Liposuction is a technique to remove unwanted or excessive fat from areas of the body. Commonly, this is from the abdomen, flanks and thighs. It is also done in gynaecomastia, breast reduction, abdominoplasty as an adjunct procedure.
Candidates for surgery
The best candidates for surgery are ones who have a relatively normal weight, are fit and have only slight areas of excess bulges of fat. It helps to have firm elastic skin as this shrinks after liposuction and reduces the possibility of redundant skin after liposuction.
Liposuction can improve your appearance but, as in all cosmetic surgery, there should be a realistic expectation on what can be achieved. It is not an exact operation and a perfect result can not be guaranteed. It doesn’t improve cellulite.
In this visit, an assessment of the quantities and location of excess bulges will be evaluated. The options of surgery i.e. suitability for liposuction or otherwise will be discussed.
Cessation of smoking will be emphasized. Previous surgical history will be discussed.
You will be provided the information discussed during the consultation and a two-week period given to reflect on and decide about proceeding for surgery.
Preparation for surgery
Specific instructions will be given for preparation. This will include cessation of smoking, stopping aspirin or non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (brufen, nurofen, voltarol etc.). Unless it is a localized procedure, an overnight stay or two may be required following surgery. This is to keep you comfortable following the procedure and to check for any extensive bruising.
You will be asked to bring compression garments i.e. knee length cycling shorts to be used to support the areas treated and reduce bruising to a minimum.
Depending on the amount of liposuction required, the procedure can take up to an hour. Usually this is done under a general anaesthetic.
Small incisions are made in discrete locations, preferably distant from the area to be treated. This allows the small tubes to be inserted and remove the fat with suction. These are left open and dressed with a small dressing. They heal with minimal scarring. The wounds ooze small amount of fluid for a few days before settling.
Unless a very small area is being treated, the procedure is done under a general anaesthetic.
Immediately after surgery the treated area will be dressed with a compression bandage.
You will be requested to wear a firm compression garment continuously for a couple of weeks. This will help with the bruising, keep the area comfortable and improve the re-contouring of the redundant skin to its new shape. Showering will be allowed from day three or four.
There will be extensive bruising in the operated area with some associated discomfort. This should be kept under control with regular analgesics. Numbness in the area is common but should settle with time.
You should mobilize as soon as comfortable. Return to work is dependent on your comfort level, but is usually possible by 5-7 days.
Liposuction is effective in re-contouring the body but needs to maintained with sensible diet and regular exercise.
It takes some time to achieve the final proportional look as the redundant skin shrinks back into its normal position and bruising settles.
All surgery carries some uncertainty and risk. Liposuction is normally a safe procedure. Nevertheless, in rare circumstances, the procedure may cause significant bruising especially if large areas are treated simultaneously. Occasionally fluid can accumulate under the skin (seroma formation) which may require drainage.
The scars from liposuction are usually minimal and strategically placed so as not to be easily visible. Rarely, there may be residual loose skin after the procedure. This is usually from poor shrinkage due reduced elasticity of the skin. It can take up to a year to settle and may occasionally require surgery to remove.