CANDIDATES:Liposuction is a procedure for women and men who are of relatively normal weight but have deposits of localized fat in certain areas of the body that do not respond to dieting or exercise. Liposuction is the way to eliminate them. Liposuction is not a treatment for obesity. Candidates of almost any age can benefit from this procedure, providing their skin is elastic enough to retract to the normal position. Patients with loose flaccid skin might have to undergo a combined procedure, which involves skin resection. Patients who also have depressions in their bodies can benefit from liposculpture. Fat can be injected to improve contour.
OBJECTIVE:To improve cheeks, jowls, neck, arms, breast, back, abdomen, waist, hips and buttocks, inner and outer thighs, knees, calves and ankles. It can also be used to treat the male breast enlargement, or gynecomastia. It can be performed on several areas of the body at the same time, or together with other aesthetic plastic surgery.
OPERATING TIME1 to 3 hours.
INCISIONS AND TECHNIQUEFat is removed through a small hollow tube, called cannula, inserted through one or more small incisions near the area to be suctioned. Incisions are usually 4 to 8-mm long and are often hidden in skin folds or lines. For liposculpture the aspirator was substituted by disposable syringes connected to the cannula to aspirate the excess fat. With syringe liposculpture and we can measure precisely how much fat is aspirated and there is the possibility of re-injecting fat. Fat can be injected in the face to smooth folds and wrinkles and in the body to improve contour of areas such as buttocks, thighs, hips, legs, ankles and hands. Superficial liposculpture allows us to remove more fat and improve body contour of patients with a more flaccid skin tone. For fibrous body areas an external ultrasound machine may be used to "melt" the fat before aspiration.
ANESTHESIALocal with sedation. Tumescent anesthesia made the procedure safer.
IN/OUT PATIENT:Usually outpatient. Extensive procedures may require short inpatient stay.
RECOVERY:Walking a mile: two days. Temporary mild pain, especially in the first 48 hours can be treated with analgesics. Swelling, soreness, numbness, bruising usually last a few weeks. Dressings are applied on the small incisions. There will be a leak of the anesthetic fluid through the incisions in the first 24 hours. Dressings will be changed daily. Shower is allowed after 24 hours. You may have to wear a girdle for a few weeks. Stitches will be removed between the 5th and 7th day. Back to work: 2 to 3 weeks. Exercise and sunbathing: 4 to 6 weeks or more. Fading and flattening of the little scars: 3 months to 2 years.
RISKS:Significant complications from liposuction are infrequent. Potential complications are asymmetry, rippling, and pigmentation of the skin, bleeding, infection and problems with anesthesia. Temporary numbness of the skin and hematomas (blood accumulations) are possible mild complications. Irregularities of the skin can happen in some patients, but can be treated if necessary. More serious complications involve loss of fluid or blood that can provoke shock, although this is now very rare with the tumescent anesthesia. Infection is very rare.
DETAILS:Liposuction improves body contour and increases self-confidence. The results may take a few months to show because there is the possibility of fluid retention following surgery with prolonged swelling. Occasionally, a secondary procedure, or "touchup" may be indicated to improve certain areas, most times under local anesthesia. A special massage, called manual lymphatic drainage helps with the swelling and bruising in the post-operative period, increasing comfort.