Liposuction: Things you should know

A type of cosmetic surgery that breaks up and “sucks” fat from the body is liposuction, also called lipoplasty, liposculpture suction, lipectomy, or lipo.

It is commonly used on the arms, calves, and back of the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, neck, chin, upper and lower back.

By means of a hollow instrument known as a cannula, the fat is removed. This is inserted under the skin. A powerful, high-pressure vacuum is applied to the cannula.

The most regular cosmetic operation in the United States is liposuction. Per year, more than 300,000 procedures are conducted in the United States, with costs ranging from around $2,000-3,500.

Important facts about liposuction

On liposuction, below are several key points. More information is in the main article.

  • Normally, the procedure is done under general anesthesia.
  • Liposuction is a cosmetic procedure with subtle effects, not a weight loss method.
  • Risks include infection and scarring
  • To treat certain medical problems, liposuction may be used.

What is liposuction?

Liposuction

In general, people who undergo liposuction have a stable body weight but want to eliminate undesirable body fat deposits in particular areas of the body.

Liposuction is not an overall procedure for weight reduction. It does not constitute a treatment for obesity.

Cellulite, dimples, or stretch marks are not removed by the procedure. The goal is aesthetic. It suits those who want to alter the contour of their body and improve it.

Liposuction eliminates fat cells indefinitely, altering the body’s shape. However, there is a possibility that the remaining fat cells will grow bigger if the patient does not lead a healthy lifestyle after the procedure.

The amount of fat which can be removed safely is limited.

There are some dangers, including infection, numbness, and scarring. Lumpiness or dents in the skin can occur if too much fat is removed. It appears that the surgical risks are related to the amount of fat removed.

Uses

Instead of having some physical health advantages, liposuction is used solely to enhance appearance. By following a healthier lifestyle, with a balanced diet, daily exercise, and a healthy sleep schedule, most individuals would likely produce the same or better results.

Liposuction is usually recommended only if the desired effects have not been obtained by lifestyle changes. It can treat regions of fat that are resistant to diet and exercise.

Each fat cell increases in size and volume when a person gains weight. In isolated regions, liposuction decreases the number of fat cells.

Before deciding on whether to continue, people can discuss the pros and cons of liposuction with their doctor. Liposuction must only be carried out after thoughtful thought.

The effects are subtle instead of dramatic.

For liposuction treatment, the following body areas are commonly targeted:

Liposuction is cosmetic, rather than focused on health.
  • abdomen
  • back
  • buttocks
  • chest
  • inner knees
  • hips
  • flanks (love handles)
  • neckline and the area under the chin
  • thighs, both “saddlebags,” or outer thighs, and inner thighs
  • upper arms

For those with good skin tone and elasticity, where the skin molds itself into new contours, liposuction works best.

People whose skin lacks elasticity in areas where the procedure has been performed can end up with loose-looking skin.

The person needs to be in good health and over 18 years of age. There should be no liposuction for people with circulation or blood flow issues, such as coronary artery disease, diabetes, or a compromised immune system.

Advantages

Normally, liposuction is used for aesthetic reasons, but often it is used to treat those conditions.

They include:

  • Lymphedema: A chronic or long-term condition in which tissues absorb excess fluid known as lymph, causing edema or swelling. The edema typically takes place in the arms or legs. To minimize swelling, discomfort, and pain, liposuction is often used.
  • Gynecomastia: Fat accumulates under the breasts of a man occasionally.
  • Lipodystrophy syndrome: In one part of the body, fat accumulates and is lost in another. Liposuction can enhance the appearance of the patient by providing a distribution of body fat that appears more normal.
  • Extreme weight loss after obesity: To remove excess skin and other irregularities, a person with morbid obesity who loses at least 40 percent of their BMI may need therapy.
  • Lipomas: These are fatty, benign tumors.

Operation

Patients would need to undergo certain health checks before the procedure to guarantee that they are fit for surgery.

They can make the following recommendations.

  • People who take aspirin and anti-inflammatory medications on a daily basis should avoid taking them at least 2 weeks before the surgery.
  • Females may be asked to stop taking the pill for contraceptives.
  • It is possible to suggest patients with anemia to take iron supplements.

A consent form will need to be signed by the person. This confirms that the risks, advantages and potential alternatives to the treatment are well known to them.

Operation period

Liposuction operation
It takes about 1-4 hours to perform the operation.

Before the operation, patients can undergo a general anesthetic which can last for 1 to 4 hours.

An epidural can be used on the lower body for treatment. In this situation, the anesthetic is inserted across the spine into the epidural space surrounding the dura, or fluid-filled sac. This numbs the abdomen and legs partially.

When liposuction is performed on very small areas, a local anesthetic may be used.

If only local anesthesia is needed by the patient, they might be asked to stand up during the operation to ensure proper removal of fat.

A variety of methods of liposuction exist.

Tumescent liposuction: In the region to be suctioned, several liters of a saline solution with a local anaesthetic (lidocaine) and a vessel-constrictor (epinephrine) are pumped under the skin. Through tiny suction tubes, the fat is suctioned, or sucked out. The most common method of liposuction is this.

Dry liposuction: Before the fat is extracted, no fluid is injected. Today, this procedure is rarely used. A greater risk of bruising and bleeding is present.

Ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL): The cannula is energized with ultrasound, also referred to as ultrasonic liposuction. This, on touch, makes the fat melt away. The vibrations of the ultrasound burst the fat cells’ walls. This emulsifies, or liquified, the fat, making it easier to suction out. For fibrous areas, such as the male breast, back, and in areas where liposuction has been performed before, this method is suitable.

Suction-assisted liposuction is performed after ultrasonic liposuction to eliminate the liquefied fat.

Power-assisted liposuction (PAS): Often referred to as powered liposuction, PAS uses a specialized cannula with a mechanized mechanism that swings back and forth quickly, making it easier for the surgeon to take out fat.

Laser Assisted Lipolysis (LAL): This technique involves the use of tumescent fluid, also known as laser-guided lipo. It is a less invasive and bloody procedure than the traditional method of liposuction to remove fat. A small tube is inserted into the fat that is under the skin through a small incision to deliver laser energy and heat.

The surgeon can keep the incisions open after the operation so that excess fluid and blood may drain out of the body.

After the operation

After the liposuction operation
The patient might experience numbness in certain areas after the operation.
  • Anesthetic: Normally, those with a general anesthetic spend the night in the hospital. In the same day, those with a local anaesthetic might be able to leave the hospital.
  • Support bandages: For the targeted area, either an elasticated support corset or bandages will be fitted.
  • Antibiotics: These may be administered immediately following surgery.
  • Painkillers: Analgesics can assist in pain and inflammation reduction.
  • Stitches: At a follow-up consultation, the surgeon will remove the stitches.
  • Bruising: In the targeted area, severe bruising can occur.
  • Numbness: In the region where fat has been removed, there may be numbness. In 6 to 8 weeks, this should improve.

Results

Until the inflammation goes down, the effects of liposuction will not be apparent. This may take several months in some cases. After around 4 weeks, much of the swelling settles, and the region where fat has been extracted should look less voluminous.

Typically, individuals who control their weight should expect irreversible outcomes. Those who gain weight after the procedure will find that the distribution of their fat alters. Many who previously had fat accumulating in their hips could discover that the new problem area is their buttocks.

Risks

The risk of bleeding, infection and an adverse reaction to anesthesia is present in every major operation.

The risk of side effects is commonly associated with how big the procedure is, as well as the surgeon’s skills and specific training.

There may be the following risks, adverse side effects, or complications:

  • Severe bruising: This could last for several weeks.
  • Inflammation: It can take up to 6 months for the swelling to resolve, and fluid from the incisions may continue to ooze.
  • Thrombophlebitis: In a vein, a blood clot forms, causing inflammation and additional complications.
  • Irregularity of the contour: If there is poor elasticity of the skin, if the wound heals in an irregular way, or if the removal of fat is uneven, the skin may look withered, wavy or bumpy.
  • Numbness: For a while, the affected area can feel numb, but this is usually temporary.
  • Infections: Occasionally, following liposuction surgery, a skin infection can occur. This needs to be done surgically often, with the risk of scarring.
  • Punctures of the internal organs: This is very unusual.
  • Death: A slight chance of death is involved in anesthesia.
  • Kidney or heart problems: The change in the body’s fluid levels can cause kidney or heart problems as fluids are injected and or sucked.
  • Pulmonary embolism: Fat gets into the blood vessels and travels to the lungs, blocking the circulation in the lungs. This can be potentially life-threatening.
  • Pulmonary edema: Often, it accumulates in the lungs as fluid is injected into the body.
  • Allergic reaction: drugs or products used during surgery can be allergic to the patient.
  • Skin burns: The motion of the cannula can cause the skin or nerves to burn with friction.

Many who are most pleased with the outcomes appear to be the individuals who carefully consider the pros and cons beforehand, who are aware of what to expect, who select a professional and competent surgeon, and who carefully negotiate the specifics with their surgeon.

Sources

  • HIV and lipodystrophy. (2016, November 18)
    (LINK)
  • Hotta, T. A. (2015, April/June). Plastic surgical and nonsurgical procedure statistics 2014. Plastic Surgical Nursing. Volume 35 – Issue 2 – p 53–54
    (LINK)
  • Liposuction. (n.d.)
    (LINK)
  • What are the benefits and risks of liposuction? (LINK)
  • Liposuction. (2016, May 19)
    (LINK)
  • Liposuction: Overview. (2016, November 29)
    (LINK)
  • Liposuction: What you can expect. (2016, November 29)
    (LINK)
  • Surgery risks. (n.d.)
    (LINK)
  • Treating lymphoedema. (2016, November 13)
    (LINK)

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