What Is Liposuction?

Liposuction is the most frequently performed cosmetic surgery in the world. Liposuction is surgery to improve the contour of your body by removing pockets of excess fat from troublesome areas such as the thighs, abdomen, and upper arms. It works best for areas of the face and body with stubborn fat deposits resistant to overall weight loss, such as the infamous “love handles.”

The term comes from the Greek word “Lipos” meaning “fat”. Other names for liposuction are lipoplasty and suction lipectomy.

By removing fat in strategic areas, a surgeon can help mold your body into the shape you want, remove the last few pounds you’ve been trying to lose, get the jump on the weight loss you’ve been struggling to start or remove cellulite.

The areas that respond well to the treatment: thighs, buttocks, abdomen, hips, flanks, upper arms, neck, chin, jowls.

Women and men may also choose the treatment to reduce breast size, as a procedure that results in less scarring than other types of plastic surgery. Many patients choose to have several body parts treated during the same day.

Different techniques exist for performing liposuction:

  • Tumescent Liposuction
  • Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction

Who Is a Good Candidate for Liposuction Surgery?

If you are within a relatively normal weight range, have healthy, elastic skin, and have specific areas you want to target, then you may be a candidate for liposuction. The procedure is also appropriate for women who are considering breast reduction, and for men who suffer from gynecomastia, or male breast development.

It is also NOT appropriate for people with a weakened immune system, diabetes, heart or artery problems, or a history of blood clots or restricted blood flow.

How Should You Prepare for Liposuction Surgery?

Everything you need to know to prepare for liposuction will be discussed during an initial consultation with your surgeon. The surgeon will assess your health and discuss a few options that may be available. The safety and the most-likely outcome of the procedure will also be discussed. Once you decide to go ahead with the procedure, the surgeon will give you specific instructions that must be followed in the weeks leading up to date of the operation.

Consult with your surgeon about any regular vitamins and minerals you are taking. Aspirin can lead to increased levels of bleeding. Different vitamins and mineral can affect your surgery in different ways. Vitamins such as Ginger and Garlic inhibit the formulation of blood platelets which in turn affects the way your blood clots. Other vitamins could increase the effects of anesthetics and increase the recovery period post operation. Smoking can adversely affect the circulatory system and increases the prospect of infection, so your surgeon may ask you to quit before surgery.

How Is Liposuction Surgery Performed?

Liposuction usually takes one to four hours to perform, depending on the area or areas treated. It is usually done on an outpatient basis. Patients are given either general anesthetic or a local anesthesia with sedation before the procedure. The surgeon will mark the spots on the body where incisions will be made and where the fat will be removed. After each incision, the surgeon will insert a small, hollow, steel tube called a cannula under the skin through the incision. The cannula is attached to a vacuum that pulls the fat into the cannula to a collection container.

Several different techniques exist for performing liposuction. Two of the different techniques are described below:

  • Tumescent Liposuction – This technique calls for the surgeon to inject a solution into the fatty areas to be treated before the cannula is inserted. The injection contains a mixture of saline solution, a local anesthetic and a medication that contracts blood vessels. The injection has several purposes. It loosens the fat, it reduces blood loss, it reduces bruising and it anesthetizes the area.
  • Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction – In this technique, a special cannula is used that has an ultrasound generator attached to it. The ultrasonic waves liquefy the fat cells, making them easier to remove. This method allows for more detailed body sculpturing and a quicker recovery time. Trauma is minimized with the result of less bruising and blood loss.

What Is Recovery Like After Liposuction Surgery?

Recovery time varies by individual and by the amount of fat removed from the body. Recovery time also depends on the technique used to perform the liposuction. Most people are able to return to work within a few days and can fully resume their usual lifestyle in two to three weeks.

Will the Results of Liposuction Surgery Be Permanent?

After liposuction, the new body’s shape is more or less permanent. If a patient does gain a moderate amount of weight after liposuction, then the figure will simply be a larger version of the new body shape. The fat cells that are removed by liposuction can never come back; however, if the patient gains a significant amount of weight, then new fat cell can develop. If the patient does not gain excessive amounts of weight, then the new more pleasing silhouette is permanent.

Are There Any Possible Complications From Liposuction Surgery?

The risks associated with the procedure are minimal when compared to other types of surgery. When surgery is performed by a qualified surgeon, complications are rare and usually minor. Nevertheless, as with any surgery, there are potential complications and risks. Your consultation is Key. Your physician will spend time discussing these with you during your scheduled consultation. Be sure to bring a list of questions or concerns with you. All patients are instructed to discuss the general surgical risks with their surgeon.

You can reduce your risks by closely following your physician’s advice both before and after surgery.

Some complications that can be caused by liposuction include infection, bleeding, swelling and pain.