What is Liposuction?
Liposuction is a technique to remove unwanted fat deposits. The unsightly distribution of body fat is usually due to inborn tendency to deposit fat in one particular area of the body most commonly, the hips. Other areas include; the neck, arms, tummy loins, thighs, inner side of the knees and the ankles.
A narrow metal tube is inserted through a small incision in the nearby skin. It is attached to a strong vacuum pump which is drawn back and forth within the area of excess fat. The process removes tunnels of fat leaving the small blood vessels and nerves in tact. The skin will then retract.
What are the consequences?
You can expect considerable bruising which will be uncomfortable and at times painful. Some people bruise more easily than others. The discoloration of this bruising will usually last for about a month, but the lumpiness and swelling of deep bruising can take up to six months to disappear. As swelling can take a long time to settle you may not see the full benefit of the operation for up to six months. You can expect some numbness in the treated skin which lasts for several months. You will have small scars at the sight of insertion and there is a small risk of the scars staying red for a while, but are usually sighted in less obvious areas. Ankles particularly will stay swollen for a few months. Will it last? Fat cells are thought not to be regenerated in adult life. Therefore their removal by liposuction will give a permanent change in contour and be independent of any other changes in your body weight.
What are the limitations?
It is important to understand that liposuction is not a treatment for obesity. The amount of fat that can be removed from a localised area is limited by what is safe. Therefore it may not be possible to slim down an area as much as you might like. In certain situations the skin is inelastic and loose. Liposuction in these areas will then tend to leave the skin more loose and it may be recommended that a skin excision be carried out to correct this, either at the same time as the liposuction or as a second procedure. Dimples and wrinkles of the skin sometimes called cellulite will not be improved by liposuction.
What should you expect at the time of your operation?
The procedure is normally carried out under general anaesthesia. You are likely to need simple pain killers for a day or so after the operation. A snug pressure garment or corset is usually advised around the lower part of the body. This is used to reduce bruising but can taken off to wash, quickly dried and put back on. This garment is usually worn for two to three weeks. You will only need to take a few days off work if a small area is treated, but larger areas may necessitate 7 to 10 days off work.
Heavy bruising can happen particularly in patients who have a tendency to bleed or have been taking aspirin or anti-flammatory drugs. Inflammation in the areas that have been treated, with perhaps some oozing from the incisions, will normally settle with a course of antibiotics.