LIPOSUCTION – FACTS AND MYTHS
Liposuction, also called lipoplasty or suction-assisted lipectomy (SAL) or liposculpturing, removes deposits of excess fat from specific areas of your body or face.
For millions of people who are striving to improve their appearance and bodies, liposuction can be a dream come true as it can remove fat that exercise cannot reach.
For example, it can slim your hips and thighs, flatten your abdomen, shape your arms or calves or eliminate a double chin.
Liposuction is well-suited for men and women with either relatively normal weight with isolated pockets of fat or overweight individuals. It is particularly effective for areas that do not respond to diet and exercise.
Liposuction can be performed at any age, but older patients with inelastic skin may also require skin tightening procedure for optimum results.
Liposuction can be performed on patients with existing medical problems such as diabetes, hypertension etc. The existing medical condition must be well under control and the primary physician managing the condition should be consulted prior to surgery. The type of anaesthesia and extent of surgery may be modified. Similarly, the experience and skill of your cosmetic surgeon is paramount to ensure a safe and optimum result.
Liposuction can be performed to contour thighs, hips & buttocks, abdomen & waist, chest area (especially male breasts or gynaecomastia), back, upper arms, calves & ankles and cheeks & neck. Often many different areas can be treated during a single operation.
Liposuction is performed in an operation theater under suitable anaesthesia. Prior to performing liposuction, fluid is instilled into the area/s to be suctioned to facilitate removal of fat (“super-wet” or “tumescent” technique). Fat is removed by inserting small hollow tube (cannula), through one or more tiny incisions near the specified area. Incisions are usually 1 to 1.5cm in length and are placed as inconspicuously as possible, often within skin creases or contour lines.
After fat removal, the incisions are generally closed. The liposuctioned area is then covered with a customized pressure garment to assist and accelerate the healing process and achieve the desired contour.
It is important to realize that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies from patient to patient and on the extent of surgery. The day after surgery, you must move around to promote blood circulation. You can resume normal non-strenuous activities in 2 to 3 days. Your dressings will be removed after 5 to 7 days so that your cosmetic surgeon can examine the treated areas. You will have some swelling and bruising, which subside by 10 to 14 days. Typically, stitches are removed by 10 days after surgery.
The pressure garment must be worn for at least 4 to 6 weeks.
You may be able to resume most of your normal work within 5 to 7 days after surgery and begin some form of exercise after 2 to 3 weeks.
The healing process is gradual, so you should expect to wait a while before fully enjoying the results of liposuction. Regular gentle to moderate massage (as advised by doctor) of the liposuctioned area will facilitate faster and smoother recovery.
Liposuction is ideally a body contouring procedure (“inches” loss) and weight loss is merely a by-product of the procedure. The weight loss is apparent after the fluid retention and swelling settles and varies from patient to patient.
Occasionally, a touchup may be desired to further improve an area that has been liposuctioned.
The results of liposuction will be permanent as long as you maintain your post-operative weight. Regular exercise and balanced diet will also go a long way to maintaining your results of liposuction.