Liposuction – What is it?
In simple terms, liposuction is the removal of excess fat from specified areas of the body. Liposuction is a common cosmetic procedure in America, and it has varying medical identifiers or names, such as liposculpture, lipo, lipoplasty, lipectomy and suction lipectomy.
Where is fat removed?
Fat is suctioned and removed from the thighs/inner thighs (saddlebags), neck/neckline, chin (submental/double chin), chest, abdomen, back, flanks (love handles), inner knees, hips, buttocks, calves, and the upper and back portions of the arms.
How is the Fat removed?
The liposuction procedure entails the use of a hollow like instrument called a cannula that is placed and inserted under the skin through small incisions. The suctioning of fat from a designated area is created by vacuum action, which is actualized through the attachment of the cannula to the vacuuming device. Some cosmetic surgeons utilize a super wet procedure that infuses the treatment area with solutions that cause the fat areas to be firmer and more swollen, which eases extraction of larger amounts of fat and lessens the need for possible blood transfusions.
Total fat removal is limited as there is only a certain amount that can be taken without effects. There are risks involved with fat removal that include infection, scarring, lack of sensation or numbness. Excessive fat removal can lead to dents and skin lumpiness, and surgical risks are associated with the amount removed.
Fat cells are permanently removed through liposuction, and the body’s shape can be altered; however, if a patient does not maintain a healthy lifestyle after the procedure, any remaining fat cells could increase and grow larger.
What does the surgical procedure entail?
Liposuction surgery usually takes between one and four hours and entails the surgeon drawing out lines on the patient’s body as to where fat suctioning will occur. Photographs of the target areas are taken as well as possible shots of the entire body to make before and after comparisons once the procedure has been completed.
General anesthesia is normally used, though surgeons can elect to use epidurals for abdominal and lower body treatments. Local anesthetic may be employed when the liposuction involves smaller more contained areas.
Those patients not under a general anesthesia (put to sleep) may experience a scratchy feeling during the procedure as the cannula suctioning device moves under the skin to extract the fat. Though the feeling is normal, any serious or varying type of pain or movement that is felt should be addressed, which enables the immediate adjustment and modification of anesthetics or device movements.
Who is a candidate for liposuction?
Candidates for liposuction should to be in good health, over 18, and free of circulation difficulties as well as heart disease, diabetes or a compromised immune system. Liposuction is usually reserved for those who have a steady body weight, good skin, and strong skin elasticity, so any fat removal will not affect the integrity of the skin and leave hanging or loose skin.
What can liposuction do for individuals?
Liposuction is performed to improve a person’s overall physical appearance as well as the appearance of the fatty areas in question. The desire to undergo liposuction usually centers on issues of self-esteem, aesthetics and well being.
Major health benefits are limited with liposuction unless a specific disease or medical condition is an issue, such as lipomas (benign fatty tumors), Gynecomastia (development of fatty breast tissue in men) and Lipodystropy Syndrome (metabolic disturbance that involves excessive fat in some parts of the body and total lack of fat in others).
Other benefits of Liposuction
- Potential liposuction candidates can benefit from liposuction when they have not been able to achieve results under normal conditions. When concentration on diet, exercise and effective sleep are ineffective and there is stubborn resistance to fat loss, liposuction can be of benefit. If the fatty areas continue to remain resistant to any change, liposuction is a viable alternative.
- Reduction of fat cells is another benefit of liposuction as the actual number of fat cells is reduced in isolated areas. Weight gain can cause fat cells to increase in size and volume.
- Change in body contour is an additional benefit of liposuction and depends on exactly how much fat is removed from the specific area. Contour changes resulting from liposuction can be long-term, as long as there is little to no increase in body weight.
Costs of Liposuction
Costs range from $7.500-15,000 and depend on the area and technique the surgeon utilizes. Costs generally include the surgeon’s fee, the anesthesiologist, the operating room facility and any aftercare. Usually the complete costs will be determined during the consultation.
Consultations with general practitioner and surgeon
Potential liposuction patients should discuss the good and the possible bad of liposuction procedures with their doctor or primary care physician before any decisions are made to move on with surgery. These discussions should include the surgical procedure, possible risks and exactly what liposuction can do to improve appearance. The positive aspects of the surgery should be discussed and include:
- . Positive benefits of liposuction:
- The permanent reduction of fat in specific areas
- Smoother and more contoured skin areas
- Relatively safe procedure
- Should be able to return to work or other routines within a few days
- Pain is usually limited but medications are provided for a comfortable and restful recovery.
- . Negative aspects of liposuction include:
- Some swelling, bruising, burning and possible nausea after the procedure
- -Gradual healing process
- Restrictive garment use for swelling reduction may be necessary
- Formation of blood clots can occur
- Small scarring – but it is limited and concealed
- Costs can be high depending upon the procedure
Following discussions with their general practitioner, referral to the appropriate surgeon will be made and further consultation should include why the patient wants the surgery and what they expect to gain from it on a personal level. Liposuction should only be entered into after considerable thought and patients need to be aware that results are not striking but subtle.
Patients also need to be aware that liposuction is reserved for small areas of the body not large expanses. They also need to be aware that is not a treatment for obesity or weight loss. In addition, liposuction is not a remedy for ridding areas from stretch cellulite, dimpled areas, stretch marks, and any other surface skin imperfections. So, if patients are looking to drop enormous amounts of weight or clothing sizes, then they are not likely candidates for liposuction.
Liposuction is designed for those patients who are interested in removing fat deposits that are unflattering to specific parts of their body. It is purely an aesthetic exercise in improving and enhancing body contours. Those interested in seeking liposuction for reasons other than those outlined probably should consider other alternatives or life style changes.