Liposuction is one of the most, if not the most, popular cosmetic surgery. It is the number one method to treat and remove resistant fat deposits in the body, normally called ‘exercise/diet-resistant’. Liposuction has evolved considerably since the late 1960’s when doctors first started experimenting with the procedure. New techniques, innovative surgical instruments and a number of new approaches have defined the procedure as we know today, and gave it a new approach on the…name. The more recent term ‘Liposculpture’ seems to have a better acceptance in the public, reflecting more accurately the overall focus on the improvement of the body contour on the whole and creating good body proportions instead of just focusing in removing particular areas of fat. Doesn’t ‘sculpting’ by a surgeon sound more like art rather than an intrusive treatment?
The procedure itself involves making several conspicuous incisions over the selected area followed by the insertion a thin metal tube (cannula) attached to a surgical vacuum (or syringe). The cannula is used to loosen the fat layers installed between the skin and the muscle then removed with the surgical vacuum or syringe. However, before the insertion of the cannula, the treated area is injected with a sterile saline solution containing anesthetic which reduces blood loss and helps to break and dissolve the fat cells, emulsifying the fat tissue. This makes the removal procedure easier and ultimately less trauma to the patient, reducing post-operative discomfort, bruising and swelling. This is called the “tumescent technique”.
Other techniques have been developed and used to break the fat cells and facilitate removal, like the use of ultrasounds, laser or water jets. Surgeons decide on the method or a combination of techniques according to the specifics of each case and patient. One of the wonders of the beloved “lipo” is the application to any part of the body. You name and it can be treated! The abdomen, waist, buttocks, hips, thighs, flank areas, arms, neck, knees, back, and even your breast, calves and ankles and face (chin and cheek) can be subject to lipo. Another benefit is the results can be long lasting – the removed fat cells don’t grow back. So, avoiding the enlargement of other fat cells and therefore, the longevity of the results, depend solely on one’s effort to commit to a healthy lifestyle and controlled weight.
Practicalities: First, bear in mind that a Liposuction is not a treatment for obesity or a substitute for proper diet and exercise. It is also not an effective treatment for cellulite. To be a good candidate for Liposuction you need to be within 30% of your ideal weight. Before the surgery, you will need to discuss your medical story with your doctor. Any detail is important for the doctors to analysis your particular situation. Standard recommendations around. avoiding smoking, suspending the use of aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to avoid risk of bleeding and other preparations will be advised by your doctor. Also take the time to discuss the possible risks of the procedure with your doctor.
Although complications from liposuction are rare, some side effects are: hematoma, skin discoloration, asymmetry, persistent pain and swelling, thermal burn or heat injury, skin or nerve damage, infection, blood clots or irregular pigmentation, to name a few. Dependent upon the extension of the surgery (how many treated areas), local or general anesthesia will be used, so the patient can be released on the same day of surgery or possibly asked to stay overnight for observation. A compression garment will be recommended to help the skin to adapt and adhere to the new muscle surface and create the new body contour. Recovery usually lasts between 5 to 14 days and in 2 to 4 weeks you can resume more strenuous activity. Full recovery from bruising and swelling will take a months – only then you’ll be able to fully appreciate the result of your surgery.
Note: In some cases, the extracted fat can be used to mold and enhance other parts of the body (breast, buttocks, face…) instead of the use of implants or injectables as a more natural solution. Two in one, what about that?