat can come back if you do not maintain proper diet and exercise. Maintaining your results is key to a great outcome. The surgeon can remove the fat, but you must also be devoted to keeping it off. If you continue to have a poor diet after liposuction, you can still gain weight, and even gain the weight back to the surgically treated areas. Again, liposuction does not alter your DNA, it just removes fat cells. Patients need to understand that as we age, our metabolism slows down. The older we get, the harder it is for us to lose those additional inches. That is why this procedure can be so wonderful. But, you must still maintain a healthy diet and exercise program. Any healthcare professional that tries to convince you the "fat will never come back" is selling you a tall tale.

Plastic Surgery Myth: Liposuction will eliminate cellulite

While removing unwanted fat in cellulite prone areas, cellulite is primarily a condition of the skin. Removing fat can help reduce the appearance of cellulite, but an exercise program that includes strength training is recommended. Good muscle-tone also helps to reduce the appearance of cellulite. Cellulite is a condition within the layers of the skin involving connective tissue that acts as an anchor between the muscles and skin. No cream, laser, or massage treatment will permanently remove cellulite.

Plastic Surgery Myth: Liposuction is a substitute for diet & exercise

Liposuction is not a substitute for anything. As we get older, our metabolism decreases thus increasing our chances of weight gain. One cannot expect to have liposuction to lose 10, 15, or more pounds. Liposuction in conjunction with a great diet and exercise program can help you meet your goals more swiftly. All potential patients must commit to a lifestyle change that includes adjustments in diet and exercise.

Plastic Surgery Myth: Liposuction removes stretch marks

Liposuction removes unwanted fat underneath the surface of the skin. Stretch marks are scars as a result of damaged skin and are usually through all layers of the skin. In few cases, liposuction can help decrease the appearance of stretch marks, but unfortunately are there to stay. Patients with stretch marks on the abdomen may need to consider a mini or full tummy tuck to achieve the desired results.

Plastic Surgery Myth: Liposuction requires one or two weeks of recovery

This is a real surgical procedure that requires an adequate healing period as with any surgical procedure. Most patients will experience swelling and bruising that usually takes 2 to 6 weeks to disappear. After the bruising and swelling disappear, additional healing continues to allow for the skin to shrink. Compression garments will be worn to help expedite this process. Patients should avoid sun exposure during this time and drink plenty of water. Patients are also advised to maintain a healthy diet, and may be able to return to their normal exercise program as soon as one or two weeks following the liposuction procedure.

Plastic Surgery Myth: Laser liposuction is safer than other types of lipo

Absolutely not. Liposuction is a surgical procedure than can be performed in various ways. The addition of a laser to assist in the removal of the fat actually can increase the risk for complications if performed by an untrained physician. The laser does not make any this procedure any safer than traditional methods. Mass marketing of laser procedures have created a false illusion that a certain way of performing liposuction are perceived as "safer" or "smarter." The fact is, the fat still has to be removed to obtain a result. Also, some of these devices, that are heavily marketed, only add an additional step to the procedure that often sound "cute," but are actually nothing close.

Liposuction has been the number one most performed cosmetic procedure for many years. Due to this popularity, many entrepaneurs have infiltrated the aesthetic market attempting to montetize. As a result, variables in marketing rhetoric attempt to convince the consumer their machine or procedure is the best, superior, less invasive, safer, or even the most effective. When it comes down to it, liposuction is still all the same. The fat must be removed for real results. In many cases, the same laser machine will be re-branded with a different trademarked name and different marketing scheme in attempt to fool the consumer into thinking it is the latest, greatest, newest technology.

Plastic Surgery Myth: Tumescent liposuction is safer than regular liposuction.

No. The tumescent solution injected for liposuction is really for anesthestic reasons. Liposuction is still a surgical procedure regardless. The tumescent solution can help reduce bruising in some patients, but does not make the procedure safer nor has it been proven to reduce swelling.

Plastic Surgery Myth: Laser liposuction shrinks the skin

No. This has been proven over and over again to not be the case. When fat is removed with any liposuction procedure, the skin shrinks. However, not all skin is able to shrink back down depending on your skin tone, age of the skin, elasticity, and skin damage. Most skin does shrink after liposuction, and can take up to 6 months to do so. There are many other minor laser procedures available that claim to skrink the skin, but the results are not permanent.

Plastic Surgery Myth: Freezing fat effectively removes fat better than anything else.

There are a variety of fat removal fads that have all come and GONE. If they aren't "smart" then they will become "cool." Once the "coolness" has run its course, we can expect the next marketing madness to be "awesome" or "intelligent" or some other nifty adjective that will make patients think it is the latest greatest way to remove fat and decrease the waistline. The truth is, liposuction is one of the top marketed procedures. Dr. Howard prefers to perform procedures that actually work and deliever the results his patients are seeking for a reasonable price. Almost all of these alternative fat removal laser methods require mulitple visits at approximately $3500 per visit over the course of a year in order to acheive the desired results. The average unsurgical laser fat removal consumer spends approximately $10,000 over the course of one year to achieve the same result as one surgical liposuction procedure.

Patient Resources

Preparing for Plastic Surgery

Contact Dr. Howard's Office

Liposuction Birmingham AL Dr. Paul Howard

COVID-19 Office Protocol Update