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As we age, it is not uncommon for some areas of the body to stop responding to diet and exercise in the same way that they used to. This can result in frustrating pockets of stubborn fat that seem impossible to get rid of. Even relatively young people can struggle with this problem. For some women, the physical changes associated with pregnancy and childbirth can often lead to difficulty losing weight in certain areas. Likewise, patients who have experienced a significant amount of weight loss may be left with areas that didn’t respond to their efforts in the same way — or at the same rate — as the rest of the body.

While this can certainly be a frustrating problem, remember that you are not alone. More and more men and women are turning to cosmetic surgery to help get rid of stubborn deposits of fat, with liposuction being one of the most sought-after treatments in the Houston area each year. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Ryan Couvillion at SBA Dermatology in Houston, TX is dedicated to helping patients rid themselves of those last few pounds and achieve their ultimate aesthetic goals through liposuction and a variety of other exciting procedures.


What is liposuction?

Liposuction is a cosmetic procedure designed to surgically remove small to moderate deposits of fat from various areas of the body. First and foremost, it is important to keep in mind that liposuction is not a weight-loss tool. Patients considering liposuction should already be at or near their ideal weight and view liposuction as a solution for addressing stubborn areas of fat that aren’t responding to diet and exercise adequately.

During a liposuction procedure, Dr. Couvillion will make a tiny incision through which a handheld tube, or cannula, is inserted. Using back-and-forth motions, he breaks up the fat and extracts it via the cannula with suction technology. At the end of the case, the incisions are closed with tiny sutures.


What can I expect during liposuction recovery?

After a liposuction procedure, patients should expect some level of discomfort, swelling, and bruising. These symptoms are generally well-tolerated, and Dr. Couvillion will prescribe medications and make other recommendations for relief. The length of the recovery period can vary depending on the area(s) treated, but in general, patients are able to return to work after about one week and resume most other household activities within about two weeks.  You do need to avoid strenuous activity such as jogging, etc for about 6 weeks.  This time gives your body time to heal. While you will likely begin to feel more like yourself after a couple of weeks, the final results of your liposuction may not be visible for up to several months as your swelling continues to subside.

It is essential that you follow all postoperative recommendations to ensure proper and complete healing after liposuction. This includes taking your medications as prescribed, attending your follow-up appointments, and wearing compression garments for the duration of your recovery. You will also need to follow wound care guidelines for your incisions.


What areas can liposuction be used on?

A unique advantage of liposuction as compared to other cosmetic treatments is that it can be used on areas of the body virtually from head to toe. Some of the most common areas of concern that are effectively treated using liposuction include:

  • Abdomen
  • Thighs
  • Hips
  • Flanks
  • Upper back
  • Lower back
  • Chest (male)
  • Neck


How much fat can be removed using liposuction?

Patients considering liposuction in Houston, TX should have realistic expectations about the limitations of the procedure and their potential results. Again, liposuction is not meant to be used for weight loss. The amount of fat that can be removed using liposuction may depend on the patient’s weight, body composition, overall health, and the area being treated. As a general rule, most surgeons agree that it is safe to remove up to 5000cc of fat, or about 11 pounds, during a single liposuction surgery. Patients who have a significant amount of weight to lose are typically encouraged to pursue a traditional diet and exercise — or perhaps weight loss surgery — before considering liposuction.


How long do the results of liposuction last?

As with any procedure, the longevity of the results can vary from person to person and depend on a number of environmental and lifestyle-related factors. Technically speaking, the results of liposuction can be considered long-lasting, in the sense that the fat cells removed will not return. However, patients should understand that the remaining fat cells can become enlarged with subsequent weight gain, and new fat cells may also form.  An important point is that the fat removed in liposuction will be less likely to come back in the same areas, but if you gain weight, it will be in the areas that did not have liposuction.

Arguably the most effective way to maintain your gorgeous liposuction results for as long as possible is to avoid future weight fluctuations. Liposuction does not stop the aging process or alter your metabolism, making some potential changes in your figure over time unavoidable.


Can I combine liposuction with other procedures?

Absolutely! Many patients choose to have liposuction performed as part of a larger procedure, such as a mommy makeover, to further enhance their overall results. If you are interested in the possibility of combining liposuction with a breast augmentation, tummy tuck, or another surgery, reach out to SBA Dermatology in Houston, TX for more information.

Once you have made the decision to pursue liposuction, the first step is to be evaluated by a qualified and experienced provider.  Not everyone is a great candidate for liposuction alone and you might get a better result by adding another procedure.

Learn more about how liposuction can finally help you get the sleek, smooth, and striking figure you have been after by calling SBA Dermatology & Plastic Surgery, you can reach out to  Dr. Ryan Couvillion's Aesthetic Consultant, Rosa Gonzalez at 713.850.0240 x. 1146 or you can email her at


Ryan Couvillion, MD

Ryan Couvillion, MD

double board certified plastic surgeon

Dr. Ryan Couvillion is an experienced Houston, TX plastic surgeon specializing in cosmetic procedures for the breasts, body, face, and skin. A native Houstonian, Dr. Couvillion has been recognized for his passion and dedication to achieving the best possible results for his patients. His drive to pursue training in the field of plastic and reconstructive surgery began at a young age, and he is honored to have been mentored by some of the nation’s most recognized surgeons.

For every aesthetic need, Dr. Couvillion incorporates a patient-centered approach with everyone he encounters and makes each client a part of the decision-making process. According to Dr. Couvillion, "The most gratifying part of my day is when I get to talk to a happy patient. It is such a privilege to care for my patients and give them the results they want."

Learn more here.