What is liposuction?

Liposuction (from Greek “lipos” – fat and English “suction”) is an aesthetic surgery procedure that vacuums fat deposits from under the skin. How we feel about ourselves greatly influences our self-esteem, social adaptation and very often career and personal life. This is why liposuction is one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures as it can make big changes in our appearance within a short period of time.

Liposuction is also known as lipoplasty, liposculpture, suction-assisted lipectomy, or suction lipectomy. This technique removes unwanted fat deposits from specific areas of the body, such as thighs, hips, calves, abdomen, arms, neck, chin and other body areas. This method has been developed about 20 years ago in France and is now widely used all over the world.


Indications for liposuction

Liposuction is performed if body contours are deformed, in case of so-called “fat traps” when adipose tissue is accumulated in particular body areas. Most often fat traps are located on thighs, hips (forming well-known “saddlebags”), inside surface of knee-joints, lower part of abdomen. Liposuction is very rarely used for obesity treatment. This condition requires a comprehensive approach, and such an intrusive measure as fat extraction is not used in this case to correct body contours.

Liposuction can be performed separately or in conjunction with other surgeries, e.g. abdominoplasty or face rejuvenation. It allows decreasing or elimination of local fat depositions and can be used to improve body contours and general appearance. This surgery is not meant for obesity treatment or body weight reduction. Best indication for liposuction may be removal of localized, exercise-resistant fatty deposits on generally physically fit and healthy people.


Can liposuction eliminate cellulite?

Liposuction is not meant for cellulite elimination. However certain improvement can be observed after the surgery because of decrease of fat deposits.


Is hospitalization necessary?

It depends on the extent of intervention and general health condition. Usual duration of hospital stay is 1-3 days.


How is liposuction performed?

Liposuction is a surgical correction of body contours through removal of fat depositions with the help of vacuum-suction. The procedure can be performed under local or general anesthesia depending on the volume of the surgery.

Physiological solution with anesthetic, adrenaline (for blood vessels contraction), and ferments for adipose tissue destruction is injected through small skin incisions 1-1.5 cm long. Typically smaller incisions are used for areas that are more visible, such as the neck and face, to reduce scarring.

Then a long hollow needle called a cannula is inserted into an incision and connected to the vacuum-suction system. The fat deposits are then sucked into the vacuum through a tube connected to the cannula. The most common liposuction cannulas are 3 mm, but the cannulas can be as large as 6 mm or as small as 1.5 mm. Ultrasound is used to increase fat destruction effect. Ultrasound liposuction is more effective and less traumatic; therefore it is more acceptable for the patient.

It is necessary to wear special elastic underwear for some time after the surgery to decrease the edemata and promote proper skin contraction.


Are any scars left?

As skin incisions are very small (about 1-1.5 cm), cicatrices are virtually unnoticeable


Are there any side effects?

The skin will be swollen, bruised and sore in the liposuction area. This condition can remain for several days or weeks after the surgery but will eventually pass. Recovery time varies depending on your age, body weight, body area treated, and the nature of your work and activities.


When is it possible to return to normal life after liposuction?

This is an individual issue. Most patients can renew usual social activity in a week after the surgery. Often this period is even shorter. In some cases it increases; it depends upon the extent of intervention, age, health condition, and other factors.


Advantages of liposuction

Liposuction is a low-traumatic surgery allowing rapid recovery and immediate results. It has no serious complications, or, to be precise, they occur very rarely. The probability of recurrent fat accumulation in fat traps after liposuction is significantly reduced because connective tissue is forming in these areas.

Liposuction removes fat from areas that have little response to dieting and exercise without large incisions and therefore practically doesn’t leave any scars and rough deformations.


What results can be achieved with liposuction?

Liposuction can produce dramatic results for many people. It works best in conjunction with proper diet and exercise and in many cases for achieving results it is necessary to combine liposuction with surgical lipectomy (removal of cellulocutaneous flaps), abdominoplasty and other surgeries. In any case it is important to remember that the surgery can result in improvement but not in absolute perfection. If your expectations are realistic, you will most likely be pleased with the changes in your body shape.


How stable are liposuction results?

Usually removed fat does not form again in the area where it has been removed. If body weight does not increase after the surgery then liposuction effects are permanent. If you do not follow a healthy diet, adipose tissue can accumulate in the adjacent area.


Is liposuction painful?

Since the surgery is performed under anesthesia, you will not feel pain, maybe just mild discomfort. The choice of anesthesia depends on the extent of surgical intervention. Local anesthesia can be used if the volume of extracted fat is small (up to 1.5 liters) and for local forms of depositions. Lidocaine solution is used as an anesthetic. General anesthesia is used if fat is extracted in three or more areas and if its volume is high.


Possible complications

Complications after liposuction are rare but can occur in a small percentage of patients. Common complications are fat embolism (blood vessels plugging up with fat nubbins), tromboembolism (blood vessels plugging up with blood clots), and anemia (at big volumes of liposuctions). Local complications include appearance of contour irregularities, secondary infection, liquid outflow disturbance (edemata), and skin sensitivity disturbance.

If you have more questions about a liposuction, do not hesitate to contact us.

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