Liposuction

Liposuction ABROAD

Procedure: Liposuction improves body shape by means of a cannula (tube) and vacuum (‘suction’) system to remove unwanted fat deposits that don’t respond to dieting and exercise. The deposit sites include the cheeks, chin, neck, upper arms, chest, abdomen, buttocks, hips, thighs ( inner and outer) and knees.
Duration of procedure: 1 – 2 hours or more, depending on the coverage area to be treated.
Anaesthesia: Depending on the extent of the treatment, local anaesthetic with sedation, or general anaesthetic is used.
In/Out Patient: Usually an outpatient procedure. More extensive procedures may require a short inpatient stay at the Recovery Retreat.
Postoperative: Temporary bruising, swelling, numbness and soreness.
Recovery: Return to work after 4 – 5 days, and to more strenuous activity after 2 – 4 weeks.
Swelling and bruising: Takes 2 – 6 weeks to subside.It is most important to massage the operative sites with Surgeons Choice tissue oil.
Results: A permanent improvement to the body contours treated.
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General

Liposuction is a safe, simple, surgical procedure for reduction of body contours by removing fat cells. It was originally developed for the torso and thighs, but can now be applied to most areas of the body. It is particularly effective in contouring the area beneath the chin, and can be done in conjunction with face lifting.

In the tumescent technique, which causes the least pain and postoperative bruising, an incision of 4 mm – 6 mm is made close to the area from which fat is to be removed. A specially designed surgical cannula (tube), which is connected to a vacuum pump, is inserted via the incision into the fatty area, and manipulated subcutaneously while extracting fat by suction.

Liposuction is not a substitute for a healthy diet, and neither is it effective for reducing weight. I mention these points because some patients might expect a notable weight loss to be possible via localised fat removal. This is in fact not possible.

The following questions about liposuction are frequently asked:

Why is there fat only in certain areas?

Fat distribution is determined by hereditary factors and one’s diet. Heredity determines where and how many individual fat cells develop, and these characteristics do not change after puberty. Diet will influence the amount of fat in each cell – but not the total number of cells or their distribution. If you inherited a large number of fat cells on your thighs and a small number of fat cells on your chest, you’ll always have more fat on your thighs than on your chest. Determined efforts to lose weight loss will invariably result in a slender upper body and unremittingly big thighs.

Will liposuction greatly affect my appearance?

Your appearance after liposuction is largely determined by your age, weight, overall skin condition and general state of health, hormonal influences and other factors. Every patient is unique; I’ll discuss in detail how these factors apply specifically to you during the consultation.

Patients might experience contour irregularities in the treated areas afterwards, but this is usually temporary and rarely permanent. Symmetry is the aim, but small differences can occur between the left and right sides. Bear in mind that no one is perfectly symmetrical. Every effort will be made to minimise side-to-side dissimilarity, but these differences invariably persist to some extent, even after the most successful operation.

Are the results permanent?

Because actual fat cells are removed, the results are permanent – there will always be less fat in the treated areas after liposuction. Weight gain after liposuction will tend to cause fat to be deposited in areas other than those treated.

About one in twenty patients receives secondary treatment or a touch-up after six months, usually to remove additional fat. This can be done with local anaesthetic if the area is not extensive, which we’ll discuss in detail.

Is it true that people with loose skin can’t have liposuction?

Some people have inherently loose muscles and skin, whether there is excess fat or not, and they will need additional procedures such as a tummy tuck and thigh lift. During consultation, I’ll evaluate your muscle and skin tone as well as the way that your body fat is placed.

Can my cellulite also be treated?

The term ‘cellulite’ has no clear medical meaning. People tend to think use it refers to dimpling and irregularities on the skin surface, but this is in fact caused by protein degeneration in the skin and its supporting structures. Liposuction cannot clear up cellulite but it will remove fat and reduce contouring and, in mild cases, lessen the intensity. Severe cases require abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) or a thigh lift to achieve permanent improvement.

How long does the operation last and when may I return to work?

The operation takes between one and four hours, depending on the number of areas to be treated. You can return to work after a week, although some patients do so earlier. Vigorous sport or exercise must not be done for three weeks.

Will I have to stay in hospital Recovery Retreat?

No, you will not have to stay in hospital but if you have undergone a fairly large liposuction you will stay in the Recovery Retreat for a night or two. If you dot have to stay in the retreat overnight you may go home providing there will be a responsible adult to take care of you overnight.

What happens after surgery and how often will I be examined?

Waterproof dressings are usually applied. Patients who’ve had large amounts of fat removed may need a urinary catheter; if so, this will be placed during surgery and removed just before discharge from the clinic. Placement and removal of the catheter is painless.

You’ll need to wear a support garment immediately after surgery for four to six weeks. This can be removed 24 hours after surgery so that you can shower.

You’ll experience some pain and mild discomfort, for which light pain medication will be prescribed. All patients, except those having a very small volume of fat removed from only the neck or knees, need to take an iron supplement for one month after surgery.

I’ll see you at follow-ups on the fourth to fifth day after surgery, and then one week, one month and six month later.

Is liposuction performed under anaesthetic?

For only one or two small areas to be treated, particularly on the face and neck, local anaesthetic plus light intravenous sedation is given. If many areas, or a large area, are to be treated, general anaesthetic is given General anaesthetic is administered by an anaesthetist who charges separately for his services. The anaesthetist is a board certified anaesthetist.

What will my body look like and feel like after liposuction?

There’ll be bruising and probably some numbness or reduced sensation in the treated areas. For the first week after liposuction, treated areas will be swollen and not show any contour reduction; they may in fact be larger than before surgery. Your clothes may fit more snugly, and your weight may temporarily increase. The swelling associated with surgery will then begin to subside. By the second week, a diminution in contour will be visible and the treated areas will be smaller than they were before surgery. Final improvement will only be evident three months after surgery. During this period , it is imperative to massage the areas with copious amounts of Surgeons Choice tissue oil.

Will I have scars?

Scarring from body contouring used to be lengthy and obvious. Now, liposuction scars are usually less than a centimetre long. They’re placed in natural body creases so as to be inconspicuous or where they’re easily hidden by clothing and bathing apparel.

Scars are usually red or pigmented for between three and six months and then gradually fade until, 12 months after surgery, they’re hardly noticeable. Be aware, however, that all scars are permanent and that their final colour, length and width are not entirely predictable.

Are there possible complications to liposuction?

Serious complications are rare with this type of procedure. However, as with all surgery, bleeding, infection and other complications are possible. Most patients have very satisfactory results but, as with any operation, there is a risk of certain problems occurring, and it’s important to be aware of them.

Permanent problems seldom occur. However, potential complications with this kind of procedure include thickened or unattractive scarring at the small incision sites; contour irregularities such as dimpling or waviness; a possibility of skin loss that may result in permanent scarring or necessitate a skin graft; sagging or wrinkling of the skin; increased sensitivity or numbness in the treated area; injury to a motor nerve, that may be temporary or permanent; prolonged swelling of the treated area; subcutaneous build-up of blood or serum which will need to be removed; asymmetry between opposite treated sides (they will not look alike); change in skin colour; or an infection.

It is of course not possible to predict every possible complication and unexpected problem. But a notable factor is that the complications associated with liposuction are often related to the amount of fat to be removed and the patient’s age. No form of surgery is totally safe; but liposuction compares favourably with any other cosmetic procedure.

Summary

Liposuction is a safe and relatively simple technique for reducing contours in specific parts of the body. Complemented by an overall improvement in eating habits and exercise, it can help in achieving a pleasing shape and body image. I’ll be glad to respond to any further questions.