WHAT IS LIPOSUCTION?
Liposuction was first developed in the late 1970s to remove undesired fat from nearly all body areas, including the face, neck, chin, breast, abdomen, hips, flanks (love handles), inner and outer thighs, buttocks, knees and ankles.
Liposuction is the removal of excess fat with a small, straw-like instrument called a cannula that is attached to a suction machine. The fat layer under the skin is converted to a network of tunnels, and the cannula is manipulated within the layers to remove unwanted fatty deposits. An elastic garment is then worn for compression and healing.
The result is a resculpting of bulging areas into more attractive contours.
Developed by dermatologic surgeons in the 1980s, a major advancement called the tumescent technique of liposuction completely revolutionised the liposuction procedure. The use of tumescent liposuction allows dermatologic surgeons to safely and effectively remove deep and superficial layers of fat under local anaesthesia with relatively little discomfort, virtually no complications and improved cosmetic results. This technique can be combined with general anaesthesia.
WHEN IS LIPOSUCTION INDICATED?
Liposuction is most effective for removing localised fat deposits in body areas that do not respond to dieting or exercising. Liposuction is not intended as a substitute for weight loss, but rather is a contouring procedure. It is best utilised in a program of exercise and optimal weight maintenance.
Liposuction also has many valuable therapeutic applications and has been used effectively to treat medical conditions like excessive sweating and non-cosmetic fat accumulation, such as lipomas (benign fatty tumours) and gynecomastia (enlarged, male breasts).
WHAT HAPPENS PRIOR TO SURGERY?
Before surgery, a complete medical history is taken and a careful examination is conducted in order to evaluate your condition. During the consultation, your dermatologic surgeon describes the procedure and what results might realistically be expected. Your doctor also will review alternative treatment options and explain the possible risks and complications that may occur. Photographs are frequently taken before and after surgery to help evaluate the amount of improvement.
HOW IS THE TUMESCENT TECHNIQUE OF LIPOSUCTION PERFORMED?
Liposuction can be performed in a day surgery facility or in hospital. Some patients require a short hospital stay. General anaesthesia or local anaesthesia (via the tumescent technique) or a combination of both may be used. This breakthrough technique refers to the swelling of the skin with local anaesthetic in order to remove unwanted fat more efficiently.
With tumescent liposuction, large volumes of a solution containing dilute lignocaine (a local anaesthetic) and dilute epinephrine (a drug to shrink capillaries and prevent blood loss) are injected with minimal discomfort directly into areas of excessive fatty deposits. Once the liquid is injected, a small incision is made in the skin, and a tube connected to a vacuum is inserted into the fatty layer. Using to and fro movements, the fat is drawn through the tube into a collection system. The tumescent method enables the dermatologic surgeon to remove large amounts of fat more uniformly with fewer skin irregularities and less bleeding and bruising.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER SURGERY?
The local anaesthesia injected into the tissue remains for 18 to 24 hours following liposuction surgery, greatly minimising post-operative pain. With the tumescent technique there is minimal bruising, and many patients do not require post-operative medication for pain. You can usually return to a desk-type job within 48 hours, physical exercise generally can be resumed three to seven days after liposuction, dependant on the extent of the procedure. Some swelling lasting up to 8 weeks, tenderness, altered skin sensation, fatigue and small red incision sites are not uncommon.
ARE THERE ANY POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS?
True complications are rare, however, the following may occur:
- Collections of blood or serum
- Skin dimpling
- Scarring, asymmetry and infection.
You can reduce your risk of complications by following your doctor's instructions both before and after the procedure.
WHAT ARE THE LIMITATIONS OF LIPOSUCTION?
Liposuction is not intended as a method for weight loss. It is used as a shaping procedure for areas where hereditary fat deposits resistant to diet and exercise have accumulated. The best results from liposuction occur in the body areas where there is reasonable muscle tone, where skin has good elastic quality, and where fat is not excessive. In cases where there is a significant loss of tone and elasticity, superior cosmetic results may require a combination of both liposuction and surgical skin tightening to remove the excessive loose tissue.
Your cosmetic dermatologist can advise you of the likelihood of the need for additional treatments, depending on the specific condition of your skin. Your final result may take many months to achieve.
BEFORE LIPOSUCTION SURGERY
- Have required blood tests at least three weeks prior to surgery
- Any prescriptions ordered by Doctor should be filled and commenced as instructed
- Please advise Dr Hills if you are taking Aspirin or products containing Aspirin, Coumadin, Pradaxa or Vitamin E. They can cause excessive bleeding and poor healing. Do not take medication without our knowledge as it may conflict with your surgery
- No alcohol for one week prior to your surgery. Alcohol can cause excess bleeding
- No smoking four weeks prior to surgery
- Have required surgical compression garment and take to Hospital on operating day
- Arrange for someone to be at home with you for the first 24 hours after your procedure