A quick guide on what Liposuction is all about
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Published by TOP4 Team
Most doctors agree that liposuction/liposculpture or lipoplasty is the gold standard in the treatment and management of fat in the human body. It is a predictable treatment involving the permanent removal of fat cells from a specific area of the body. It allows your surgeon to artistically sculpt and shape your body, as an artist would create a sculpture. The technique of liposuction is nothing new, having been around for more than 15 years, and is one of the most popular surgical procedures in the world today. Suitable for men and women of most ages and just ages and just about any size and shape, it sounds like a perfect treatment, right?
While liposuction is a highly effective technique, it is still a surgical procedure, which has its fair share of side effects and possible complications. These can include:
• Severe bruising and swelling, which can last for several week.s
• Localised numbness, which usually corrects itself within six to 12 months.
• Pain and restricted movement, again only within the first few weeks.
• Asymmetry or lumpiness, which will need to be corrected with subsequent treatments.
• Indurations, which is a hardening of the area, which will also resolve itself in time.
The good news is the new techniques have been developed to make liposuction less painful and to reduce recovery times while producing more accurate results.
What follows is a brief look at the most common procedure for liposuction, along with some of the latest breakthroughs.
The easiest way to explain liposuction is to break it down into its three basic steps. This series of events is common with most variations of the procedure. Before the procedure begins, the patient is required to have a final consultation with the surgeon, where photos and measurements will be taken, along with a final discussion of which areas are to be treated. At this point, the surgeon will draw up the areas of the body to be treated with a non-permanent marker, so as to know what need to be done once the procedure has started.
Step 1 – Infusion
Once the anaesthetic has been given, it is time to infuse the designated treatment areas with a local anaesthetic solution, to make the areas numb and reduce bleeding during the procedure. A small nick is made in the skin, typically somewhere inconspicuous, and a very long, thin needle is inserted into the body, which allows the anaesthetic fluid to flow in and do its work. This procedure is often referred to as “tumescent” liposuction, because a mixture of saline (salted water), local anaesthetic fluids and a few other goodies are injected into the area to make it swollen or tumescent.
Step 2 – Fat separation
With the area numb, the task of separating the fat from the connective tissue must be performed.
A larger, more aggressive cannula is often used to perform this task as some areas can be quite fibrous and difficult to work. Once the cannula has been inserted, the surgeon uses vigorous yet controlled backwards and forwards motions to separate the fat and connective tissue. A good comparative image would be that of the motion a violinist makes when playing his instrument.
During this stage of the procedure, a substantial amount of swelling and bruising occurs due to the trauma being done to the areas surround the targeted fat cells. This can make the job of the surgeon difficult because the swelling can sometimes camouflage the fat and over- or under-corrections occur. It is also this stage of the procedure that is primarily responsible for the pain and downtime that people associate with liposuction.
Step 3 – Removal of fat cells
With the fat dislodged, the surgeon can freely move his cannula through the treatment zone, and the fat is ready for removal from the body. Usually, a smaller cannula, specifically designed to remove fat quickly and effectively, is selected at this stage. The suction pump then begins the task of removing the fat. The fat cells end up in special collection bags for disposal. It is also at this point where fat can be harvested to be used for fat transfers into different areas of the body. Some surgeons opt to collect some fat and freeze it for later use if the patient comes back and has a divot or some slight asymmetry needing correction. During the course of the sculpting process, a surgeon may use up to half a dozen different types of cannulae to assist in giving the most natural, symmetrical results possible.
A special after-care garment will now be placed on to you to help reduce swelling, bruising, haematomas and will also assist with skin retraction. While not exactly a fashion statement, these garments are highly effective in speeding up the healing process. The suit is recommended to be worn for a number of weeks following the procedure, although the time will vary depending on individual circumstances.
Recovery following liposuction can take several months until all traces of swelling, bruising, tenderness, hardening and loss of sensation are completely gone. Of course, this period can vary greatly from treatment to treatment and is mainly dependent of the following factors:
• The age of the patient.
• The area of the body treated.
• The amount of fat removed.
• How the treated area is cared for post-procedure
On occasions, redo or touch-up treatments are required, and are mostly performed at least two to three months following the first procedure. Although, s the skill of surgeon improves and new techniques are applied, this is less regular occurrence. Prices on liposuction usually range anywhere from $5500 to $15000 and is normally governed by the size of the job to be done.
The best candidates for liposuction are people who are within a health weight range with firm, elastic skin who have pockets of excess fat in certain areas. Your age is not a major consideration. However, older patients may have diminished skin elasticity and may not achieve the same results as a younger patient with tighter skin.
Although there is little argument liposuction is the most effective way to treat fat, there are still many who why away because of the pain and downtime associated with it. The good news is the recent developments are making these factors less of an issue, allowing surgeons to be more accurate while using mild sedation techniques to improve patient recovery times.