Liposuction remains to be among the most requested surgical cosmetic procedures because it has proven to create satisfying results. If you are planning on getting it done, you don’t go in without knowing the facts first.
So, we made it easier for you by gathering the necessary information to help you arrive at an informed decision. After all, the best patients are the ones who are well-prepared.
Also known as Lipectomy or Lipoplasty, a liposuction is a procedure where excess fat deposits are removed to slim and reshape specific areas of the body. This procedure is sometimes called body contouring because it can enhance the body’s contours and proportion.
It can be used to contour the following areas:
- Under the chin
- Upper arms
- Ankle areas
Indications for Liposuction
Liposuction includes the following uses:
- Cosmetic reasons. Liposuction can help get rid of love handles, muffin tops, and any unflattering bulges of the body in place of more defined curves.
- Body Shaping. Liposuction picks up on areas where diet and exercise fail. It can zero down on those final few pounds that can get very stubborn. It trims the problem spots so that you can fit better in your clothes.
What Liposuction Isn’t
- It is not a substitute for exercise. Liposuction is intended solely to target stubborn problem areas that are difficult to address with proper nutrition and exercise. Fitness is not something you can do without when considering liposuction.
- It is not a treatment for cellulite. Cellulite is a cellular breakdown that damages the skin’s connective tissue. Since cellulite is not fat, it cannot be treated by liposuction.
- It is not a weight loss method. While the procedure is used to remove fat cells, it is not a measure to get rid of the excess pounds. This is a common misconception on liposuction. People should see this surgery as way to get rid of the stubborn fats that do not respond to diet and exercise, and not a primary measure to lose weight.
Different Types of Liposuction Procedures
Tumescent Liposuction (fluid injection)
This technique is considered as the worldwide standard of care for liposuction. It involves the use of a large dose of fluid composed primarily of lidocaine and epinephrine to help shrink the blood vessels. Referred to as the Klein’s solution, it is injected into the part of the body that will be treated. This techqniue allows liposuction with the use of local anaesthesia and with minimal blood loss.
Super Wet Technique
This is similar to tumescent liposuction, but it uses more fluids. The amount used is equal to the amount of fat that will be removed. According to a study, “this is based on the principle that larger volumes of wetting solutions injected slowly are less toxic in the same milliliter dosage than in more concentrated form”.
Laser-Assisted Liposuction (LAL)
In most LAL procedures, practitioners combine one or two types of lasers to melt the fat. Liposuction done through this means is named by the laser used (e.g. Smart Lip, Vaser Lipolysis, etc.). The device produce heat and melts the fat in the area, making it easier to remove with a cannula. It is also believed that the heat causes the skin to shrink through scar and collagen formation that goes with the healing cycle.
Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction (UAL)
Involves the use of ultrasonic energy to liquefy the fats before suction is used to remove the liquefied fat to smooth out the edges of the treated areas. This was developed with the goal of enhancing the ability to extract fat, increase the amount of fat extracted, and decrease patient discomfort during and after the liposuction. A prospective study done on 348 consecutive patients showed that this technique improved the outcome, showed better skin contraction, have shorter operative time, and minimized complications.
Are You a Good Candidate for Liposuction?
Liposuction may be suitable for you if:
- You are physically fit
- You have stable weight (not more than 20 pounds overweight)
- You have realistic expectations
- You are struggling with bulges that persist despite healthy diet and regular exercise
- You have firm, elastic skin.
- You are self-motivated and not influenced by an outside party
- You have had the concern for a long time
- You are not looking for a complete makeover
- You have a higher level of deformity than anxiety
What to Expect During a Liposuction Procedure
- Patient evaluation at least 1-2 weeks before the procedure (blood tests, medical history and physical measurements taken).
- Medical clearance will be obtained from a primary physician.
- Informed consent given.
- Some patients may be advised to stop certain medications or supplements in preparation for surgery
During the Liposuction Procedure
- Final instructions and final consent form will be signed.
- The surgeon marks the areas that will be targeted.
- The nurse starts an IV (intravenous) line from which the fluids and medications will be administered.
- If a patient will undergo tumescent liposuction, they will be given an mild oral sedative pill.
- In the operating room, the nurse will inject the numbing solution and the tumescent fluid using a small needle.
- Once the area is anaesthetized (in tumescent liposuction) or the patient sedated, the surgeon will now start suctioning the area.
- After the procedure, the patient will be taken to a post-operative recovery area.
- Dressings, which consist of gauze pads, will be applied.
- A specialized garment, which may be worn for a month, is fitted on the treated area (3 days for chin liposuctions). This helps the area to be firmly bound to the new form.
- The patient may be under observation for at least an hour or longer before they are discharged. A friend or family member must be with them for assistance and continued observation.
If you notice any of the following symptoms, inform your surgeon right away:
- Heavy bleeding from the incisions.
- If you experience chills or if you have a temperature higher than 38OC.
- Increased pain intensity on the area.
- Worsening around the incision sites.
- Foul discharges from the incision.
Post-operative instructions will include the following:
- How to properly care for the surgical site
- Proper dose and frequency of post-operative medications
- When to come back for follow-ups with the surgeon
- Activity restrictions immediately after surgery
- What to observe in your surgical area as it heals
- The length of time compression garments are to be used
Even with the advances of surgical cosmetic procedures, the potential for risks and complications remain. These risks increase if a large area is targeted at one time.
Some of the possible complications of liposuction may include the following:
- Complications due to the anaesthetic used
- Thermal burn or heat injury, particularly in ultrasound-assisted liposuction
- Fluid accumulation
- Excessive fluid loss which may lead to shock
- Delayed or poor wound healing
- Skin pigmentation changes
- Numbness or changes in skin sensation
- Uneven contours or rippling
Discuss your concerns with your surgeon to know more about these complications and how these can be prevented. These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It is important that you address all your concerns during the consultation to ensure that you are fully-informed in deciding.
Liposuction and Tummy Tuck
When it comes to improving the appearance of your midsection, usually liposuction and tummy tuck are placed at odds against each other. However, this should not be the case. They may be different procedures, but they are not counterparts. Rather they are complementary.
A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) can also remove excess fat from the abdomen, as well as the excess skin. Weight shifts or pregnancy can stretch out the skin that surrounds that stomach. A tummy tuck can help restore the look of a flat midsection.
Liposuction and a tummy tuck are both great procedures on their own. There are patients who choose to have both procedures done together. The decision will rely mainly on the results that you desire. Liposuction is a great choice for sculpting and shaping, while a tummy tuck can tighten the skin and muscles. To know which among the two would be a good fit with your goals, consult a surgeon for the right advise.
Planning on Getting a Liposuction?
Before you decide on a liposuction procedure you must keep these in mind:
- Liposuction is not a substitute for weight loss.
- If you notice skin dimpling before liposuction, it is highly likely to be dimpled even after the procedure.
- If the extra skin doesn’t contract after liposuction, you may need another procedure to remove the excess skin.
- You may not be advised to undergo the procedure if you are allergic to anaesthetic.
- The procedure is also not advisable for those with bleeding tendencies or have poor healing ability because this could put a patient at a high risk of developing surgical complications.
- You must be committed to wearing a compression garment.
Learn more liposuction tips, here.
If you have more questions on liposuction, schedule your appointment with Dr. Daood today.