Also known as liposculpture, lipectomy or liposelection, liposuction is a surgical procedure to remove unwanted fat from areas of the face and body to produce a more sculpted shape. It is often combined with cosmetic surgery procedures, such as a tummy tuck, as it can be difficult to achieve the desired contours in these areas with surgery alone. However, liposuction can also be performed as a standalone procedure and it is becoming increasingly popular as both men and women demand the body beautiful.
Who is suitable for a liposuction procedure?
It is important to understand that liposuction is not a weight-loss procedure. It is best suited for men and women who are at or close to their ideal weight but are finding it impossible to get rid of small pockets of fat that won’t shift with diet and exercise alone.
Liposuction also won’t prevent you from putting on weight in the future – the remaining fat cells will just expand – so you have to be committed to a long-term healthy diet and exercise programme to protect the results of your liposuction.
Your age is not necessarily a factor in your suitability for liposuction, but firm elastic skin is desirable as liposuction does not tighten the skin in the same way that VASER does.
How is liposuction performed?
During the procedure, your surgeon will make tiny incisions in the target area and insert a cannula which will break up the fat before it is then suctioned out. There have been various modifications of the basic liposuction procedure over recent years. Fluid or tumescent liposuction involves a solution containing a local anaesthetic and saline being injected into the treatment area. The aim is to make the fat easier to remove which, in turn, will reduce blood loss, bruising and swelling. The inclusion of local anaesthetic will also help to make the treatment more comfortable.
Depending on the size of the treatment area or number of areas being targeted, the procedure can last anything from one to three hours. It can be performed either under a local or general anaesthetic which is determined by the individual patient’s requirements.
Liposuction can be performed on any area of the body. This includes the buttocks, thighs, hips, flanks, knees, abdomen, upper arms or breasts. It can also be used to remove excess fat that forms under the chin and along the jawline. Liposuction is not able to target fat cells present in the superficial layers of the dermis, unlike VASER which utilises ultrasound energy to target and break up fat and is less damaging to surrounding tissue than liposuction.
What downtime can I expect after a liposuction procedure?
Compared to VASER, there will be a more prolonged recovery period after a liposuction procedure. You will be able to return to work within one or two weeks, but more strenuous activity or exercise should be avoided for approximately four to six weeks after your procedure.
Post-procedure you should expect bruising and swelling in the treatment area and there may be some leakage of fluid for a few days after the surgery. More serious potential complications include infection, numbness or loss of sensation.
More commonly, patients may be left with some unevenness or lumpiness in the treatment area and you may need a repeat liposuction procedure. Alternatively, many liposuction patients opt for a VASER treatment at this point as it commonly produces more sculpted, smoother results than liposuction.