Liposuction is a surgical procedure that utilizes suction techniques to reduce the number of fat cells in areas like the abdomen, hips, thighs, buttocks and arms. It is also done to contour or shape these areas to make them more proportionate to the body. Individuals who usually undergo this procedure are those who want to get rid of stubborn fat that cannot be removed through diet and exercise.
Liposuction requires an individual to be in a generally healthy state without conditions like diabetes, restricted blood flow and a weak immune system that raise the risk for complications during surgery and recovery. Candidates should also have firm elastic skin and within their 30% ideal weight.
It is also important for patients to have realistic expectations before undergoing liposuction. They should be aware of what the procedure can do and what it cannot do. For example, liposuction is not an instant weight loss method, nor does it get rid of cellulite and stretchmarks.
Techniques in Liposuction
Techniques used vary depending on the surgeon’s expertise and the patient’s individual conditions; but they generally share a commonality in their use of a thin tube (cannula) that is connected to a vacuum to suction the fat from the body. Some of them include:
- Ultrasound-assisted liposuction – Known as VASER liposuction, this technique uses sound waves beneath the skin to break down fat cells. Compared to traditional liposuction, this one is gentler and is more suited to removing smaller fat deposits and contouring the muscles. Due to its minimally invasive nature, VASER liposuction has a quicker recovery.
- Laser-assisted liposuction – This type of liposuction uses laser to liquefy fat before being suctioned out of the body. It is also minimally invasive, which allows for speedy healing and less complications.
- Tumescent Liposuction – By injecting a sterile solution into the area where the fat will be removed, suctioning the fat will be easier with less blood loss and pain.
What to Expect
On the day of liposuction, the surgeon will draw markings on the areas that contain the fat to be removed. Photos will be taken to allow for comparison before and after the surgery. The exact technique used will depend on the surgeon’s expertise and assessment of the patient’s condition and goals.
A local or regional anaesthesia will be administered to the specific part of the body to be treated. There are also cases when surgeons will use general anaesthesia to put the patient in a temporary state of unconsciousness. The procedure can take several hours depending on the amount of fat to be removed. During surgery, the patient’s heart rate, blood pressure and blood oxygen are also monitored.
Temporary pain, swelling and bruising are expected after liposuction. The surgeon will prescribe appropriate medicines to mitigate the pain and antibiotics to minimize the chances of infection. In some cases, the incision will be kept open and attached to drainage tubes to drain the fluids. It will take a few weeks before the patient is cleared to return to his or her regular activities.
Irregularities on the shape of the skin are also common immediately after the procedure as the remaining fat settles.
Consulting specialists with in-depth knowledge is recommended to lower the risk of complications. The results of liposuction can last for a long time as long as the patient maintains an ideal weight.