BeautiFill™ bodysculpting, a local tumescent laser liposuction procedure, is a safe and effective technique for removing unwanted fat cells.
It is a treatment that can be done in the office, involves limited down time, and bypasses the biggest risks associated with major surgery and traditional liposuction.
It is gaining widespread popularity worldwide and is now one of the common cosmetic procedures in the U.S.
It is a form of liposuction that is gaining widespread popularity worldwide. It is safe, effective, and involves less downtime than traditional liposuction. Furthermore, because it can be done as an outpatient office procedure it is less costly than traditional liposuction.
What is the history of local tumescent liposuction?
In the 1980s dermatologist Jeffrey Klein recognized that removal of excess fat via liposuction came with two major risks: anesthesia and bleeding. He discovered that both of these risks could be mitigated by injecting the area of excess fat with a numbing solution that contained a small amount of epinephrine that would constrict the blood vessels. By doing so patients could remain awake and comfortable while fat cells were removed, and recovery involved a minimal amount of bleeding. Dr. Klein spent many years in Europe perfecting his technique, and once perfected he introduced the rest of the world to his technique. It continues to gain widespread popularity around the globe.
Step 1: Numbing
The word “tumescent” means to become swollen. This is what will occur in the first step of the process. Dr. Wheeler will make a few small incisions and then use a narrow cannula to inject a mixture of lidocaine, saline, and adrenaline into the fat under your skin. As the solution spreads and settles it will numb the area while also helping to loosen the fat cells to be removed. Depending on the area being treated it might be a small amount of solution (250-500 ml) or a larger amount (a few liters). Don’t worry. The solution doesn’t stay there. As the fat is being aspirated the solution will be sucked out, too.
Step 2: Aspirating
Aspiration of the fat cells. Once proper anesthesia is achieved the fat cells can be gently removed. There are different systems for removal, and at Wholesome Aesthetics we use the BeautiFill machine by Alma Laser Company. Laser-assisted liposuction offers several important benefits over other methods (as explained below).
Once the fat cells are removed, the settings on the machine are adjusted and another 2-5 minutes are spent on tightening. Most patients are awake and talking through the entire procedure. After the procedure dressings and compression are applied. Patients are then allowed to go home and encouraged to take it easy for the next 24-48 hours.
What can I expect before and after the procedure?
Before the procedure:
You will be required to complete a history and physical with Dr. Wheeler. In this she will take down a medical history including medications and allergies. She will also take your vital signs and listen to your heart and lungs and determine whether you are an appropriate candidate for the procedure.
In this visit, either Dr. Wheeler or her assistant will then answer questions, go over what to expect during and after the procedure, and give prescriptions for the medications that will be required. The medications involved will include the following:
- Antibiotics. Any time the skin is penetrated with a needle or scalpel there is a risk of infection. Incisions with this procedure are only 1-2 cm long, and we keep the skin as clean as possible throughout the procedure, but we still take all the precautions possible to avoid entry of bacteria into the skin. In most cases the antibiotics are started the night before the procedure and continued for 7-10 days after.
- Relaxant. We will give a specially-compounded medication that allows patients to remain awake but in a relaxed and comfortable state.
- Pain medications: We will offer a couple of different pain medications, but many of our patients find that they don’t need anything stronger than ibuprofen. Narcotics are not given because they are not usually needed.
The day of the procedure:
As opposed to traditional liposuction under general anesthesia, where you are required to eat nothing after midnight, we recommend eating a mild to moderate breakfast. This can help mitigate any lightheadedness or discomfort associated with the procedure as well as nausea associated with the antibiotic.
The antibiotic should have been started the night before. The relaxing medication should be taken 30 minutes before coming to the office.
After the procedure?
First 24-48 hours:
There will be drainage, so expect to replace bandages frequently. The heaviest drainage usually occurs in the first 4-8 hours. We will recommend using maxi pads to absorb the fluid. Although there will be some blood in the drainage, it will mostly be remnants of fluid from the tumescent/numbing solution. As the body heals it will create a fair amount of its own fluid, so that will need to drain as well.
Because the inner and outer layer of skin have been disrupted so the fat could be removed, we recommend a compression garment for 3 months after the procedure. Some patients will only wear it for a few days, but longer-term compression offers a few important benefits:
- Minimizes the fluid pockets that can build up as a natural part of the healing process.
- It allows for better healing between the inner and outer layers of skin.
- It maximizes the skin’s ability to tighten as it heals.
- It provides support that improves post-procedure discomfort.
- It gives an overall better result.
Expect bruising. For some patients it is minimal, and for others it’s significant. You will also experience significant swelling. This is normal. Although most of the swelling resolves after the first week, it can sometimes take up to six months for it to completely go away. Wearing the compression garment can make a significant difference in how long it lasts. Mild activity will help get rid of the excess fluid as will lymphatic massage.
It is common for lumps and bumps to be felt. These are usually from fluid collection and inflammation that is a normal part of the healing process. They will go away over time. For abdominal procedures it is not uncommon for the fluid to gravitate just above the pubic bone. Appropriate compression helps to prevent this, but sometimes it is unavoidable. Most of the time it will go away on its own, but this can take months. Occasionally patients can hasten their recovery by having Dr. Wheeler drain the fluid with a small needle.
The soreness is typically totally resolved by this point. The skin should be healing, retracting, and tightening, but there is often some swelling still present. By this point and many patients are ready to resume strenuous activity, but we still recommended keeping exercise mild to moderate.
Around week 6 we will schedule a complimentary Accent Prime treatment (** hyperlink). This non-invasive procedure will help to complete a smoother, tighter look. This treatment is included in the cost of the procedure.
You should be feeling back to normal, and should be able to get back to lifting or strenuous exercise (if so desired). You might still have some swelling. Give it time. This will continue to subside.
How can I maximize my results?
Healthy habits are the best way to maximize results. We recognize these are easier said than done. We at Wholesome Health & Aesthetics are passionate about healing from the inside out and offer many different modalities to improve cellular function. We have IV therapies, nutritional supplements, ozone therapies and NAD treatments.
We also offer a weight loss course that can help patients overcome the physical and emotional addictions that are keeping them stuck in unhealthy habits. This course is normally $500, but is free for any patients who have done body sculpting services with us (BeautiFill, Accent Prime, Coolsculpting).
What are the benefits to bodysculpting with the BeautiFill machine as opposed to other technology?
- The low-wattage laser light helps to loosen the connective tissue holding the fat in place, thereby allowing for more easy and gentle removal.
- The more gentle removal process allows more fat cells to be removed without damage. This results in a higher success rate when the fat cells are transferred to another part of the body such as the face.
- BeautiFill is a completely enclosed system, allowing the fat to be gently prepared for reinjection without ever being exposed to the outside environment.
- The laser light spreads in a 360-degree angle, avoiding damage to the skin that can occur from more direct lasers.
- The laser is able to tighten the skin via a “shrink-wrap” like effect. Many other methods of removing unwanted fat do nothing to address the skin laxity that can result, especially for older people. Many patients are told that their only option for getting rid of loose skin is to cut it out, leaving a long unsightly scar. While this is sometimes the case, BeautiFill often gives these patients another option with great results.
- Recovery is much faster than other techniques. There is definitely some soreness involved, but most patients are back to work 2-3 days after the procedure.
If I want to do a second procedure how long must I wait?
Some patients desire an additional procedure for additional fat reduction or skin tightening. It is recommended to wait at least 6 months for another procedure to the treated area. With fat transfer multiple procedures are sometimes required to get optimal results (i.e. breast augmentations). Second procedures are given at a discounted price.
Are there some patients who are not candidates for BeautiFill?
Not every person is an appropriate candidate for the BeautiFill procedure. Because it only treats the fat just under the skin it does nothing to address the deeper, visceral (organ) fat associated with metabolic disease.
Also, it does nothing to address the abdominal muscles separation commonly associated with pregnancy and childbirth (diastasis recti). Additionally, sometimes there is so much excess skin that the laser alone won’t be enough to tighten. In these instances Dr. Wheeler is happy to recommend a qualified plastic surgeon to address these issues.
How do I set up a consultation?
Consultations are free, and you can either call or text.
Call (208) 557-0200 or text (208) 214-8413 (our texting app does not accept phone calls).