Liposuction, Lipoplasty, Liposculpture or Lipo. No matter what it is called it is a cosmetic surgery operation that removes fat from different parts of the human body, including the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, neck, backs of the arms and elsewhere. Are you a good candidate?
I Didn’t Have Liposuction
Liposuction is not a weight loss method, but rather a form of body contouring that has significant risks associated with cosmetic surgery. Typically less than 10 pounds are removed during a liposuction procedure and that varies with the doctor, his method and the patient. There is an art involved with the procedure and that is where the surgeons experience and talent play an important role. If too much fat is removed from the patient unnatural “lumpiness” or “dents” in the skin may develop. Also, the more fat removed, the higher the surgical risks there are.
Liposuction is most often performed on the abdomen and thighs for women and the abdomen and flanks for men. It is one of the most common plastic surgery procedures performed but it is not a good procedure for removing or tightening sagging skin. The removal of fat cells from under the skin can leave the skin even more loose.
- Lipoplasty (“fat modeling”)
- Liposculpture Suction Lipectomy
- Lipo (“suction-assisted fat removal”)
Am I a Good Candidate?
To be considered for this procedure a patient must be
- Over 18 years old
- In good general health (no diabetes, infections or heart problems)
- Have tried diets, but cannot lose the remaining 10 or so pounds
How do they do Liposuction?
Generally, the surgeon uses an aspirator (suction device) and a cannula (hollow tube) to suck the fat from the body. There are various techniques that the doctor uses to accomplish liposuction including:
- Dry liposuction – used no fluid injection (rarely used procedure)
- Wet liposuction – a small amount of fluid is injected into the area containing a local anesthetic, saline solution and a solution to minimize bleeding.
- Super-wet liposuction – takes 1-3 hours and is the preferred technique of many plastic surgeons and may require type IV sedation or complete anesthesia.
- Tumescent liposuction – tumescent (swollen or distended with fluid) is the precursor of wet liposuction.
- Laser assisted liposuction – lasers are used to assist in the breakdown of fat stored in fat cells.
The standard method is suction-assisted liposuction where the surgeon inserts a suction tube (about the size of a straw) into a small incision, then pushes and pulls it against the fat layer, breaking up the fat cells and sucking them out of the body. Some surgeons use a special cannula (suction tube) that vibrates at ultrasonic levels which helps to liquefy the fat and make it easier to suction out. Other devices and techniques are also used.
Preparations for surgery vary with the surgeon, patient and complexity but generally include the following.
- No anticoagulants should be taken for two weeks before the surgery.
- Fasting before surgery may be required.
- No Smoking for about two months prior to surgery
The Liposuction Procedure
The patient and surgeon will meet for a consultation.
A consent form is signed on the day of surgery.
An antibiotic will be given to the patient about an hour before the procedure.
The surgeon will mark the patient’s body for the “target areas” while the patient is standing.
Before photographs may be taken.
A sterilizing solution is applied to the patients body in the relevant areas.
An IV may be installed for medications or the patient may be injected with a local anesthetic.
Monitoring devices are attached to the patient for blood pressure, heart rate and blood oxygen levels.
The surgeon makes a small (about a quarter to a third of an inch) incision and performs the liposuction.
The patient usually only feels a scraping or rasping sensation from the cannula movement.
Usually the patient can go home the same day. Patient will not be allowed to drive home.
- Any pain may last up to 2 weeks and is controlled by over the counter medications or by prescriptions.
- Swelling will go down in 2 weeks to 2 months.
- Bruising will fade in up to 2 weeks.
- Numbness may last for several weeks.
- Normal activity may be resumed in one to several weeks.
- Read Pain And Soreness 2 Weeks After Tummy Tuck With Liposuction
Side effect may include bruising, swelling, scars, pain, numbness and limited mobility.
Possible complications may arise as with all plastic surgical operations. In addition, the following complications may occur.
Infection – During liposuction multiple small puncture wounds are made for inserting the cannula. Infection may occur.
Damage to the skin.
Tissue damage beneath the skin.
Skin necrosis (dead skin).
Puncture of an internal organ.
Thromboembolism and fat embolisation.