What is Liposuction?
Liposuction is one of the most frequently used aesthetic surgical treatments. It is globally prevalent and is also referred to as suction-assisted lipectomy. This is primarily a body-shaping surgery. Vacuum suction is used during Liposuction to remove subcutaneous adipose tissue from specific anatomical locations.
It’s important to emphasise that Liposuction shouldn’t be viewed as a method of losing weight. This aesthetic surgery, called Liposuction, is done to get rid of excess body fat.
Since the early 1980s, when Liposuction first became popular, it has experienced several procedural and technological developments (such as the use of lasers and ultrasound).
It entails removing fat that is difficult to reduce through exercise and a nutritious diet. Liposuction is performed on body parts like the buttocks, hips, thighs and tummy, where fat deposits tend to accumulate.
In maintaining a healthy weight, the results are usually long-lasting, and the goal of changing the body shape becomes feasible. The procedure functions best on those with a healthy weight and tight skin.
What does Liposuction treat?
Liposuction aims to reduce fat in the following regions.
- Upper arms
Liposuction can be carried out either on its own or in conjunction with other plastic surgery treatments like a facelift, breast reduction or stomach tuck.
Types of Liposuction
Liposuction techniques have been developing for decades. Modern lipoplasty offers a variety of potential methods for reducing stubborn adipose tissue. Though the procedure is considered safe for many patients, there still exists risks for minor and major side effects.
Liposuction entails creating small incisions in certain places to enable the vacuuming of significant amounts of fat tissue. Cannula is the name of the suction wand used in Liposuction. Technology variations used in Liposuction nowadays include,
- Tumescent Liposuction
- Laser-assisted Liposuction
- Power-assisted Liposuction
- Water-assisted Liposuction
- Ultrasound-assisted Liposuction
- Radiofrequency-assisted Liposuction
Liposuction is mainly performed under general anaesthesia, while epidural anaesthesia is employed on the lower parts of the body. The surgeon marks the regions on the body where fat removal is to happen. Next, they would
- Inject a mixture of anaesthesia and medication into this area to lessen bleeding, bruising and swelling.
- Use a mild laser pulse or high-frequency vibrations to disintegrate the fat cells.
- Cut a small hole in the skin, then insert a suction tube from a vacuum cleaner (several cuts would be necessary if the area is large).
- The treated region should be stitched up and bandaged after draining any extra blood and fluids by moving the suction tube back and forth. The fat is thus loosened and sucked out.
- This normally takes one to three hours. For the majority of patients, an overnight stay is required.
Complete medical history of patients is helpful, along with a screening for social habits like alcohol and cigarette use. The following are a few contraindications according to Statpearls, NCBI.
- To maximise recovery and lower the risk of problems, smoking cessation should be insisted for all patients at least four weeks prior to the treatment.
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which may result in pulmonary embolism (PE), is the most harmful side effect of Liposuction. Therefore, the Caprini score should be used to determine the patient’s risk for DVT/PE.
- The prevalence of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), which manifests as people having a distorted view of their appearance despite the absence of any overt abnormality, has been estimated to be up to 15% among patients seeking aesthetic surgery.
- Patients who are suspected of having BDD (based on screening questionnaires or the initial interview) or who have unrealistic expectations or a negligible understanding of the surgery should postpone surgery until a proper examination with a mental health specialist (such as a psychiatrist) is done.
After the treatment, the patient would be given a compression bandage or an elastic support corset. This should be worn continuously for several weeks following the operation to aid with swelling and bruises.
To lower the risk of infection, Liposuction patients might need to take antibiotics immediately following the procedure. Most patients also use modest pain relievers to reduce any discomfort and swelling.
- If the patient were given general anaesthesia, they would require assistance for the first 24 hours.
- The patient’s job type and how much of the body was treated are a few factors that will affect when they can start working again.
- The same applies to the time it will take to be able to drive vehicles. Discussing with a surgeon is mandatory before resuming work or driving.
- While taking a shower, the bandage or corset can be removed.
- For as long as 4 to 6 weeks, one must refrain from heavy activities (but walking and general movement should be fine).
- Sometimes the effects of the surgery are not apparent until oedema has subsided. The area may only settle partially for up to six months.
- The stitches would be taken out a week or so later.
- The patient should be able to return to any contact sports or physically demanding activities they typically engage in after 4 to 6 weeks.
Benefits of Liposuction
Typically performed for aesthetic reasons, Liposuction can also be used to treat a few medical issues.
- Lymphedema is a chronic disorder in which extra lymph fluid accumulates in tissues, resulting in oedema or swelling. Usually, the arms or legs will have oedema. Swelling, muscle stiffness and pain can occasionally be lessened with Liposuction.
- Extreme weight loss after obesity – A morbidly obese individual who loses at least 40% of their BMI may require treatment to get rid of extra skin and other anomalies.
- Gynecomastia is a condition in which fat can occasionally gather beneath a man’s breasts.
- Lipodystrophy syndrome – Fat builds up in one area of the body while being lost in another is known as the lipodystrophy condition. Liposuction can enhance the patient’s appearance by providing a more natural-looking body fat distribution.
- Lipomas are fatty, benign tumors.
NCBI states that prior to the operation, patients must be informed that certain complications, such as postoperative bruising, are unavoidable. The patient and the team should be aware of the following common complications.
- Temporary weight gain
- Bruising and contour abnormalities are the most frequent side effects of Liposuction. Patients should be aware that while post-procedural oedema may take up to several weeks to subside, post-procedural bruising is expected and may take 1 to 2 weeks to go away. As a result, the final shape and contour may only be apparent once this swelling has gone down.
- The most severe but uncommon side effects of Liposuction are pulmonary embolism, DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and fat emboli.
- Due to the possibility of a tragic consequence, many illnesses require urgent medical attention.
- Lidocaine toxicity: It has been shown in the literature that lidocaine, a local anaesthetic, can be used in wetting solutions at doses higher than those often advised, i.e., doses around 35 mg/kg. Anaesthesia toxicity can still occur. In a patient under the influence of general anaesthesia, where the early symptoms of perioral numbness and tinnitus cannot be elicited, such toxicity poses a risk because they are unable to cause these side effects. Lidocaine toxicity may, therefore, not be identified until the onset of cardiovascular problems.
Side effects of Liposuction
There is a chance of bleeding, infection and anaesthesia-related complications with any major operation.
The treatment, the surgeon’s abilities, and their specialised training are frequently factors that influence the likelihood of complications.
Following Liposuction, it’s typical to have:
- Bruising and swelling persist from a week up to six months.
- Fluid seeping from the wounds
- Numbness – The affected area may experience transient numbness for a short period of time, lasting for about 6 to 8 weeks.
- Inflammation of the treated region or in the veins. It may take up to 6 months for the swelling to go down.
- Swollen ankles (if the legs or ankles are treated)
- Thrombophlebitis: When a blood clot develops in a vein, it leads to inflammation and further problems.
- Uneven fat removal, poor skin elasticity, atypical wound healing, and contour irregularities can cause the skin to look old, wavy or bumpy.
- An allergic reaction could occur if the patient is exposed to certain drugs or surgical supplies.
- Infections – Skin infections following Liposuction surgery are rare. Sometimes surgery is required to correct this, which has the risk of leaving scars.
- Internal organ punctures are quite uncommon.
- Burns to the skin or nerves may result from the cannula’s movement.
- Renal or heart issues – As fluids are injected or suctioned out of the body, the resulting alteration in the body’s fluid balance may result in kidney or heart issues.
- Pulmonary embolism – Fat enters blood vessels, travels to the lungs and blocks the flow of blood there. This may be life-threatening.
- When fluid is injected into the body, it can occasionally build up in the lungs, causing pulmonary oedema.
- Fatal – There is a slight chance of death during anaesthesia.
The people who carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages beforehand, who are knowledgeable about what to anticipate, who select a trained and experienced surgeon, and who carefully discuss the details with their surgeon tend to be the ones who see positive outcomes.
Who is advised not to have Liposuction?
Additionally, obese persons are viewed as poor candidates for Liposuction since the operation is more complicated and riskier due to the other conditions that come along with their high BMI, such as Diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and a higher risk of stroke.
Liposuction is not a cure for obesity or a replacement for a healthy diet and regular exercise.
It is also ineffective for treating loose, sagging skin or cellulite, the dimpled skin that often develops on the thighs, hips and buttocks.
A plastic surgeon will often perform Liposuction on patients with a BMI of 30 to 35 or below. Healthy individuals with a BMI under 30 make the best candidates for Liposuction. Treatment is significantly hazardous for patients with a BMI of 35 and higher because there may be too much fat in some areas to safely remove.
Liposuction is a safe cosmetic operation for body contouring that reduces extra fat and reshapes the body in specific places. It mostly boosts the patient’s self-confidence while assisting in lowering the chances of Diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and other weight-related health concerns.
There are various safe and efficient Liposuction procedures available to get rid of the body’s stubborn fat deposits. Most patients can recover quickly from this surgical treatment because it only necessitates tiny incisions. But there are certain potential adverse effects to be aware of, such as the consequence of anaesthetic use.
Lipoplasty is not a treatment for obesity or a replacement for healthy weight loss. Instead, it is a method of treating persistent fat deposits that do not react well to diet and exercise.
What’s required after surgery?
Swelling, bruising, oedema and mild pain are extremely common after surgery. Wearing a pressure garment for at least three weeks will reduce swelling, hasten the healing process, and lessen any pain, bruising, and fluid drainage that may be experienced as a result.
How long do the lipo results last?
During a Liposuction procedure, fat cells are removed, which is permanent. However, one can put on weight following Liposuction. In particular, if a patient doesn’t take precautions with the food and exercise routines, body fat may redistribute the following Liposuction.
Is Liposuction painful?
For the purpose of Liposuction, anaesthesia is required. This implies that the patient won’t experience any pain during the Liposuction procedure. After the surgery, though, they are likely to experience pain. It can be painful to recover.
Is Liposuction good for weight loss?
No. Liposuction is not a method of losing weight. It’s not intended to significantly reduce the weight. Instead, it’s a contouring treatment designed to target problem areas that just don’t respond as one would want to nutritional and physical modifications.