Liposuction is one of the most common cosmetic surgery procedures designed for the permanent removal of fatty tissue. It is an elective operation in which the cosmetic surgeon removes undesirable, subcutaneous fat in isolated areas that may not respond to diet and exercise. These areas include the hips, thighs, abdomen, knees, ankles, face and neck.
Who can benefit from Liposuction?
Liposuction is most successful in people with good skin tone who have fatty deposits. It is not a treatment for obesity. If weight gain occurs following liposuction, the fat will be deposited in areas that have not been treated. The procedure can be repeated, if necessary. To maintain the safety of the procedure, there is a limit on how much fat can be removed at one time.
How is Liposuction performed?
Liposuction is done under general anesthesia on an outpatient basis at a surgical center. The surgeon makes small discreet incisions in the areas to be treated. A cannula is inserted in a small incision and attached to a suction machine. The procedure may take an hour or more, depending on how many areas are involved.
Benefits and limitations of Liposuction
Body contours made irregular by fat can be improved by this procedure. Liposuction cannot correct contours that are irregular for other reasons, such as muscle weakness or hernia. However, combined with other procedures, liposuction can correct these other deformities with good results.
Recovering from Liposuction
Recovery from liposuction is relatively easy. Expect a fair amount of swelling and bruising in the following two weeks. You will wear special garments provided to apply pressure, minimize swelling and provide support while healing. These garments also assist in retraction of the skin. The stitches are dissolvable and will fall out on their own in a week to 10 days.
Results are recognizable almost immediately and you will continue to see improvement as swelling subsides. The day after surgery you should be up and walking around. Increase your activity daily until full activity is resumed at two-to-four-weeks. You will be ready to return to office work in three-to-five days and more active employment at 10-14 days. Avoid the sun until all bruising has subsided. A sunscreen should be used routinely as it is easy to get sunburned during recovery because of decreased sensation.
Risks and complications of Liposuction
As with any surgical procedure, complications can occur. Cosmetic complications include contour irregularities, skin discoloration, asymmetry, scar tissue, tape burns, collection of blood or fluid under the skin. Uncommon complications include loss of sensation, skin breakdown, fat embolism serious infection or shock. Bleeding does occur during liposuction. There is a limit to the amount of fat that can be safely removed in a given procedure.
Following liposuction, the scar will go through a maturation process—during the first 8-12 weeks they may be red and possibly raised. The scars will mature over 6-12 months and become pale, flat and soft. You may experience numbness, burning, tingling around the incision site. These symptoms are almost always temporary.