Let’s be honest, many of us in Melbourne have secretly wanted to know more about liposuction, but have been too afraid to ask. Catching up with Melbourne liposuction specialist and cosmetic surgeon Dr Joni Feldman was a breath of fresh air. With a captivating mix of intelligence and empathy that only a female surgeon could possess, she succinctly demystified the process – giving the facts, not fiction and frankly got me wondering… Why have I never considered this before?
Joni, is liposuction becoming more popular now than before?
Yes, with improved techniques the downside of this kind of procedure is much less than it used to be. I specialise in liposuction; it’s my main surgical procedure.
Do you think, along with procedures like Botulinum toxin and lip augmentation, it’s becoming a little more “socially acceptable”?
Yes, it’s the same as all other cosmetic procedures; everybody knows what the word means now, and people are far less concerned with what other people do or don’t do regarding cosmetic procedures.
Back in the old days, we used to see horrible post-liposuction photos, showing lumpy skin or uneven texture. Why do these unfortunate incidences happen?
Yes, it does still happen and is mainly due to unskilled surgeons.
To my understanding, liposuction is excellent when performed on small areas. If someone was to have just their chin and jawline, how much time would they need off work?
No time off is required; it doesn’t affect the patient physically apart from slight bruising and maybe swelling, similar to having wisdom teeth out but with less pain. If the patient works in the public eye, or is concerned about their appearance they might want to rest for one or two days to let the swelling settle.
Joni, I was looking at Kylie Minogue flitting around on “The Voice” some months ago and, frankly, she was looking amazing! I was thinking to myself that she is probably quite the poster girl for liposuction. Her knees (prone to being a bit flat and pudgy ) have never looked so good. Mind you, I’m sure she’s had more than her knees done… So, what about “tidying up” fatty areas around the knee or ankle? This could be transformative for some of us, and I’m sure many of us still think having the procedure is a bigger deal than it actually is. How much time off work would I need if, say, I had one small area like knees or ankle worked on?
I always advise lipo patients having larger lipo to allow three days including the day of the procedure, so some of them choose to have the lipo on a Friday and then have the weekend to recover. Often the patient feels well enough to start work after one or two days. I often work on patients that are normal weight, or even slightly under, to fix small areas like the knees and ankles. Small procedures like this have very little down time, with the patient being able to return to work the next day.
Fashion is probably also a great motivator for liposuction, particularly in Melbourne. Just last weekend, as I explained to a shop assistant that I am “not a jeans girl”, I wondered if many women come to you in order to expand upon their wardrobe possibilities. Is this ever the case?
Yes, this is often the case, wearing fashionable clothes is part of looking good… Some women like to wear low-waisted jeans and want to reduce their muffin-top look. With the summer coming others like to have slimmer arms for short-sleeved tops, and some have their inner and outer thighs done so they can wear tight jeans.
Are there any candidates you refuse?
The only time I will not perform the procedure is for medical or health reasons. For example, if a patient is extremely overweight and just wants to lose a large amount of weight without any lifestyle change, I would suggest they change their habits first and use lipo as the final stage. Lipo is more successful when used for sculpting, rather than as the prime method of fat reduction.
Should you be under a certain age to have liposuction performed?
No, I have performed lipo on many older women, as long as they are in adequate health. I won’t perform lipo on a young patient until they have reached maturation, roughly from 18 years.
Let’s say someone wanted their lower tummy and inner thighs done only. Approximately how long would it take to perform the liposuction?
The whole process takes three to four hours including preparation and finishing. The actual surgical procedure takes 1- 1.5 hours per symmetrical area; this includes infiltrating with anaesthetic fluid and sculpting.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to seek a cosmetic surgeon to perform liposuction?
Check the surgeon’s before and after photos; check not only how many years of experience they have, but also what is their preferred surgical procedure. Just because a surgeon performs liposuction doesn’t mean they have great skill and experience, they might only do one procedure every month and mostly facelifts the rest of the time. So it’s important to find a surgeon that dedicates most of their time to liposuction. They should also have an artistic flair as liposuction is a three-dimensional surgery and requires great artistic skill; in a way it’s not much different to sculpting with clay. This is why I prefer to do the procedure under local anaesthetic; I constantly move the patient around to monitor progress, and finely tune their shape. At the end of the procedure, I always stand the patient up for a final assessment of the shape and volume of the areas I have worked on. In fact, I would go as far as to say that liposuction under general anaesthesia is very difficult as it is not possible to properly assess the result while the patient is lying down. To obtain perfect results I always use local anaesthetic.
“Just because a surgeon performs liposuction doesn’t mean they have great skill… they might only do one procedure every month and mostly facelifts the rest of the time… it’s important to find a surgeon that dedicates most of their time to liposuction. They should also have an artistic flair as liposuction is a three-dimensional surgery and requires great artistic skill…”