Traditional liposuction is a cosmetic surgery procedure that helps to sculpt the body by removing unwanted fat from the abdomen, buttocks, thighs, hips, upper arms, chin, cheeks, and neck. Liposuction (also knows as lipolasty), in recent years, has seen new advancements and refinements. There are various methods of liposuction including ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty (UAL), the tumescent technique, and the super-wet technique. These different techniques allow the cosmetic surgeon to choose the most appropriate one for the patient’s individual needs. No type of liposuction is a substitution for exercise and a health diet, but liposuction can remove stubborn areas of fat that don’t respond to traditional weight loss methods.
Best Candidates for Liposuction
Good candidates for liposuction will have realistic expectations about what results the procedure can produce. As with any surgery, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with your cosmetic surgeon. Liposuction is not safe for everyone and carries greater risk for people with medical problems such as diabetes, heart or lung disease, poor circulation and previous surgeries to the area to be contoured with liposuction.
Ironically, the best candidates for liposuction are normal-weight people with firm elastic skin but who have pockets of excess fat in some areas of their bodies. Though age is not a major consideration in deciding who is a candidate for liposuction, older patients have diminished skin elasticity and may not achieve the same results as younger patients with tighter skin.
Planning, Anesthesia and the Procedure
At your initial consultation, your cosmetic surgeon will evaluate your health, assess the condition of your skin and determine where your excess fat pockets are. He will explain the body-contouring methods most appropriate for your needs. It is crucial that you explain to your doctor what your desired results are after having liposuction. While deciding which option is best for you, your surgeon will discuss effectiveness, cost, safety and appropriateness of the procedure for your needs. This is called exercising surgical judgment. Your doctor’s surgical judgment will also prevent complications, and he will be prepared to handle unexpected occurrences that may arise during surgery.
Your surgeon will give you lengthy instructions of what to do and not to do before your liposuction procedure. He will discuss pre-procedure eating, drinking smoking, vitamin and medication taking, and you may have to have blood drawn prior to the procedure just in case it is needed during the surgery. You will need to arrange to have someone drive you home after the surgery, also.
Depending on the size of the area to be treated, the time required to perform liposuction can vary. There are several techniques that can be used to improve the ease of the procedure and to enhance the outcome of the procedure. Through a tiny incision, a tube is inserted and used to vacuum the fat that lies deep beneath the skin. The tube (or cannula) is pushed and pulled through the fat lawyer breaking up the fat cells and sucking them out. Since fluid is lost as the fat is suctioned out, it is crucial that the fluids be replaced during the liposuction to prevent shock. Patients must be carefully monitored and receive I.V. fluids during and immediately after the procedure.
Liposuction is a normally safe procedure as long as patients are carefully selected and the physician is properly trained in liposuction procedures. But, like with any surgery, there is the possibility of complications including infection, blood clots, excessive fluid loss, friction burns or other damage to the skin and unfavorable drug reactions. Your doctor will discuss these with you prior to the procedure.
What to Expect Post Surgery
You will likely experience some fluid drainage from your incisions, and a small drainage tube may be inserted for a couple of days to prevent fluid build-up. You may be fitted with an elastic garment to control swelling and to help your skin better fit its new contours. Antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent infection.
After liposuction, your surgeon will probably encourage you to walk around to reduce swelling and to help prevent blood clots from forming in your legs. After a week or two, you should feel better and should be back to work within a few days after your surgery. The stitches dissolve or are removed within ten days after surgery. You should avoid strenuous activity for at least a month. By eating healthy and exercising you should be able to maintain you new and improved shape for years to come.