Liposuction is a method of cosmetic correction that helps create an attractive body contour. It has become one of the most common plastic surgical procedures worldwide, being performed for more than 30 years.
The fat cells that are removed during liposuction do not grow back. If a patient gained weight after liposuction, new fat would be deposited equally in all areas of the body. It is recommended to suction out the fat just from those areas of the body, where fat excess deforms the body contour. The amount of fat to be removed is not large (from several hundred mL up to 5 L), but it is enough to improve body contours.
Liposuction is typically done on the anterior part of the neck (under the chin), neck, upper arm, areas around the armpit, abdomen, buttocks, outer thighs (saddlebags), and areas around the knee. It can be done in combination with abdominoplasty, upper arm lift, or thigh lift.
Liposuction cannot be considered a substitute for weight loss. The best candidates for liposuction procedure are persons of average weight having localized fat depositions and healthy elastic skin. If a patient is excessively obese (body mass index greater than 30), she/he is firstly advised to loose weight under the supervision of a nutritionist.
How Is the Surgery Performed?
Liposuction is usually performed under epidural or general anesthesia, except in case of liposuction for small areas that can be performed under local anesthesia. Time in surgery depends on the extent of surgery, and it can take from several minutes up to several hours. Anesthesia for liposuction is chosen depending on the type of procedure, patient’s status and preferences.
All liposuction procedures use hollow, stainless steel tubes with one or two suction openings, called cannulas, which vary in shape and size. They are connected to a powerful suction pump, which generates a negative pressure of 0.6 to 1.0 atm. The fat is suctioned through tiny incisions approximately 1 cm in length, which are placed in less visible areas of the body, i.e., in natural skin creases and areas that are normally closed by underwear.
The sutures are removed in the first week after surgery.
What Should Be Known After Surgery?
- Following surgery, in the areas where undesirable fat was suctioned, bruising is seen, which subsides within a few days or weeks;
- A special compression garment should be worn for 6–8 weeks (sometimes shorter and this depends on the area treated), which prevents fluid accumulation and helps tighten the skin;
- Bruising and swelling usually disappears within 2 weeks;
- After the surgery, lymphatic drainage massage (after surgeries and trauma) on an individual basis is recommended to achieve the best outcome;
- Strenuous physical activities should be avoided for 1–2 weeks. Most patients can resume their routine exercising and sports after 2 weeks following the surgery;
- The surgical sites will be barely noticeable as fat is suctioned through tiny incisions approximately 1 cm in length. The scars will be covered by natural skin creases or underwear. However, the postoperative scars should be protected from direct sunlight for the period not shorter than 6 months;
- The final results of body contouring correction will be evident after 6–8 weeks following the surgery;
- To achieve an optimal result and preserve it, a consultation with a nutritionist is advisable.