Liposuction, is a surgical operation that involves fat being suctioned from the body. It is also sometimes called lipoplasty and liposculpute. It was first performed by a French surgeon, Charles Dujarier, in 1926. Fat can be removed from many areas of the body but the most common areas are the abdomen, buttocks, thighs, ankles and neck. No more than half a stone of fat should be removed in one operation. Lumpiness or dents often appear if too much fat is suctioned.
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and ISAPS 2011 Statistics, liposuction was the most common plastic surgery procedure performed in 2006 with 403,684 patients, and in the year 2011 with 1,268,287 patients. Alternative procedures to surgical lipsuction include the use of ultrasound and/or lasers. Some surgical procedures also use these techniques to liquefy the fat prior to suctioning.
WHAT TO EXPECT WITH LIPOSUCTION
Liposuction is a standalone treatment and cannot be combined with a tummy tuck. The procedure is usually performed under general anaesthetic but may be performed using local anaesthesia. Surgeons will prefer a patient/client who is healthy, not having smoked for several months (smoking affects the safety of general anaesthesia and the ability to heal effectively). The use of anti–coagulants is contra-indicated as they would lead to excessive bleeding.
On the day of the surgery, the sites where fat is to be removed will be drawn on the patents body while they are standing up. There will be a consent form and the patient will be required to take a prophylactic antibiotic. This is to reduce the chances of infection post-op.
Following the anaesthetic, an IV line is inserted to regulate fluid balance in the body during and post operation. As with all operations, heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels are measured throughout the procedure. The operation begins with incisions being made in the target areas.
In suction-assisted liposuction (SAL), which is the standard method of liposuction, a cannula (a hollow tube) and aspirator (a suction device) are used to suck and flush away the fat cells. Ultrasound-assisted liposuction will use an ultrasound device to liquefy the fat to aid removal.
Recovery can take between two days and two weeks depending on the amount and type of liposuction performed. A compression garment must be worn for two to four weeks. Stitches will be absorbed into the body or removed at an outpatient clinic. Bruising, swelling and numbness may last weeks after the operation. The effects of surgery will be evident when the swelling reduces but the full effects may take as long as 6 months to see.
BENEFITS OF LIPOSUCTION
Targeted sculpting of the body with no dieting or exercise needed.
Side effects including bruising, swelling and pain which may present for up to a month after surgery. Weight may return but to areas not suctioned. Lumpiness and dimpling of the skin may occur - usually because of low levels of elasticity in older skin. Liquefied fat may become trapped under the skin forming cyst-like structures that may dissipate or may need aspiration.
There is a major risk to health in the form of infection. Bacteria can enter through the incision sites. Another risk of the use of the cannula is that an organ may be punctured accidentally during the operation and may be fatal.