Liposuction is a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure that uses a thin, hollow tube called a cannula to remove localized areas of body fat. The cannula is inserted through extremely small incisions, and then moved back and forth to vacuum out the excess fat. Treated areas look slimmer and more contoured, with a more normal proportion compared to the surrounding areas. Liposuction is not a method for losing weight, and is not effective in eliminating cellulite, or tightening loose and sagging skin.
Candidates for Liposuction
The ideal candidate for liposuction is in good overall health, but has one or more areas of fat that do not respond to diet or exercise. Areas that are often treated with liposuction include:
The Liposuction Procedure
One of the most common liposuction techniques is tumescent liposuction which is performed on an outpatient basis.
During tumescent liposuction, a solution comprising saline solution, lidocaine (an anesthetic) and epinephrine (a blood-vessel contractor) is injected into the area being treated. The solution causes the targeted tissue to expand which makes it easier to remove evenly via the cannula. The advantages to this technique are that the anesthetic is built in, so there is no need for general or IV sedation, and blood loss is minimized because the epinephrine constricts blood vessels.
After liposuction, patients experience mild swelling, bruising and discomfort in the treated area. Compression garments or elastic bandages are typically worn for about four weeks to help the areas heal smoothly. Patients can return to work and other regular activities as soon as they feel comfortable, which is usually after a few days. Exercise and other strenuous activities should be avoided for a few weeks.
In addition to the usual risks associated with surgery, risks associated with liposuction include the following:
- Loose or rippled skin
- Worsening of cellulite
- Contour irregularities
- Pigmentation irregularities
When large amounts of fat are removed, surgery to remove excess skin may be necessary.
Smart Liposuction VS. Traditional Liposuction
Smart liposuction uses a heated cannula to heat the fat prior to sucking the fat cells out. No study has ever shown that this technique is any better than traditional tumescent liposuction, however there may be more complications with this technique.
Results of the liposuction procedure may not be apparent until swelling and bruising subside, which usually takes a week; swelling should completely subside within three to four months, the access incisions are very small and very difficult to see after they have healed completely.