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Introduction

It feels good to look good, however you define that for your own body. It feels even better if you see “great” when you look in the mirror. No wonder liposuction of all types was the 4th most popular cosmetic surgery procedure in 2020. While traditional liposuction remains popular with patients who want to eliminate stubborn fat to produce slimmer, more appealing contours, high-definition liposuction has rapidly gained popularity among men and women who seek to achieve more obvious muscle definition as well as trimmer contours.

Whatever your desired appearance outcome, no type of liposuction is a substitute for weight loss. Liposuction is intended to help you put the finishing touches on areas where healthy eating and exercise just aren’t enough to eliminate stubborn fat or to visibly bulk up your muscles. Liposuction, especially high-definition sculpting, works best for patients who are at or close to their optimal weight.

High-definition liposuction can help you look stronger and more athletic, or it can make you look body-builder ripped. However, it is not simply a matter of getting “more” liposuction. Highly defined results depend on a complex, painstaking technique that not only removes excess fat, but precisely sculpts remaining tissues to emphasize underlying musculature. Dr. Brady Harris at Image Surgical Arts specializes in this exacting technique.

Is Liposuction for Weight Loss?

While any type of liposuction can enhance your figure or physique, neither traditional nor high-definition procedures should ever be considered as a weight loss technique. On the other hand, high-definition liposuction, in particular, can give your self-image and confidence a big lift by removing fat that is resistant to exercise and dieting to reveal the muscle detail beneath. It can make the muscles in your arms, chest, abdomen, shoulders and back appear more prominent, create the “six-pack” you’ve always dreamed of, and produce more svelte feminine or masculine contours.

women laughing togetherHigh-definition liposuction surgery is as individual as each person’s body and aesthetic goals. For some patients, a bonus benefit is that fat removed during the liposuction process can be used to augment another part of the body – for example, fat from your abdomen could increase volume in your buttocks or breasts.

What is High Definition Liposuction?

The name says it all: liposuction is a process that uses suction to remove fat cells (“lipo” means fat) from beneath the skin using a very thin tube called a cannula. We can use liposuction to remove unwanted fat almost anywhere on the body, and we can address multiple areas during a single procedure. At Image Surgical Arts, we talk about liposuction in terms of the amount of change created.

Low-Definition Liposuction (Volume Reduction)

This is the simplest and most common option. The goal is straight-forward: to eliminate pockets of fat that have stubbornly resisted a regimen of targeted exercise and healthy diet. At Image Surgical Arts, Dr. Harris usually uses volume reduction liposuction in conjunction with other, more invasive surgical procedures such as a tummy tuck or facelift to achieve the smoothest possible results.

Medium-Definition Liposuction

This technique combines volume reduction with a moderate amount of muscle etching, focusing on the vertical lines of the abdomen. This creates the illusion of a longer torso, making the patient appear taller and slimmer. Medium-definition lipo is especially popular with our female patients.

High-Definition Liposuction

This procedure first attracted the attention of our male patients, but it is increasingly requested by women as well. After all, the thought of showing off a well-toned body appeals to virtually everyone. Again, as the name implies, this technique combines volume reduction with aggressive muscle etching that is true liposculpting. Often, we will use the fat removed from one area to increase the appearance of muscle size elsewhere, for example in the shoulders and chest of men.

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At Image Surgical Arts, we use advanced VASER technology that allows us to safely provide muscle etching and high definition body sculpting. VASER uses ultrasound technology to dislodge the fat cells with minimal risk of damaging surrounding tissues. This process is much gentler than traditional liposuction techniques and it allows for much more precision. It is particularly important to protect nearby lymphatic vessels, as they play an important role in speeding recovery and reducing post-operative swelling. VASER technology also enables us to safely remove the most superficial layers of fat cells, which we can then use to produce the visible etching our patients desire.

Although all levels of liposuction require considerable surgical skill to produce optimal results, high-definition liposuction is in an entirely different league. It takes specialized training, deep anatomical knowledge of the muscle groups, a deft hand and the eye of an artist to carefully and strategically sculpt fat to emphasize musculature. We are proud that Image Surgical Arts was the first practice to offer this advanced enhancement option to patients in middle Tennessee, and we are even more proud that our Dr. Brady Harris is a national leader in this field, both as one who performs successful procedures and as one who teaches other surgeons to do the same. He is among the best of the best.

Which Areas Can be Treated with Liposuction?

We can use liposuction to reduce fat virtually anywhere on the body, as long as it is outside the muscle layer (between the muscles and the skin). For example, fatty tissue on the abdomen can be removed as long it is above the “six-pack” muscles. However, the intra-abdominal (visceral) fat cannot be removed with liposuction because it is underneath the muscle layer and surrounds the vital organs inside your abdomen.

liposuction markings

So, what areas of the body are good candidates for high-definition liposuction? Muscles of the back: latissimus dorsi (lats), deltoids, triceps, pectoralis, serratus, obliques and the rectus abdominis. Also muscle groups in the shoulders, chest and triceps. That means we can create that six-pack we just mentioned or buff up muscle appearance in your shoulders and arms or calves, or improve the overall appearance of your figure or physique. Any (or all) of these areas might come to mind for you:  

  • Chest
  • Upper arms
  • Abdomen
  • Waist
  • Flanks
  • Love handles
  • Hips
  • Calves

It is important to note that when Dr. Harris performs any type of liposuction, he will often re-contour nearby areas as well as the “targeted” area to produce the most pleasing overall contours. This more comprehensive approach reflects that your body is a seamless entity, and Dr. Harris knows your goal is to look nicely balanced as well as nicely (or exceptionally) toned.

Add Skin Tightening to Your High-Def Lipo Procedure

Liposuction is not designed to tighten skin, only to remove fat. In fact, liposuction itself may leave skin saggier once fat is removed. Dr. Harris uses the analogy of a balloon. The surface of the balloon is tight and firm when it is fully inflated. But when you let all the air out of the balloon it becomes loose and floppy. Removing fat from beneath the skin is similar in that the volume that held the skin taut is now gone.

The advanced VASERlipo technology does provide a minimal amount of skin tightening, but for some patients it may not be sufficient to achieve the smooth, sleek surface you want to show off your newly enhanced muscles. For that reason, Dr. Harris may suggest adding a skin tightening procedure at the same time as your liposuction procedure.

At Image Surgical Arts, we evaluate each patient personally and then provide a customized treatment plan based on your own goals. There are several factors that determine whether or not you may require skin tightening to achieve the look you want. Skin quality and elasticity are important considerations. Thicker, more youthful skin will have the ability to contract better than thinner skin with less elasticity. The amount of volume to be removed is also an important consideration in deciding whether or not to add skin tightening.

When used in conjunction with high-definition liposuction, the best skin tightening technique is application of heat. When properly applied, heat causes skin to retract and tighten, much the way cellophane will shrink when heat is applied. At Image Surgical Arts, we have found that Renuvion (formerly known as J-Plasma) technology works best to tighten skin following liposuction. Renuvion simultaneously delivers direct heat and radiofrequency heating via helium plasma to remodel existing collagen and stimulate the body to produce new collagen.

After your liposuction procedure, we insert a small probe about the diameter of a pencil under the skin to perform Renuvion treatment. Most patients see some immediate skin improvement, although it takes about nine months to see final results as your body continues to regenerate and create collagen.

High Definition Liposuction: The Procedure

Dr. Harris performs high-definition liposuction as an outpatient procedure in our own state-of-the-art surgical clinic. You will receive general anesthesia for the procedure but still be able to arrive and go home on the same day. But your procedure starts long before that.

The first step is your personal consultation with Dr. Harris. This is the time to get all your lingering questions answered and hear in detail from Dr. Harris how high-definition liposuction can reveal the increased muscle tone and definition you hope to see. If you decide this procedure is right for you, Dr. Harris will develop a personalized treatment plan. 

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Preparing for the Big Day

Once your procedure is scheduled, you can begin preparing for the big day. You will want to arrange for some assistance that day and for the few days afterwards. You can also take some photos of yourself so that you can compare results when you’re fully recovered. Set aside a room or some space within your home to be your recovery headquarters with water, things to watch or read, etc. close at hand. That way, your body can focus on rest and relaxation.

Perhaps the most important preparation is maintaining your healthy lifestyle. Good nutrition and exercise get your body ready for the changes ahead and will help your recovery go faster and more smoothly. Non-smokers are the best candidates for liposuction, but if you do smoke, we recommend quitting at least two weeks before your procedure and stay away from smoking for a time afterward. Smoking constricts blood flow, which interferes with your body’s ability to heal.

Pre-Op

Your first stop is our pre-operative area. Since you will be receiving general anesthesia, we will insert an IV to get that started. While we’re waiting, we’ll fill out the requisite paperwork and Dr. Harris will once again review any and all concerns, expectations, or last-minute questions you may have. At this point, we will also take “before” photos to maintain a visual record of your results. Dr. Harris will then draw markings on your body to serve as his guide for fat removal, sculpting and re-contouring. When that is complete, it’s time for your surgery!

Surgery

We will take you into our state-of-the-art operating suite, where we will clean your skin and cover the areas around the surgical field with sterile towels and drapes. Dr. Harris will numb your skin and then make tiny incisions to insert the cannula through which tumescent will be infused into the areas to be treated. Tumescent is a saline solution that contains lidocaine, bicarbonate and epinephrine. The lidocaine numbs the area(s) to be treated. Bicarbonate decreases discomfort from the lidocaine. And the epinephrine constricts blood vessels in the area to help reduce any bleeding that may occur. Vessel constriction also helps decrease the amount of lidocaine absorbed into the bloodstream.

prep for surgery

Once the tumescent solution has had time to take effect, Dr. Harris will use advanced VASER technology to gently disrupt and soften the fatty tissue in the areas that are to be sculpted. The same incision sites are used for each step of the process. The next step is the actual liposuction itself. Small cannulas are used to remove the unwanted fat – for high definition liposuction, Dr. Harris selectively removes both superficial and deep fat cells to sculpt the amount of definition you desire. (Picture a sculptor working with a tiny wand instead of a carving tool.)

Once liposuction, sculpting and final re-contouring are complete, Dr. Harris will perform Renuvion skin tightening, if that is part of your treatment plan. For this, he will gently insert the device under the skin using the same incisions as before.

Post-Op

Finally, sterile pads will be applied and you will be placed in a compression garment. Then, it’s off to the recovery room and once anesthesia has worn off you can head home. Depending on the details of your procedure, it might take an hour and a half to three hours overall. Usually, Dr. Harris and the team will want to see you back in the office the next day for a follow-up visit. At this time, we will examine the entire operative site to make sure all is well and then apply fresh pads. Dr. Harris’ primary concern is ALWAYS patient safety, and this is just another step that we take to make sure you have the best experience possible.

We like to schedule additional follow-up visits to check your progress more often after high-definition liposuction because of its additional complexity, so we will likely ask you to return at one week, six weeks, and four to six months after your procedure. However, our team is always available to answer any questions or concerns at any time before and after your procedure. The more comfortable you are with all the details, the more comfortable and confident you will be as you recover.

Recovery

High-definition liposuction is a far more intense procedure than general lipo, so you can expect to experience a little more discomfort, bruising and swelling immediately afterward. How long your recovery takes will depend on the areas treated and the extent of the contouring Dr. Harris performs. We will send you home with pain medication to help alleviate discomfort or soreness you may experience. Lymphatic massage during the first week can also help speed the healing process and minimize fluid build-up. Keeping the treated area elevated when you’re at rest helps, too, if you can do that.

However, it’s important for you to get up and walk around for short periods frequently after your procedure. This will help reduce soreness, promote good circulation to help prevent blood clots and speed healing. Moving around will help you feel good about your progress, too.

You can also expect to have a significant amount of drainage for the first day or two following your procedure. It will seem like a lot, but this is entirely normal. We will remind you of that several times before and after your procedure to give you peace of mind. Mostly, the drainage is remaining tumescent fluid that we used during the procedure but which was not removed at that time.

While bruising usually goes away within a week or so, swelling will last longer. Most of it will dissipate within 4-6 weeks, but a small amount of residual swelling may remain up to six months. You will have to wear an elasticized compression garment for a specified period of time depending on the details of your procedure. Most patients say it is fairly comfortable and it is critical to support your skin and underlying tissues as they are healing. The compression garment will also help reduce swelling. Arnika (bromoline) is a useful herbal supplement to help reduce bruising and swelling. You can purchase it over the counter or from us at Image Surgical Arts.

Despite initial swelling, you will still see improvement right away. As the swelling continues to subside, your results will become more visible. You’ll have to be patient, though, as it will take between 6 months and a year before your final results are fully revealed. If Renuvion skin tightening is included with your high-definition liposuction procedure, it will take about nine months to see full results from that as well.

Dr. Harris makes only a few tiny incisions to perform high-definition liposuction (and he uses those same incisions to perform Renuvion, if needed). These incisions will heal completely in 2-3 weeks with minimal scarring. Dr. Harris takes special care for this as he does with all the details of your liposuction/sculpting procedure because he knows your ultimate goal is great-looking results.

You should be able to return to your normal routine within about 4-6 weeks. You may return to light activities and go back to work, but you will need to avoid strenuous exercise and lifting for several more weeks to give your body plenty of time to fully heal. Overdoing it too soon can jeopardize your final results.

At Image Surgical Arts, we understand you will be anxious to get through your recovery as quickly as possible. That timeframe differs somewhat for each individual and depending on the extent of your procedure. Nonetheless, we will be here for you, doing everything we can to give you the best recovery experience possible.

Ultimately, you’re in charge. So the most important thing you can do is to follow the doctor's orders! Everything we ask you to do – or not do – is deliberately designed to enhance your recovery. You will get written instructions for at-home post-operative care, and we will go over those with you before you leave. Our team is always available to answer questions or address any concerns you may have.

man in ocean

High Definition Liposuction: Results

Just how well-muscled might you look after high-definition liposuction? That’s what you really want to know, isn’t it? No doubt you’ve already seen some pictures of folks who have had this procedure, or you know someone who has. That’s what got you thinking about it as an option for yourself. But what you will look like won’t be exactly the same as someone else because your body is different and your goals may be as well.

Studying before and after images of real high-definition lipo patients helps you get a good idea what is possible – the kinds of sculpting and contouring that can be achieved on different parts of your body. Even more important, however, it gives you a realistic idea of what we can accomplish. Realistic expectations are critical for cosmetic surgery success, because without that you are likely to be disappointed. We don’t want that!

The more before and after pictures you review, the better. You can easily find photos online, and that’s an excellent start. Look for patients who have undergone high-def lipo on the same areas as you are considering. Looking for people who are the same sex and around your age is even better, as those factors can affect your results.

Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a perfect body. Some of the photos you review will likely show dramatic change, whereas others might show what looks to you like not much difference. Maybe that’s all that individual wanted – not to look heavily sculpted, just more toned and trimmer

Now it’s time to get specific, reviewing before and after photos of actual patients treated by the cosmetic surgeon you’re considering. This is important for any kind of surgery, but since high-definition lipo results rely heavily on artistic as well as technical skill, the surgeon’s capabilities are paramount. Do this surgeon’s results give you confidence? Do the results, regardless of the amount of visible definition, look natural and smoothly contoured?

Ultimately, it will be up to you to maintain whatever results liposuction produces. Fat that is removed will not return, and remaining fat will retain its chiseled contours – as long as you maintain a stable weight. If not, you could negate your results. A healthy diet and exercise will keep you looking your well-defined best.

Who is a Good Candidate?

No type of liposuction is a substitute for weight loss. However, if you’ve reached the point where exercising and healthy eating are not achieving the toned, well-defined body you want or you wish to further accentuate the appearance of your musculature, then you may be a good candidate for high-definition liposuction.

The best candidates for this procedure are:

  • In good health overall with no major underlying medical conditions. The healthier you are before you have high-definition liposuction, the better-prepared your body will be for a successful, speedy recovery. Of course, you’ll want to maintain that healthy lifestyle afterward, too, to retain your now-more-impressive appearance and to feel as good as you look.
  • Non-smokers. Smoking restricts blood flow, so it hinders the recovery process. That could negatively affect your results.
  • Realistic about results. We can enhance your physique so that you look subtly more toned or impressively ripped, but there is no such thing as the “perfect” body.

woman jogging

The location of your abdominal fat may also affect your results. Patients with a flatter abdomen are typically better candidates than those with a “beer belly” because the “beer belly” effect indicates the majority of your fat lies underneath the muscles, inside the abdominal cavity where liposuction cannot be performed.

Loose skin will obscure the results of your high-definition liposuction procedure. Therefore, if you have mild to moderately lax skin, or your skin may become loose due to fat removal during high-definition liposuction, Dr. Harris recommends including a skin tightening procedure along with your liposuction to achieve the firmer, smoother surface and contouring that will show off your muscles to best advantage. Renuvion skin tightening is a good choice for this.

If you have severe skin laxity, Dr. Harris recommends a more aggressive approach such as an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) or other procedure to surgically remove excess skin.

Risks and Side Effects of High-Def Liposuction

Complications or unwanted outcomes are rare with high-definition liposuction, but they are possible. Stay away from any surgeon or clinic that tells you they have a perfect record in this regard because they are not being forthright. Our goal isn’t to worry you, but high-definition liposuction is a serious procedure, as is any type of surgery. You need to be fully informed in order to make a comfortable decision about having the procedure.

Any time the skin is pierced, there is always a risk of bleeding, infection and injury to surrounding structures. Hematomas (blood that collects under the skin) are rare, but they are a potentially serious complication. We take special precautions to reduce risk of bleeding and hematomas by infusing the treatment area with a solution called tumescent that contains epinephrine (adrenalin). This constricts blood vessels in the area. We also use advanced VASER technology to remove the fat cells more gently, reducing risk of damage to nearby blood vessels and other structures.

Infection occurs when bacteria or, more rarely, other microorganisms are introduced to the body. It’s normal for human skin to carry numerous types of bacteria on the surface, but if those microorganisms get inside in sufficient numbers your immune system may have difficulty killing them. To help prevent infection, we thoroughly clean your skin with products that will kill any surface bacteria. We also give antibiotics prior to your procedure, and we’ll send you home with antibiotics for continued protection as you heal.

Injury to surrounding structures is a very rare complication, but it can have multiple consequences depending on what is injured. In the worst case scenario, the tumescent or liposuction cannula can pierce through the muscle and injure an internal organ or a large blood vessel. This may require hospitalization or additional surgery for repair. Again, this is very rare, but you should be aware of it.

Less serious and much more common (though still rare), small injuries can occur to small nerves that control skin sensation. If this happens, certain areas of your skin may feel numb. However, in the vast majority of cases this is temporary.

One of the most common after-effects of liposuction is formation of a seroma -- build-up of fluid underneath the skin where liposuction was performed. This is not necessarily a dangerous situation, but it can be annoying. If needed, we can drain seromas one or more times to resolve the situation\

Blood clots have also been reported occasionally. These usually occur when procedures take an extended period of time or in patients whose bodies tend to easily form blood clots. The best way to prevent a blood clot is to keep your circulation moving by walking early and often after your procedure. We also use various devices during surgery to help prevent blood clots, especially since high-definition liposuction is performed under general anesthesia.

Anesthesia and medications also carry risks such as allergic reactions, nausea and vomiting. Again, complications from liposuction procedures are uncommon and we take every possible precaution to prevent any of these (or others) from happening. At Image Surgical Arts, your safety is always our number one priority.

How Much Does High Definition Liposuction Cost?

There is no set fee for this procedure. Dr. Harris individually tailors every liposuction surgery to fit the patient’s concerns and desired outcome, so your procedure will not be exactly the same as anyone else’s. That is especially true when it comes to high-definition liposuction due to the refined detailing involved. Hi-def lipo costs more than traditional liposuction because the procedure requires more extensive training and experience to perform and uses advanced technologies.

The number of liposuction areas included in your procedure, and whether or not Renuvion skin tightening is included, will also affect total cost. Nonetheless, we can say that the approximate cost of high-definition liposuction procedures here at Image Surgical Arts generally starts at $12,000. If you are comparing costs, keep in mind that not all practices provide all-inclusive quotes like we do. 

The price we quote includes:

  • Surgeon’s fees
  • Anesthesia
  • Operating room fees
  • Surgical supplies
  • Follow-up visits
  • First compression garment

We will let you know up front if there will be additional charges for prescription medications, lab fees, post-surgical garments, etc., so there are no surprises. You can discuss this with Dr. Harris during your personal consultation, and once you arrive at a surgical plan with Dr. Harris we will give you a detailed estimate of charges that reflects the specifics of your procedure. Then you can decide if you want to go ahead with the procedure.

Medical insurance does not cover cosmetic procedures, but we do offer a variety of financing options for some of our cosmetic procedures.

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Choosing the Right Surgeon

We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to carefully choose the surgeon who will perform your high-definition liposuction. Once you’ve decided to undergo this procedure, picking the person who will create your results is the most critical decision you will make. Any type of surgery puts your health, safety and outcome in someone else’s hands. Their knowledge, skill, and experience will determine how things go for you. But we’re talking cosmetic enhancement here – and precise sculpting at that -- so demonstrated artistic talent is equally critical.

First, look for a surgeon who is board certified. Any surgeon can perform cosmetic procedures and you certainly want a surgeon who has specialized training in your type of procedure, not to mention experience. Board-certification is optional, but surgeons who choose to fulfill the rigorous certification process are serious about their commitment to maintaining the highest skill, quality, and patient care standards. You should expect no less. Dr. Brady Harris is a triple board-certified surgeon..

Look for a surgeon who has a special interest in liposuction and who takes significant pride in his or her work, especially when it comes to the demands of high-def lipo. Just because they are well-known for some other type of procedure does not mean they are a liposuction expert. Ask how many liposuction procedures, and how many high-definition procedures, they have successfully accomplished. And ask them to show you before and after photos of those patients.

Dr. Harris is a world renowned expert on high-definition liposuction and body sculpting. He is a frequent lecturer worldwide on the latest liposuction techniques and technologies. He has lectured at the World Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, and the World Congress on Liposuction. He takes tremendous pride in using his advanced knowledge and skill and artistry to help each patient achieve their aesthetic goals.

Safety matters, too. Insist on a surgeon and a practice that has invested in the best tools and technologies available to create the outcome you desire in the safest manner possible. This is critical. High-definition liposuction may be considered minimally-invasive, but it is still a surgical procedure performed under general anesthesia. Advanced technology such as VASER and Renuvion enable Dr. Harris to create maximum definition and smooth contouring, according to your wishes.

But there is more – your personal comfort. Of course you want a surgeon you can trust to produce great-looking results, but this is a team effort. So you want (and need) a team that makes you feel comfortable, too. That way you won’t hesitate to speak openly about your concerns and appearance goals, so together you can devise the best possible treatment plan to achieve your dreams.

About Image Surgical Arts

While choosing the right surgeon is critical, no surgeon operates in a vacuum. As a patient, you will work with multiple team members, and you should feel the same confidence and comfort in their knowledge, skill, and “customer service” attitude. Surgery is serious business, but friendly, caring people make all the difference in your overall experience.

SB_ImSurg19-24 (1)At Image Surgical Arts, we believe that exceptional patient care starts with good listening. It’s your body, how can we help?

Our Nashville clinic is located in a new, 6,000 square foot surgical center. It is a state-of-the-art facility designed to ensure a safe, welcoming, and successful experience from your first visit through your final follow-up appointment.

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Why not get the toned, sculpted look you’ve always wanted? High-definition liposuction can improve on the hard work you’ve done yourself to achieve a strong, healthy body through diet and exercise. Beyond eliminating stubborn unwanted fat, hi-def lipo takes your physique to the next level by strategically etching remaining fat to accentuate your muscles and masculine or feminine contours.

Scheduling a personal consultation with Dr. Harris is the next step in exploring the world of high-definition liposuction. He can answer all your questions and explain the sculpting techniques that may be right for your body and ultimate appearance goals. Whether you choose to look subtly more toned or truly transformed, boosting your self-image can boost your self-confidence.