Who is a suitable candidate:
The ideal liposuction candidate is at, or near their ideal weight, with good skin elasticity and is seeking reduction of diet- and exercise-resistant localised pockets of fat. Common sites include the upper arms, hips, outer thighs, abdomen, mid back, buttocks, knees, neck and chin. Some men have excess fatty tissue in and around the breast, or gynaecomastia, which can also be removed.
Liposuction is not a way of losing weight. If you have excess loose skin, liposuction can actually make it worse. If this is the case, a surgical body lift procedure may be required instead. Your surgeon will advise the best options. It should also be noted that liposuction does not improve cellulite (the dimpled appearance of the skin as commonly seen on the buttocks and thighs) or stretch marks caused by rapid weight gain.
What it involves:
Liposuction surgically removes deposits of subcutaneous fat from specific areas of the body such as the thighs, hips, abdomen, buttocks, knees, upper arms, neck and chin. While the terms are often used interchangeably, liposculpture implies more subtle shaping and contouring.
There are generally three ways to remove the fat: the traditional cannula method, the syringe technique and the energy-assisted method, which can further be broken into numerous sub-categories . The basic procedure involves the insertion of a small tube-like instrument, called a cannula, into the layer of subcutaneous fat via tiny incisions made by the surgeon. The cannula is connected to a clear plastic hose that leads to a suction source. The surgeon moves in a specific pattern through the fat layer to break up fat cells, which are then vacuumed or suctioned out. The overlying skin remains attached to the connective tissue and underlying muscles of the skin during the operation. A thin blanket of fat is left under the skin to help prevent rippling or bumpy skin occurring afterwards. There are two main layers of subcutaneous fat: superficial and deep. Liposuction is primarily focused on the deeper layer of fat, since suctioning is thought to be safer and easier there.
Suctioning in the superficial layer allows the surgeon to achieve subtle benefits in the procedure but, because of its proximity to blood vessels and nerve endings, it can increase the risk of contour irregularities and injury to the skin. Some surgeons believe superficial liposuction enhances skin retraction. Although the cannula is designed to slide through fat tissue and cause minimum damage to blood vessels and nerves, some may be injured during the procedure.
If only a small amount of fat and a limited number of body sites are involved, liposuction can be performed under local anaesthetic, usually in conjunction with intravenous sedation. If a large volume of fat is being removed, some patients prefer general anaesthetic.
In addition to fat, body fluid is also removed during the procedure. Because of this, patients are given fluids intravenously during the operation.
The aim of liposuction is to decrease the bulk of fat in a specific area, but not to remove all fat. Removing too much can cause loose skin and surface irregularities. Depending on the size and number of the areas being treated, as well as the technique employed by the surgeon, the procedure can last from around 1-5 hours.
Asymmetry, rippling or bagginess of skin, pigmentation changes, skin injury, fluid retention, excessive fluid loss leading to shock, infection.
Downtime and recovery:
The incision sites are generally closed loosely so that the excess fluid drains out. This happens in the first 24 to 48 hrs . You can expect to be swollen and bruised and most patients report feeling sore for a few days. It is also common to experience some numbness in the treated areas, although this should go away in the first few weeks. You are required to wear a compression garment for up to 12 weeks. You can return to work in 1-2 weeks and more strenuous activity in 2- 4 weeks.
When you will see results:
Full recovery from swelling and bruising may take 1-5 months or more. Improvements will be evident as soon as swelling subsides, but it can take from 6-12 months to achieve the final effect.
How long it lasts:
Results are permanent, with sensible diet and exercise.