What is liposuction?
When areas of fat around the body do not respond to exercise and dieting, surgery may be needed to remove the fat deposits and create the sleeker contour you are trying to achieve. Liposuction is a procedure that aims to eradicate fatty tissue from those areas that have been resistant to your weight loss efforts. The ability to precisely remove fat from both large and small areas can help to improve the shape of the body overall, from the neck to the hips and thighs.
Who does this procedure suit?
There are two basic types of fat found in the body. Visceral fat, which is located around the internal organs of the body, is not treatable with liposuction. The only way to get rid of visceral fat is through diet and exercise. Subcutaneous fat, which is found just underneath the skin’s surface, is a type fat that interferes with the sleek body contour you are trying to achieve. While it can often prove stubbornly resistant to diet or exercise, fortunately this is also the type of fat that liposuction is effective in removing.
The best candidates for liposuction are men and women who have focalised areas of subcutaneous fat they would like to remove. Prime candidates have likely achieved a healthy, stable weight and are in relatively good health. Good skin elasticity will also enhance the results of your liposuction procedure since this permits the skin to conform more closely to the new body contour.
What results will I expect?
Liposuction aims to improve your body contour so that you can look and feel more confident in your appearance and more comfortable in your clothing. It is essential to have realistic expectations of what liposuction can – and cannot – do for you. Liposuction is not a weight reduction procedure and is usually recommended for patients who have achieved close to their target weight on the scale. It will reduce the number of fat cells in the treatment area, but it will not eliminate cellulite or stretch marks.
What’s the first step to take?
During your first consultation we will discuss your aesthetic goals, the expectations you have, questions about the procedure, medical history and medications you are currently taking. Your surgeon will examine you to ensure you are suited to the procedure and take photos to use for comparison after surgery. Our staff will provide ample information to ensure you are confident in your choice to move forward with the procedure. You are always welcome to schedule a second consultation if you have additional concerns or questions you would like to address.
How do I prepare for surgery?
Because you will be given anaesthesia for your procedure, you will need to have someone drive you home and remain with you for a day or two to ensure your recovery begins safely. We will also give you some instructions to follow before your procedure to reduce your risk of bruising and bleeding:
- Avoid pain relievers or NSAIDs for two weeks before surgery, since these medications can affect your blood’s ability to clot. You should also stop taking vitamin E during that timeframe for the same reason. Panadol and vitamins B and C are safe.
- Tell your surgeon if you take any other supplements or herbal medications that could affect your clotting ability or interfere with the anaesthesia you are given for your procedure.
- Smoking can significantly impact your body’s ability to heal properly and increase your risk for various complications during and after surgery. We advise you to quit smoking at least six weeks before and six weeks after surgery to minimise these potential dangers.
- Inform our staff if you have any illness or infection during the week before your surgery.
What can I expect on my surgery day?
You will be instructed to bring your toiletries, medication you are currently taking and loose, comfortable clothing to the hospital with you. If you were fitted with a support garment beforehand, you should bring this to the hospital as well. Upon your arrival and check-in, you will be guided through the preparation process to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible. Your surgeon will let you know what and when to eat before your procedure and will provide you with an antiseptic soap for your pre-surgery shower that will reduce your risk of infection.
What should I expect during surgery?
We will perform your liposuction procedure under local aesthetic with sedation or general anaesthesia, depending on how much fat will be removed and the treatment area to be addressed. Surgery takes anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours. Multiple treatment areas and removal of a significant amount of fat tend to take longer.
First, an injection of a tumescent fluid will be administered that makes the fat cells easier to remove. The liquid also contains anaesthetic to further increase your comfort level during and after your procedure. Your surgeon will create tiny incisions in the treatment area that allow a narrow tube to be inserted directly into the fat deposit. The tube is manipulated back and forth to loosen fat cells, and then gentle suction attached to the tube eliminates the cells from the body.
The incisions are usually too small to require sutures. Instead, dressings will be placed over them while they heal. Tiny incisions result in minimal scarring and a quicker healing process overall. You may only require one incision per treatment area, although your surgeon will make this call based on the size of the area and the amount of fat to remove. The goal is to achieve a smooth, even and natural result.
What should I expect after surgery?
Most surgeries involve a degree of discomfort afterward. You will be able to take prescription pain medicine that allows you to rest comfortably during the first few days. Bruising and swelling around the incision sites are also common, but these side effects subside within a few weeks. Any stiffness or soreness will also dissipate within a matter of days in most cases. If you are given a surgical garment to wear after your procedure, this will have a positive impact on the amount of bruising and swelling you experience.
The time taken from work will vary based on how much correction you need to achieve your aesthetic goals. Most of our patients are back to the majority of their schedules within one or two weeks. Your surgeon will give you guidelines for your recovery based on your specific situation. You will also be advised to avoid exercise for a more extended period to give your body ample time to heal. We will give you specific recommendations at the time of your surgery or your first follow-up appointment.
What are the risks and complications with this procedure?
Every surgery comes with some degree of risk, and it is essential to understand what those potential complications are so that you can make an informed decision about your procedure. Liposuction risks might include:
- If you have poor skin elasticity before your procedure or a significant amount of fat is removed, your skin may not conform smoothly to your new contour, resulting in waviness or dimpling.
- Areas that are overtreated may be left with minor depressions, which can be corrected using injectable procedures later.
- Asymmetry is a potential issue when more fat is removed on one side than the other, resulting in the need for an additional procedure.
- Infection, while rare, is a possible complication after any surgery, including liposuction.
- Blood clots are another common risk of any surgery, although they are also rare. Blood clots usually form in the veins of the lower legs, but if these clots break free from their original location, they can travel through the bloodstream and cause severe and even life-threatening complications.
- A degree of scarring after surgery is unavoidable. However, the scars left from the tiny liposuction incisions rarely leave noticeable scars.
- Skin pigmentation changes are a possibility, which usually subside on their own within a few weeks to a few months.