Reviewed By : Dr. Aarti Joshi
Listed below is the step by step procedure of liposuction:
- What is Liposuction?
- Why is Liposuction Required?
- Pre-operative Preparations
- Day Before Surgery
- Procedure Day
- Methods/Techniques of Liposuction
- Post Procedure
- Risks and Complications
What is Liposuction?
Liposuction is a type of cosmetic procedure that is used for weight reduction.. It is generally done on people who are over-weight and unable to lose weight using natural ways.
Liposuction can be done as a stand alone procedure and also in combination with other cosmetic procedures. It is the best possible surgical method for reducing fat deposits from stubborn areas like thighs, stomach, waist, face, buttocks etc. But it is important to note that liposuction is in no way a substitute for a proper exercise and dietary regimen.
Why is Liposuction Required?
Liposuction takes out fat deposits, but it is not useful for large scale weight loss or removal. It merely reshapes one or more areas of your body. This does not mean the person undergoing it can leave exercising or gymming. Liposuction is an option mainly for fatty areas that have not responded well to diet and exercise. As mentioned before, the thighs, buttocks, waist, abdomen and back are the areas which have maximum fat pockets which need to be operated on.
Liposuction is a medical option for men who have enlarged breasts. Men and women suffering from excessive sweating in armpit area are also candidates for liposuction. Also, men and women suffering from lipodystrophy which means metabolic disorders. Stretch marks can also be treated through liposuction.
- A complete blood count (CBC) is ordered by the doctor in order to know the white blood cell and red blood cell count
- Discuss with the doctor as to what medications need to be discontinued prior to procedure. In case you are on vitamin K supplements, you need to discontinue them as that vitamin is responsible for triggering blood clotting.
- Stop smoking and doing recreational drugs completely in the weeks before and after surgery
- Stop taking birth control pills in the period before the surgery
Day Before Surgery
- Select a qualified surgeon for undergoing liposuction surgery
- Get all of your queries about the surgery solved beforehand from the operating surgeon
- Make sure to make proper arrangements for someone to pick you up from hospital. You won't be able to drive as the effect of anesthesia takes time to wear off
- Drugs which may lead to loss of blood during and after surgery need to be strictly avoided. Vitamin supplements are also to be avoided.
Before the surgery for liposuction starts, the doctor or nurse may mark out the areas of your body; say waist, outer thighs or arms that need to be operated. They may also click before-after photos for later use and future references. The surgical team will also make proper arrangements before the procedure for monitoring your blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen levels in blood throughout the procedure.
Methods/Techniques of Liposuction
The type of anesthesia to be delivered to the patient before surgery is decided on the extent of the area to be operated. A salt solution is injected under the skin of the areas which are to be operated upon, before incisions are made on the areas to be operated. After that, a cannula that is a thin metal tube is introduced through the incisions for accessing the fat deposits. Further, a vacuum is inserted through the cannula for suctioning out fat from the concerned areas. After the suctioning is done, the incisions are stitched up.
The duration of procedure depends on the magnitude of area that is to be operated for fat removal.
If you've had general anesthesia, you'll wake up in a recovery room. You'll typically spend at least a few hours in the hospital or clinic so that medical personnel can monitor your recovery. If you're in a hospital, you might stay overnight to make sure that you're not dehydrated or in shock from fluid loss.
Do's and Don'ts Post Liposuction
Mentioned below are the few do's and don'ts you need to follow after undergoing a liposuction surgery:
- Constant exercise and food schedule: Do maintain a constant exercise and eating schedule. Remember, results will be permanent only if you manage to maintain your weight.
- No strenuous physical activities: Do not engage in strenuous physical activities like running or gymming for the first couple of weeks.
- Medicines: Do not consume over-the-counter available pills or dietary supplements without consulting your doctor.
- Compression clothing: Wear compression clothing prescribed by doctor to avoid possibility of swelling.
- Doctor's instructions need to be followed: Follow the instructions given by the doctor carefully to prevent any post-operative complications.
- Blood-thinners: Avoid medication that could lead to blood thinning.
- Diet: Make the habit of having nutritious food at proper intervals. Avoid high calorie foods as much as possible. Those foods will only make you put on weight what was lost through surgery.
Risks and Complications
Liposuction is an outpatient procedure that is commonly opted by both men and women. It is a popular procedure among women as it refines their figure and does contouring in a more aesthetic way. Nevertheless, it comes with its own set of risks and complications. Few of them are as mentioned below:
- Blood clots: Formation of blood clots after surgery and those that spread to other parts of the body are extremely dangerous.
- Scalded skin: This is skin and tissues under the skin which is treated. Heat generated with the help of ultrasound is capable to cause damage and burning to healthy skin.
- Fat embolism: Fat deposits that get carried away and get stuck in blood vessels is known as fat embolism. They may enter sensitive organs like brain or lungs and may lead to cardiovascular complications.
- Lumping: Lumps can occur in the body if excessive fat is removed during surgery. The risks increase with the increasing volume of fatty area.
- Infections: Infections because of bacteria or microorganisms entering the body, after incision is made for surgery, is quite possible during liposuction.
- Irritation because of lidocaine: Lidocaine is a medication contained in the general anesthetic agent. It can cause irritation and reaction in some people. Also, there could be complications occurring because of anesthesia. Allergic reactions to anesthetic agents may cause more complications.
- Loose skin: In most people, the operated skin goes back to its original self. But in some, the skin does not retract and becomes baggy.
- Fluid buildup: Fluid build up in lungs is another complication that may occur due to injection of inappropriate amounts of fluid during surgery.
- No uniformity: Chances of uneven fat removal and disproportionate fat removal can also be another risk that cannot be denied; probably if an inexperienced plastic surgeon is chosen.
- Damage due to cannula: Very rarely, internal organ damage can happen during insertion of cannula. It can be avoided if proper care is exercised by surgeon.
- Other complications: Other minor complications like swelling, bruising, loss of sensation around operated area are temporary and go away in few days time.
More information related to Liposuction
- Where is liposuction usually performed?
A. Liposuction is performed in a hospital by plastic surgeons or dermatologists.
- What happens if patients don't eat properly or fail to exercise regularly?
A. If patients do not follow diet or exercising schedule, the fat comes back again in no time.
- Do many people gain weight after liposuction?
A. The diet post surgery needs to be altered because the body no longer needs the same amount of calories it consumed before surgery. So, naturally if diet is not altered, the person will gain weight. In such times, increasing the exercise, helps in controlling weight.
- Does liposuction produce visible scars?
A. No, liposuction does not produce visible scars, as modern technology has enabled surgeons to work on very small incisions.
- How old do you have to be to have liposuction?
A. You need to have completed 18 years of age to be valid to be considered for a liposuction surgery.
- Will liposuction improve the fat stomach I acquired after my last baby?
A. Yes, it will impart a better appearance to the stomach in the post pregnancy phase.
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