Liposuction (also sometimes referred to as lipoplasty or liposculpture) became popular in the 1980’s. Fat was removed from areas of the body through a tube (“cannula”) attached to a high pressure vacuum, and bulging areas were sculpted into more attractive contours.
Early on, relatively large cannulas were used and the amount of liposuction was limited due to blood loss. In the 90’s, the “tumescent” technique was popularized. Large amounts of saline solution, local anesthesia and adrenaline were first injected into the areas to be suctioned. This made it easier to remove the fat and minimize the blood loss. Smaller cannulas were used and the tunnels were criss-crossed to give a smoother, more even contour.
Newer techniques for liposuction are constantly being evaluated (such as ultrasonic techniques, laser-assisted techniques, etc.), but the tumescent technique continues to be the most commonly used by most plastic surgeons.
The best candidate for liposuction is a person who is in good health and at a good weight (or slightly overweight), who has firm elastic skin and distinct areas of localized fat (bulges) that are disproportionate to the rest of the body. Liposuction is not intended as a substitute for weight loss, rather it is a way to contour areas of the body where excessive fat tends to deposit.
Liposuction is frequently done under general anesthesia, but it may be done by simply numbing the area with local anesthesia or with sedation (medication to make you relaxed and drowsy).
|Localized bulges of fat respond well to liposuction…||…giving a nicer shape and contour after surgery.|
Usually after 48 hours of rest, patients can resume most daily activities, with moderate or strenuous activities being allowed after a few weeks. The bruising and swelling usually diminish drastically in about a week.
After liposuction, a girdle or compression garment should be worn for up to 6 weeks. This helps to minimize the initial swelling and bruising and speeds up the tightening of the skin in the area that was suctioned. Generally speaking, this healing and “firming up” of the area may take 6 to 12 weeks. Therefore, although you may see a difference soon after surgery, you must wait 3-6 months for the final results to be evident.
Patients often worry that the fat will come back if they gain weight. Since the cells are removed permanently, you will not reform the bulges that you had prior to the liposuction, but rather you will gain weight more evenly throughout your body.
All surgery runs the risk of bleeding, infection and scarring. It is important to review and understand all of the possible complications with your plastic surgeon.
Please call our office for further information. The information was prepared by Dr. Anna Drzewiecki and may not reflect the thoughts or approach of all plastic surgeons. The best way to obtain a better understanding of liposuction surgery is through a personal consultation with your plastic surgeon, at which time you should feel comfortable asking for any additional information.