Liposuction is a very common procedure for fat removal. The passage of time and the effects of gravity, coupled with weight fluctuations and pregnancy, take their toll on the body. The abdomen often becomes slack, the chin and neck can lose their definition, the arms become droopy and lumpy, and the buttocks and thighs may become saggy. Even with exercise and a healthy diet, some fat resists attack. Unsightly bulges and poorly fitting clothing can become frustrating.
Liposuction is used to remove the superficial layer of fat rather than the deep one. Some areas of the body respond better to liposuction. The most common areas of the body where liposuction is performed are on the abdomen, hips, thighs, arms, neck, chin, back, and flanks. Liposuction is also used for male breast reduction and the treatment of gynecomastia. The removal of unwanted, localized fat by suction technique is a surgical procedure that offers an improved body contour with minimal scarring. Body fat removal also can be a complementary treatment to surgical procedures to improve body contour, such as an abdominoplasty tummy tuck or body lifts to the arms or thigh.
Liposuction, explained in its simplest terms, is removing fat via a cannula (a hollow tube) and an aspirator (a vacuum). The different techniques developed for this basic procedure have to do with the amount of fluid injection and the mechanisms by which the cannula works.
Suction-assisted liposuction (SAL) This is the standard method of liposuction surgery. A small cannula is used and inserted through a small incision. This is then attached to a vacuum device. The surgeon pushes and pulls it in a forwards and backwards motion, carefully breaking through the fat layer and drawing out the fat cells. Power-assisted liposuction (PAL) This technique uses a specialized cannula that has a mechanized movement. This means the surgeon doesn’t have to make as many manual movements but it is otherwise similar to traditional SAL.
Because the skin must mold itself to new contours following surgery, candidates for liposuction are generally physically active, near their ideal weight and have good skin tone and elasticity. If the skin is thin and loose with poor elasticity, the skin in the areas treated with liposuction will often appear loose. For people who are moderately overweight, liposuction can provide the motivation to lose weight. The best time to have liposuction is when weight has been stable for as long as 6 months. The reason is that a person who has liposuction during a period of weight gain would likely develop fat deposits in untreated areas.
It’s important for patients to understand that liposuction is not a weight-loss alternative, but rather a way to treat isolated areas of fat that are resistant to exercise and diet in order to enhance the natural contours of the body and improve the appearance of a person’s figure. Patients typically report that they do not lose much weight with liposuction, but rather lose inches, which results in their clothing fitting better.
Liposuction may reduce cellulite to some degree but it does not eliminate it. This procedure only removes fat found in deeper skin layers while cellulite forms right under the skin’s surface.
In Liposuction procedures, very rarely are big scars a problem. You will have small incisions in the areas the fat was removed from. Those incisions usually require 2 stitches at most and are fully healed by 6 months of surgery.
Liposuction is perfect for the elimination of areas with stubborn pockets of fat, which most often tend to present themselves in the following areas: ● Hips ● Stomach ● Arms ● Thighs ● Legs ● Buttocks ● Knees ● Arms ● Chin ● Neck
It’s extremely important that you fill out your paperwork correctly regarding any medications or supplements you take as they might interfere with the smoothness and safety of your surgery. Also, if you’re a smoker, you should stop smoking at least 15 days prior to your procedure.
Liposuction has a relatively easy recovery period. Most patients are able to return to work somewhere between 2 days and 2 weeks. A compression garment is usually worn for 2 to 4 weeks. Pain is controlled by a prescription or over the counter medication and may persist for as long as 2 weeks, depending on the procedure used. Swelling will take anywhere from 2 weeks to several months to fully dissipate. Numbness may persist for anywhere from several days to several weeks, again, depending upon the procedure. In general, normal activity can be resumed within a week, though in some cases it takes several weeks.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with routine exercise & diet is equally as important after liposuction. Although the fat will not return to the treated areas, but if you don’t maintain a healthy diet or exercise plan, any remaining fat cells can enlarge, making it appear as if the fat has returned. In addition, with weight gain, fat can be re-distributed to other areas of the body. For example, if the abdomen and hips were the areas suctioned, the thighs or buttocks may become problem areas, if weight is gained after surgery.
Final results are usually evident within a month though in some cases it can take up to a full 3-6 months to really be able to see them.