Liposuction is a surgical procedure that uses suction as a technique to remove fat from specific areas of the body, such as the abdomen, hips, thighs, buttocks, arms or neck. The aim of liposuction is to contour (shape) these areas. Liposuction is also known as lipoplasty. The procedure is performed for cosmetic purposes and is not for weight loss.
Liposuction may seem an ideal way to lose weight by removing fat, however it is not recommended to treat obesity. The ideal candidate for liposuction is the individual close or around ideal body weight. Liposuction is especially useful for excess fat that cannot be removed through normal diet and exercise.
Liposuction is a poor option to treat cellulite; performing liposuction in areas of cellulite could cause or emphasise skin irregularities thus negating the benefits of the procedure.
As one ages, skin elasticity lessens. With this in mind, age is not usually a factor when considering patients for the procedure, as long as the patient is healthy, however in older individuals it will take longer for their skin to tighten, unlike younger patients.
Liposuction cannot be performed in individuals who suffer from cardiac disease, blood-clotting disorders, or are pregnant.
Liposuction is ordinarily a day surgery procedure, however this depends on physical health and the amount of fat to be aspirated. Certain patients might need to spend a night in hospital, for monitoring. In most cases, if the patient is physically fit and does not require large amounts of fat to be aspirated, he/she is likely to go home on the same day to recover.
Liposuction is usually performed under general anaesthesia but in patients with smaller amounts of fat to be removed, it can be performed under sedation and local anaesthesia. Once the anaesthesia has taken effect, the surgeon will access the target area via a small cut. A cannula is then used to separate and then aspirate the fat.
The procedure may last a few hours, dependent on the amount of fat removal.
After the procedure, patients should expect some pain, swelling and bruising. Dr Sofianos will prescribe medication to help control pain. The incisions will drain fluid for a few days but usually heal quickly and uneventfully. Tight compression garments, will need to be worn for a few weeks after the procedure, as these promote a reduction in swelling. You may return to work within a few days before returning to work and it will take a few weeks to resume normal activities and exercise.
Swelling will typically subside within a few weeks. The final result, however, is expected within several months, and will appear more lean. Liposuction results are generally long lasting as long weight is maintained. If one gains weight after liposuction the distribution of fat may change.