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What does liposuction involve
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What does liposuction involve

18th Feb 2018

Liposuction is a plastic surgery procedure to correct unaesthetic body imperfections determined by the accumulation of fat pockets in certain areas of the body. With the help of liposuction, the plastic surgeon turns fat into liquid and removes it from the body.

This procedure is one of the least invasive plastic surgery interventions and also safe and quite easy. It should be performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon with an eye for detail and with a strong aesthetic sense.

Liposuction is NOT:

– A correction method for cellulite or stretch marks;

– A correction method for the whole body;

– A treatment for obesity;

– A weight control method;

A method to be used when large amounts of fat need to be extracted from the body.

Types and roles of adipose tissue

There are two main types of fat: subcutaneous fat and visceral fat. The adipose cells are localized under the surface of the skin and its inferior tissue. The visceral adipose tissue is localized inside the body’s cavity. The fat layer under the skin can be deep or superficial. During liposuction, a small tube called a cannula is used to dislodge and suction fat. This can reach up to the level of the deep subcutaneous fat in order to reduce this layer. However, liposuction can’t be used to eliminate visceral fat.

Each cell of the body has a specific function that is vital to the health and well-being of the body. Adipose cells have the main purpose to deposit unused energy reserves accumulated from the foods that we eat. The body uses the fat layer for thermic isolation, shock absorption, and as a source of energy.

The specific areas of fat accumulation depend on the type and structure of the body. This is mostly determined by genetic factors, but also by the sex of the person. In men, the fat tends to accumulate on the chest, abdomen, and buttocks. In women, the areas frequently confronted with fat accumulation are the breasts, hips, abdomen and thighs.

The aesthetic or cosmetic reasons for undergoing liposuction are:

– The remodeling of the body contour;

– Treating gynecomastia (overdevelopment of male breasts);

Removing fat tumors.

A proper liposuction must ensure the following:

– Eliminate just the right amount of fat for the patient’s safety;

– Minimize the damaging effects of the cannula and the surgical vacuum over the surrounding tissues, the blood vessels, and the conjunctive tissues;

– Maintain the balance of body fluids before and after the procedure;

– Minimize the patient’s discomfort.

Not everyone is a good candidate for liposuction, despite public belief. First and foremost, liposuction is an intervention performed on an elective basis. This means that the patient should have a normal weight that has been stable for at least six months, in good health with a stable emotional condition, and with realistic expectations when it comes to the results.

There are several factors that are decisive for the success of the intervention, such as the age, weight, general health condition and skin elasticity of the patient, as well as the talent, skills, and experience of the plastic surgeon.

Contraindications

– Taking anticoagulant medication two weeks prior to surgery;

– Smoking before the intervention. Your plastic surgeon will advise you to quit smoking for at least a month before and after your intervention as it can cause skin and fat tissue necrosis;

– A weak immune system;

– Cardiac or pulmonary conditions that are chronic or severe.

Results

If you have a look online at before and after pictures of liposuction patients, you will notice that the results achieve vary from patient to patient. The best results can be achieved when targeting the waist, hips, thighs, and abdomen.

While abdominal liposuction is one of the most requested liposuction procedures and can provide impressive results under normal conditions, there are cases when it can lead to less satisfactory results. This usually happens when the patient has a significant fat deposit on the tummy that can’t be removed properly during just one session of liposuction. In this case, the patient can be left with asymmetries, lumps, and bumps on the area treated with liposuction.

In some cases, to achieve superior results it is recommended to perform the liposuction procedure in several stages, especially if the patient wants to re-contour a larger area of the body or multiple areas. However, to perform liposuction on the same area you will need at least six months in between the sessions. The body needs this time to heal properly.

The results of liposuction can be easily sustained for a long period of time, if the patient is dedicated to maintaining a constant weight. Liposuction is not a substitute for diet and physical exercise, and requires a healthy diet and regular exercise in order for the results to be enjoyed for longer or permanently.

Types of anesthesia

Nowadays it is only in rare cases that the plastic surgeon will choose to perform liposuction under general anesthetic. The tumescent liposuction is the new golden rule when it comes to performing the procedure.

Different types of anesthesia that can be used during the procedure are: general anesthetic, epidural anesthetic, and local anesthetic with sedation for the comfort of the patient. The plastic surgeon will decide upon the most appropriate type of liposuction after taking into consideration multiple aspects such as the amount of fat to be removed, the health condition of the patient, the dimensions of the patient’s body, and the chosen liposuction technique.

After the liposuction procedure

To facilitate the recovery, your plastic surgeon will recommend massages and even cryotherapy. Lymphatic massage will help your body heal faster and also has other benefits such as:

– Body detox;

– An improvement in lymph circulation;

– An improvement of blood circulation;

– Reduced inflammation and swelling;

– Improved functions of the respiratory, muscular, and endocrine system.

There are certain parts of the body where your plastic surgeon won’t recommend the liposuction procedure to be performed. One of these areas is the lateral part of the breasts. You should ask all the information necessary from your plastic surgeon prior to scheduling the procedure. The risks and complications of liposuction are not as major as in the case of more complex plastic surgery interventions. However, when considering plastic surgery there is always a risk.

After discussing all the details with your plastic surgeon, you should also ask if he recommends other procedures to be performed at the same time. These include tummy tuck, breast reduction surgery, mastopexy, body lift, or face lift, among others.

Some patients are interested in a lipo-abdominoplasty procedure. This is an intervention that combines liposuction with the tummy tuck, and it is used to modify the body contour both through the elimination of fat pockets and also the removal of excess skin on the stomach.

Liposuction is not an efficient tool to use when the patient has poor skin condition. Removing a large quantity of fat can lead to skin sagginess, especially in older patients.

Conclusion

Liposuction is a commonly performed procedure nowadays. While some people tend to believe they know everything about the procedure even before going to the plastic surgeon’s office for the initial consultations, there is always information you can find out only from your surgeon about what liposuction involves.

During liposuction, the plastic surgeon will use small cannulas connected to a surgical vacuum machine to dislodge and make the fat fluid so it can easily be suctioned. In some cases, the plastic surgeon will recommend multiple sessions of liposuction so the patient can achieve superior results. It can even be combined with other procedures such as the tummy tuck, breast reduction, breast lift, or a body lift.

The anesthesia used during liposuction is either general anesthesia or local anesthesia with sedation. Nowadays, the most used is the tumescent liposuction technique that is safer, has multiple benefits, and provides a faster recovery process.


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