Liposuction, commonly referred to as “lipo” by patients, slims and reshapes specific areas of the body by removing excess fat deposits and improving your body contours and proportion.
Liposuction may be used to reduce localized fat deposits of the:
- Hips and buttocks
- Abdomen and waist
- Upper arms and forearms
- Breasts, axillary tail
- Chest area
- Cheeks, chin and neck
- Calves and ankles
Liposuction can be performed alone or along with other plastic surgery procedures, such as a facelift, breast reduction or a tummy tuck.
Liposuction is not a treatment for obesity or a substitute for proper diet and exercise.
It is also not an effective treatment for cellulite – the dimpled skin that typically appears on the thighs, hips, and buttocks – or loose saggy skin.
While it is possible to undergo liposuction at almost any age or any weight you will obtain the best results if your skin still has enough elasticity to achieve a smooth contour following fat removal. When skin is inelastic it may not re-drape well and an additional skin tightening procedure may be necessary.
How is Liposuction performed
The liposuction procedure is performed in an operation theatre under suitable anaesthesia.The choices include local anesthesia, intravenous sedation, regional and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.
Your surgeon will mark the areas and identify the planned incisions for you pre-operatively in the upright position.
Liposuction is performed through tiny, inconspicuous incisions.
First, diluted local anesthesia is infiltrated to reduce bleeding and trauma. Then a thin hollow tube or cannula, is inserted through the incisions. Using a controlled back and forth motion of the cannula, fat is suctioned out of the body using a surgical vacuum or syringe attached to the cannula. Read more about Water-jet assisted liposuction.
A compressive pressure garment isapplied over the areas that were suctioned.
During your liposuction recovery, a compression garment is mandatory as it helps to control swelling and compresses the skin to your new body contours.You will notice swelling and bruising which is expected. Both will subside after a few weeks. Stitches will generally be removed by the seventh day after surgery.
The pressure garment must be worn as instructed for at least 4 to 6 weeks after surgery.
You may return to work in a few days and resume most of your normal activities within a week or two.
The healing process is gradual, so you should wait a while before enjoying the results of liposuction. Occasionally, a touch-up may be desired to further improve an area. This may be performed under local anaesthesia.
The results of Liposuction are permanent as long as you maintain your postoperative weight.
Liposuction is a surgical procedure and has some potential problems associated with it. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure and any risks and potential complications.
Liposuction risks include:
- Anesthesia risks
- Change in skin sensation
- Damage to deeper structures such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles, lungs, and abdominal organs (very rare)
- Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
- Fluid accumulation
- Irregular contours or asymmetries
- Irregular pigmentation
- Need for revision surgery
- Persistent swelling
- Poor wound healing
- Rippling or loose skin, worsening of cellulite
- Thermal burn or heat injury (especially from ultrasound with the ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty technique)
During consultation be prepared to discuss:
- Your surgical goals
- Medical conditions, drug allergies, and medical treatments
- Current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco, and drug use
- Previous surgeries
Your liposuction surgeon will also:
- Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
- Take clinical photographs
- Discuss your liposuction options
- Recommend a course of treatment
- Discuss likely outcomes of liposuction and any risks or potential complications
It’s very important to understand all aspects of your liposuction procedure. It’s natural to feel some anxiety, whether it’s excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don’t be shy about discussing these feelings with your cosmetic surgeon.
Preparing for Liposuction
In preparing for surgery, you may be instructed as follows:
- Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
- Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
- Stop smoking
- Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding
Be sure to arrange for someone to stay with you for at least the first night following surgery.