4 Mistaken Ideas About Liposuction

Like any other cosmetic surgery procedure I perform at my Spokane practice, liposuction is associated with a lot of myths and preconceived notions. They come from hearsay handed down via the “I know someone who knows someone who had it” chain, and from not-altogether-accurate portrayals of cosmetic surgery in popular culture.

These are the ones we hear most often.

Myth #1: Liposuction can help you lose weight.

It’s easy to see why someone may think that this is true: We are, after all, removing fat from the body. But the myth is really rooted in a larger narrative of seeing liposuction as “the easy way out” of getting down to your ideal weight.

To put it plainly: There is no easy way out.  Although liposuction can be performed on patients who are overweight as a jumpstart in the right direction, we prefer to see a willingness and a plan to lose weight and maintain their results after the procedure. However, a more ideal patient for liposuction is already at (or very near) their ideal weight — and in most cases, they’ve gotten there through a diligent fitness regimen and a healthy diet.

Rather than thinking of liposuction as a way of reducing your weight, it’s more accurate to think of it as sculpting your body in a way you’re unable to on your own. Liposuction is meant for those stubborn pockets of fat that diet and exercise alone can’t address, not for removing any and all fat.

Myth #2: After liposuction, you’ll have loose, sagging skin.

This one is closely tied with the first myth. The logic goes something like this: Because you’re removing so much fat, the skin left behind will become saggy.

Here’s what actually happens:

Learn about liposuction in Spokane.

In a liposuction procedure, the amount of fat removed is noticeable, but it’s not enough to overwhelm your skin’s ability to retract around your new body contours. Patients with good skin elasticity prior to liposuction retain that elasticity afterward.

Smartlipo™, my preferred liposuction method, has an added benefit. The laser technology used in a Smartlipo procedure actually triggers collagen production in the skin cells after the fat is removed. Those skin cells then naturally tighten, producing smooth contours like those in the example above.

Myth #3: Liposuction can treat cellulite.

What’s important here is to understand what actually causes cellulite. Contrary to popular belief, it’s related to fat, it’s not just the fat that causes the lumpy appearance. Bands of connective tissue pull down on the skin from underneath, and this can cause the fat cells pushing up against that tissue to form the bumps we know as cellulite. Our noninvasive cellulite treatments typically focus on the more superficial fat and skin layers, as opposed to the deeper areas of fat removed via liposuction. The use of the laser, not the suctioning is really the reason cellulite improves during laser assisted liposuction.

Because we are removing pockets of fat through Smartlipo, it can reduce the appearance of cellulite as an ancillary benefit, as in this case:

Learn about liposuction in Spokane.

Myth #4: Liposuction is for large areas of the body.

The myth here is that liposuction is only for large areas of the body. Smartlipo can certainly be effective in the most common liposuction treatment areas (e.g., the midsection, the flanks or “love handles,” the thighs), but its especially narrow cannula (only 1 millimeter wide) makes it adept at addressing smaller areas with a minimal incision, too.

Learn about liposuction in Spokane.

You can see an example with this past patient, who wanted targeted liposuction on the fat under her arms. Smartlipo is also a good choice for chest or neck fat.

In general, liposuction is a very versatile tool with multiple applications in cosmetic surgery. If there are myths about liposuction, or any other cosmetic procedure, that you’d like to have cleared up, leave a comment below.

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What to Expect During Smartlipo™ Recovery

Learn details about liposuction recovery from cosmetic surgery specialist in Spokane, Dr. Kevin Johnson.

You may be surprised to hear that one of the most common concerns I hear from my cosmetic surgery patients at my practices in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene is not about the surgery itself, but the recovery. Many people are worried about taking time off work, being unable to care for their families or pets, and getting back the active lifestyle they maintain.

As the technologies available in cosmetic surgery have become less invasive and more precise, that has also come with a corresponding decrease in recovery time. Smartlipo™ is a great example of this.

Traditional liposuction offers a faster recovery than a more invasive body contouring procedure, such as a tummy tuck, but patients still need nearly a week of recovery time before getting back to any normal activities. With the laser technology in Smartlipo, it’s now only a few days, and patients experience less pain, soreness, and discomfort.

But what is the Smartlipo recovery really like? Here are some of the greatest concerns my patients have for recovery, and what they can expect for each.


Because fat has been removed and the tissue in and around the treated area has been irritated, you are going to experience some swelling, no matter the technology. The swelling is completely normal and will last at least a few days after your surgery, depending on the area that you had treated. Make sure to drink lots of water and avoid foods high in sodium for at least 1 week after surgery, as salt may cause bloating and swelling for many people.

When you begin to feel more comfortable moving around, go for short walks around your house, yard, or neighborhood to keep blood circulating and swelling minimal. Be sure to wear compression garments provided by your surgeon for the first few days, depending on the treated area, as this will also contribute to smooth healing and less swelling.


You will experience the most soreness and discomfort for the first 2 to 4 days after the procedure, but this will steadily decrease and subside within the next 4 weeks after surgery. Many patients return to work 2 to 3 days after surgery, begin performing light exercises and stretching after 1 week, and slowly but steadily regaining their endurance and stamina from there, resting as much as necessary.

Pain and Discomfort

Patients will experience some pain, which can be managed with prescribed pain medication transitioning to over-the-counter pain relievers as soon as the next day . The options for pain medication will be determined by your surgeon and be dependent on the extent and location of the treatment. As I’ve mentioned, Smartlipo is less invasive than traditional liposuction, so the pain level will be more manageable.

Scars or Drains

The cannula used during liposuction is about 2 or 3 millimeters in width. This means that the incisions required for the instrument are very small in comparison to more invasive surgical procedures: The incisions (and resulting scars) are typically about 5 mm in length, and are left open for drainage purposes. They quickly heal with in a few days without sutures. With proper care and sun protection, the scars will quickly fade. Because liposuction is less invasive than other body contouring treatments, such as tummy tuck, drains are not needed.

Lasting Results

Because the unwanted fat cells have been completely removed from your body, your results will last as long as you are able to maintain them through a healthy diet and exercise plan. Weight gain and pregnancy can change the results, as can the effects of aging and other health issues. But often, Smartlipo has an encouraging effect: Many of my patients say they’re so happy with their results that they have even more motivation than before to keep up their workouts and nutrition plans.

You can see the Smartlipo results for one of my patients below, who is pictured 4 months post-operation in the “after” photo. I’m excited to share that she was able to lose an additional 26 pounds after surgery because she was excited to keep up her results. The surgery combined with her healthy lifestyle allowed her to lose several inches and a clear reduction in clothes size.

See before-and-after images from cosmetic surgery patients in Spokane.

Interested in learning more about the liposuction process? I encourage you to read through the Liposuction FAQ I’ve provided, which includes a list of questions I often hear during liposuction consultations. If you have a question that didn’t get answered there, feel free to share it in the comments section below!

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The Science & Benefits of Your Smartlipo™ Treatment

Dr. Kevin Johnson explains Smartlipo™ offered at his cosmetic surgery practice in Spokane.

One of the most popular cosmetic surgery treatments at my Spokane and Coeur d’Alene practices is Smartlipo, or laser-assisted liposuction. This body contouring procedure can help to smooth curves and reduce hard-to-treat areas of fat that are often found in the lower abdomen, back, flanks, hips, arms, and thighs. You can learn more about the process involved in the procedure on the liposuction treatment page.

While before-and-after images of Smartlipo patients tell part of the story, it’s also important to understand the scientific explanation behind the treatment. To help explain those details, here are some of the features involved in this laser-assisted treatment and the benefits behind each.

The Narrow Cannula

A major benefit of Smartlipo is that no major incisions are required to perform the treatment. The treatment uses a thin metal cannula, or tube, which houses the laser fiber. It’s about 1 millimeter wide. This cannula is inserted into the body through small incisions that are only slightly wider than the cannula itself, between 3 and 5 millimeters. These incisions can be placed in areas where folds already exist, such as the navel or below the pant line, so they will be easily disguised.

In the before-and-after images below, you can see the patient’s incisions, indicated by the small red dots on either side of their lower abdomen. The incisions are small, they will heal quickly — and with the proper care, the scars will fade.

See before-and-after images from cosmetic surgery patients in Spokane.

The Multifunctional Laser Fiber

Once inserted, the laser fiber performs a number of actions at once. First, it targets the fat cells, rupturing and liquefying them. It simultaneously cauterizes blood vessels and coagulates blood in the treated area, which reduces bleeding. After the fat in the treated area has been prepared for removal, the cannula is attached to a suctioning device, which vacuums those melted fat cells out.

The Recovery

Smartlipo is an outpatient procedure which uses a local anesthetic, so patients may stay awake during the treatment and return home immediately after. Some discomfort and soreness are normal for a day or 2 following the surgery, but patients can generally return to their normal routines quickly.

The Long-Term Results

When the laser destroys and removes the fat cells in the treated area, the patient’s body recognizes that the fat has been removed and begins to restore the healthy cells around the treated area. This produces collagen, which in turn encourages elasticity and tightening of the skin and underlying tissue. Because of this, many patients have improved skin tone in the treatment area, which develops in the days and weeks following the procedure.

Have more questions about Smartlipo? Feel free to leave them in the comment section below. You can also visit my liposuction FAQ page for answers to some other common questions.

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The FAQs About Dermal Fillers: Cost, Ingredients, and More

Get FAQs about dermal fillers from cosmetic surgery doctor in Spokane.

Hollow cheeks, thinning lips, bags under the eyes — we’re all familiar with the common signs of aging that nearly everyone experiences. And while facelifts and other surgical procedures are solutions for some people, there are nonsurgical treatments that can be just as effective for many people. Some of the most popular options are dermal fillers. And while I know how exciting the results of these treatments can be, many first-time patients at my cosmetic surgery practice in Spokane have mentioned feeling hesitant to try them simply because they didn’t know enough about them. To help educate and inform my patients, I’m sharing answers to some of the most common questions I hear during consultations for dermal filler treatments.

How long do dermal fillers last?

The results of dermal fillers can last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years, depending on the area treated, the amount used, and the way your body interacts with the substance. With increased use, many patients find they need less frequent treatments. This is because the presence of the filler increases the production of collagen in the treated areas, so the body begins to produce added volume naturally.

What can dermal fillers really fix?

Dermal fillers are used in cosmetic treatments for a few reasons. Most notably, they can be used to fill deep facial creases and expression lines that are caused by wrinkles and repeated facial movements. Fillers are especially useful for camouflaging jowls and sharpening the jawline. Fillers are popular options for restoring volume in areas that have lost it over time, including the cheeks and under-eye areas. Younger patients often rely on fillers to add volume to their lips for a voluptuous look. In the before-and-after photos below, we used fillers to smooth out the patient’s under-eye bags. This gives her a more refreshed, rejuvenated look overall.

See before-and-after images from dermal filler patients from our cosmetic surgery practice in Spokane.

Fillers can also be combined with other treatments, like BOTOX® Cosmetic or Dysport® (a combination known as a liquid face lift) and skin resurfacing for even more impressive results.

How much do dermal fillers cost?

At our practice, we price dermal fillers by the syringe. Depending on the area being treated, we may use anywhere between 1 and 4 syringes in a single treatment. For example, at my cosmetic surgery practice in Spokane and Coeur d Alene, Restylane® and Restylane Silk are $500 per syringe. Restylane Lyft is $550. Each of these fillers is FDA-approved for use in different areas of the face. This means that Restylane and Restylane Silk may be used on the lips, tear troughs under the eyes, and fine lines anywhere, whereas Restylane Lyft can be used in the cheek area, the temples, marionette lines, and along the jaw in the prejowl sulcus. During a consultation, we’ll be able to tell you which areas can benefit from which fillers, as well as how many syringes we’ll need to use.

How are dermal fillers administered?

Dermal fillers are exclusively injectable, so they’re administered through a tiny needle placed just under the skin. Most patients say they only feel a small pinch with each injection.

What qualifies a person to administer fillers?

The qualifications required to administer dermal fillers vary by state. Here at our practice, I am able to administer them, as is my aesthetic nurse, Brittany. Brittany is also a medical aesthetician, cosmetic laser trainer, and injection specialist. She has been expertly trained to administer these treatments and can provide patients with natural-looking results safely and efficiently. We’re proud of our extensive experience with injectables, and we’re one of the top 100 providers of Restylane Lyft in the nation!

What are dermal fillers made of?

Most dermal fillers use a gel formulation of an active ingredient called hyaluronic acid. This acid occurs naturally in our bodies and works to hydrate our connective tissues, joints, and eyes.

What happens after a treatment?

After your injections are over, you may see some minor swelling and tenderness in the treated area, though this will only last for a day or 2. You should avoid exercising, performing heavy lifting, or applying pressure to the treated areas immediately after your treatment. Besides those minor restrictions, you can return to your normal daily routine the next day.

If you’ve been considering dermal fillers but aren’t quite sure if they’re the right treatment for you, I encourage you to take a peek at our treatment guide. This tool helps you determine the treatments that may best fit your needs, based on the cosmetic concerns you have. Or, request a complimentary consultation so we can discuss your concerns together and determine if you’re a candidate for filler treatments.

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What Makes a Good Candidate for Smartlipo™?

A liposuction surgeon in Spokane shares qualifications for Smartlipo™.

Before scheduling a consultation or talking to a cosmetic surgeon, many people seeking a cosmetic treatment such as liposuction will first try to figure out on their own whether they’re a candidate for the procedure. Most of the time, a person’s candidacy for a treatment can be determined only through discussion and examination during an in-office consultation at my Spokane or Coeur d’Alene offices. However, there are a few guidelines that I always consider. While these points aren’t the only factors, they do help to guide our discussion and simplify the decision.

If you find the following statements to be true, you may be a good candidate for Smartlipo liposuction.

You have areas of fat that do not respond well to normal diet and exercise.

Smartlipo is not a weight loss procedure. It does, however, remove unwanted areas of fat. Often, the fat in areas including the flanks, upper and lower abdomen, arms, and thighs does not respond well to diet and exercise, no matter how much time you spend at the gym. Smartlipo can be an effective solution for these areas.

You do not have excessive loose skin.

Smartlipo is great for treating unwanted fat. And, it has the added advantage of tightening skin as well as creating shorter recoveries by decreasing bleeding and swelling. However, there is a limit to how much skin any laser can tighten. If you have experienced massive weight loss and have significant thinning, loose skin in the area you want to target, or you have significant abdominal wall muscle weakening you may have better results from a different type of body contouring procedure, such as a tummy tuck. This procedure repairs weakened muscles and removes larger areas of fat and excess skin. During a consultation at my Spokane or Coeur d’Alene office, I can help you determine which treatment is best.

You can see in the before-and-after pictures below that this patient has some stretch marks, but does not have excessive skin on her lower abdomen, but does have excess fat across the entire area. The Smartlipo treatment produced a smooth, more toned abdominal area.

See before-and-after pictures of liposuction in Spokane.

You can take a few days to rest after the procedure.

Smartlipo is less invasive than abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), but it still requires a few days of rest and recovery. Most patients take about 2 days off work to ensure they’re fully recovered and comfortable. You’ll still experience some swelling and soreness for a few weeks after the surgery, so it’s best not to plan the surgery immediately before any major events or vacations.

You are in good general health.

As a medical doctor and surgeon, I always put your health and safety first. It’s important that your body is strong and healthy enough to undergo a Smartlipo surgery and make a swift, successful recovery. The procedure requires local anesthesia and prescription or over-the-counter pain medication for recovery. Plus, I encourage you to maintain an active lifestyle and healthy diet after your surgery to maintain your results. We call it “protecting your investment.”

You have realistic expectations.

Everyone’s body is different, and everyone’s results are equally unique. While I can’t make you look like someone you aren’t or turn back the hands of time, I can help you achieve the best contours and shape possible at the time of your surgery. During our consultation, we discuss your goals in depth so that I have a solid understanding of the results you’re looking for. I also provide an idea of the limitations of the treatment to ensure we are on the same page. My most satisfied patients go into their procedures with realistic and reasonable expectations.

So do you think you’re a candidate? If you’re interested in finding out more about Smartlipo, I invite you to contact our office for a consultation. Use our online form, and your consultation is free.

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