Liposuction is a cosmetic surgical procedure that slims and reshapes specific areas of the body by removing excess fat deposits and improving body contours. The procedure is sometimes called body contouring. Liposuction can be performed on any part of the body where deposits of fat tend to collect, such as the thighs, hips and buttocks, abdomen and waist, chest area, upper arms, back, cheeks, chin and neck and calves. It can remove small areas of fat that are hard to lose through exercise and a healthy diet.The procedure is often coupled with other cosmetic surgeries such as tummy tuck, face lift etc.
Liposuction is not a treatment for obesity and not a substitute for proper diet and exercise. Liposuction will not remove cellulite or stretch marks.
Ideally liposuction is best suited for adults who are within 30% of their ideal weight; who have firm, elastic skin and good muscle tone. They should be clear about their expectations from the surgery and be otherwise healthy without any serious medical condition that would impair healing.
Risks of liposuction:
Like all surgeries, this procedure also carries a risk of complications. Your surgeon will inform you about the risks and benefits so that you can make an informed decision.
The risks include
Risks associated with anesthesia
Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
The need for revision surgery
Poor wound healing
Additional procedures may sometimes be required to reduce excess skin.
When large amounts (usually > five liters of fat) are suctioned special precautions must be taken.
How do you prepare for surgery?
You must have a thorough clinical examination and blood tests. If you smoke you should quit some weeks before the procedure.
You will be advised regarding preoperative instructions related to not eating or drinking anything for 8-10 hours prior to surgery and any other specific instructions. Your anaesthetist will meet you and review your clinical notes and test reports.
Steps of the procedure:
You will be given anaesthesia -the choice of anaesthesia will depend upon your condition.
Small incisions are made and a local anesthesia solution is infused to reduce bleeding and trauma. With a thin hollow cannula inserted through the incisions, and a controlled back and forth motion, the excess fat is loosened. The dislodged fat is then suctioned out of the body using a surgical vacuum or syringe attached to the cannula.
Any excess fluid and blood is drained and the treated area is stitched up and bandaged.
Fluid replacement may be required if there is a significant loss of fluid or blood.
The procedure usually takes one to three hours. Most people need to stay in hospital overnight.
How does recovery occur?
You will be kept in the recovery room till you have recovered from the anaesthesia and all your clinical parameters are stable.
If a small area was treated, you may be able to return to work within a few days. If it was a large area, you may need up to 10 days off work to recover.
You'd need to avoid strenuous activity for up to four weeks (but walking and general movement should be fine).
It usually takes about two weeks to make a full recovery.
The results of the procedure will be seen once the swelling has gone down. It can take up to six months for the area to settle completely.
Stitches would be removed after a week (unless you had dissolvable stitches).
You should be able to resume your regular activities at four to six weeks.
If the pain and swelling persist along with fever, it might be a sign of infection and you should contact your doctor.