What is Liposuction Surgery?Liposuction, sometimes referred to as “lipo” by patients, slims and reshapes areas of the body by removing excess fat and improving body contours. Liposuction, also called lipoplasty, liposculpture suction, lipectomy, or lipo, is a type of cosmetic surgery that breaks up and “sucks” fat from the body. Liposuction isn’t typically considered an overall weight-loss method or a weight-loss alternative.Liposuction is a cosmetic procedure that removes fat that you can’t seem to get rid of through diet and exercise. You may be a candidate for liposuction if you have too much body fat in specific spots but otherwise have a stable body weight. Liposuction is a surgical procedure that uses a suction technique to remove fat from specific areas of the body and also shapes (contours) these areas. The following body areas are commonly targeted for liposuction treatment:
- inner knees
- flanks (love handles)
- neckline and the area under the chin
- thighs, both “saddlebags,” or outer thighs, and inner thighs
- upper arms
Am I a Good Candidate?As a patient you should have realistic expectations. Liposuction is a surgical procedure, and with it comes risks. So you need to be in good health before you get it. That means you must at least:
- You should not have health problems such as high blood pressure or have heart disease, diabetes or a weak immune system.
- You should be within 30% of your ideal weight.
- You must have firm, elastic skin.
- You have to quit smoking weeks before.
Pre- Operative Care:Before the procedure, discuss with your surgeon what to expect from the surgery. Your surgeon will review your medical history, and ask about any medical conditions you may have and any medications, supplements or herbs you may be taking.
Your surgeon will recommend that you stop taking certain medications, such as blood thinners or NSAIDs, at least three weeks prior to surgery. You may also need to get certain lab tests before your procedure such as blood tests.
Types of LiposuctionPatients may receive a general anesthesia before the procedure, which can last for 1 to 4 hours.
An epidural may be used for treatments on the lower body. In this case, the anesthesia is injected into the epidural space surrounding the dura, or fluid-filled sac, around the spine. This partially numbs the abdomen and legs. A local anesthesia might be used when liposuction is done on very small areas.
There are just a few different liposuction techniques. But what they all have in common is the use of a thin tube, called a cannula, connected to a vacuum to suction the fat from your body.
Tumescent liposuction:Several liters of a saline solution with a local anesthesia (lignoocaine) and a vessel-constrictor (epinephrine) are pumped below the skin in the area that is to be suctioned. The fat is suctioned, or sucked out, through small suction tubes. This is the most popular form of liposuction.
Ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL):Also known as ultrasonic liposuction, the cannula is energized with ultrasound. It uses sound wave energy under your skin to rupture the cell walls of the fat. This liquefies the fat so it can be suctioned out. This method is suitable for fibrous areas, such as the male breast, back, and in areas where liposuction has been done before. After ultrasonic liposuction, suction-assisted liposuction is done to remove the liquefied fat.
Dry liposuction:No fluid is injected before the fat is removed. This method is seldom used today. There is a higher risk of bruising and bleeding.
Laser-assisted liposuction (LAL):Also known as laser-guided lipo or SmartLipo, this procedure requires the use of tumescent fluid. It uses a laser to produce a burst of energy to liquefy the fat. It is a less invasive and bloody procedure than the traditional liposuction method for removing fat. A small tube is inserted through a small incision to deliver laser energy and heat into the fat that is under the skin.
Power-assisted liposuction (PAS):Also known as powered liposuction, PAS uses a specialized cannula with a mechanized system that rapidly moves back-and-forth, allowing the surgeon to pull out fat more easily. After the operation, the surgeon may leave the incisions open so that excess fluid and blood can drain from the body.
Post-Operative Care:Anesthesia: Those who have a general anesthesia usually spend the night in hospital. Those who had a local anesthesia may be able to leave hospital on the same day. Support bandages: Either an elasticated support corset or bandages will be fitted for the targeted area.
- Antibiotics may be given immediately after the operation.
- Painkillers can help relieve pain and inflammation.
- The surgeon will remove the stitches in a follow-up appointment.
- Significant bruising may occur in the targeted area.
- There may be numbness in the area where fat was removed. This should improve in 6 to 8 weeks.