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Last Updated: Oct 30, 2019
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Liposuction - Treatment, Procedure And Side Effects

What is liposuction? What are the types of liposuction? How is the liposuction procedure done? What are the side effects of liposuction? What are the risks of liposuction? How dangerous is liposuction? How long does it take to recover from liposuction? How much weight can you lose with liposuction? Are the results of liposuction permanent? How much does liposuction cost in India? What is the best diet plan after liposuction? What are the differences between liposuction and tummy tuck? What are liposuction alternatives?

What is liposuction?

It can get quite frustrating trying to get rid of the excess and stubborn fat that often accumulates on the thighs, arms, flanks or other parts of the body. Often, exercising and diet aren't enough to achieve the desired results. People, in search for aesthetics, then turn to the procedure of liposuction.

Liposuction removes body fat using the process of suction. It has been proven to be one of the most popular types of reconstructive surgeries. This procedure, though has its share of side effects and risks, is still very popular because of its ability to specifically target and take care of isolated, deep pockets of stubborn fat. It is often done in combination with other plastic surgeries such as breast augmentation or an abdominoplasty (also known as 'tummy tuck' surgery). It effectively rejuvenates and shapes the body contours.

In recent times, the availability of various techniques has rendered the procedure safer and comparatively less painful vis-a-vis what was before. The techniques involved include ultrasound liposuction (ultrasound is used for liquefying the excess fat that is to be removed), laser liposuction (low-intensity laser waves are used for liquefying the targeted fat) and tumescent liposuction (the practice of traditional liposuction after the body tissues are injected with an anesthetic solution).

It is usually an outpatient procedure unless there are large amounts of fat that need to be taken care of. The type of anesthesia (local or general) administered depends on the volume of fat to be removed.

What are the types of liposuction?

There are several types of liposuction technique, which are as follows:

  1. Power Assisted Liposuction:

    The method uses a cannula or a tube that has an oscillating tip to remove fat deposits. It is target-specific and completely cut the extra fat. The device used in this technique produces really fast vibrations to break the fat which is then removed through the tube.

  2. Laser Assisted Lipolysis:

    A major advantage of this method is that it does not cause any severe side effect. Laser-assisted lipolysis makes use of a laser to melt the fat which is further removed by the help of a suction pump. A huge amount of fat cells can be removed easily by this technique.

  3. Tumescent Liposuction:

    Intumescent liposuction, a liquid composed of lidocaine, epinephrine and a local anesthetic is injected into the fat cells to cause volumization. The bloated cells are then burst off and the fat is suctioned out.

  4. Ultrasound Assisted Liposuction:

    The method uses high-frequency ultrasonic waves to liquefy the targeted cells, which is then suctioned out using a pump.

  5. Pulsed Ultrasonic Liposuction:

    The technique is similar to ultrasound-assisted liposuction. The only difference is that in this method, sound waves are pulsed to avoid the generation of excessive heat.

  6. Wet Technique:

    In wet technique, a liquid composed of adrenaline and anesthesia is used to remove fat cells through suction. The method is quite effective since it causes less bleeding, bruising and faster recovery.

  7. Super-Wet Technique:

    The technique is similar in function as a wet technique. A slight difference is that more amount of fluid is injected which is almost equal to the amount of fat that has to be removed.

How is the liposuction procedure done?

The process is actually quite complex where the surgeon needs to be highly competent. However, the procedure will vary with the targeted area and the type of liposuction chosen. Generally, every procedure more or less follows the same structure.

Firstly, anesthesia is administered. The type of anesthesia would depend on the volume of fat that is to be removed and also the area targeted. It is administered in the form of an injection containing a numbing solution. In the case of local anesthesia, only the area targeted will be numbed while in general anesthesia, the patient will be numbed for the entire duration of the surgery. Upon waking up, the patient would still feel numb and feel little to almost no pain. The next step is creating small incisions around the area from where fat will be removed.

Next, a cannula (vacuum tube) is inserted into the layer of fat through the tiny incisions. The cannula is moved about to disintegrate the fat cells and then suctioned out using a Vaccum pump or an attached syringe. Intravenous fluids will be administered to make up for the loss of blood and other bodily fluids that might happen during the procedure. Once this is completed, the incisions are sealed.

Who needed liposuction?

A Liposuction surgery is recommended when:

  • The candidate is in good physical health
  • The candidate is within a range of about 12 kilos of his should be body weight
  • The excess fat deposits have not responded to either exercise or diet
  • The candidate is above 18 years old

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

  • When the candidate's primary goal is a major loss of weight
  • When the candidate is a pregnant woman; this is because of the reason that a woman's body weight might significantly vary post-childbirth and hence, it is good to just wait and see how things shape up
  • When the candidate is a smoker; this is because smoking constricts the body's blood vessels, thus impairing the circulation of oxygen that is essential for healing post-surgery

What are the side effects of liposuction?

Yes, there are quite a few side effects to liposuction, them being:

  • Swelling: Almost all techniques causes swelling post-surgery. Thus it is important to follow up with the doctor and keep him/her informed about any change in the swelling. Swelling around the treated area as well as the ankles is pretty common combined with a lumpy appearance that is temporary and dissipates within a span of six months. Inflammation of veins also remains a possibility in case the thighs were treated.
  • Bruising: The treated area often becomes discoloured and sensitive to touch; however, this usually fades within a month. Similar to swelling, this was opted for often determines the extent of bruising.
  • General discomfort: Certain amount of tenderness is common. OTC pain medicines can be prescribed to control this discomfort.

What are the risks of liposuction?

There are quite a few risks associated with liposuction, as with any other surgical procedure. Some major complications and risks are:

  • Numbness: Patient might feel numbness at the surgery site which may be temporary or permanent. It can also be caused due to any irritation in nerves.
  • Infections: This is a very common risk associated with almost every surgery. Liposuction surgery can cause skin infections which usually do not need special medical attention.
  • Toxicity: In some cases, toxicity from local anesthesia can occur which may lead to heart and nervous system disorders.
  • Lung/Kidney problems: Lung or kidney problems can occur in some patients because of the shift in the level of fluid injected during the surgery.
  • Skin irregularities: If fat removal is uneven, it can cause the skin to look bumpy and withered. Skin can lose its elasticity permanently and spots may occur post-surgery.

How dangerous is liposuction?

Liposuction is not dangerous, in fact, it is the most widely used cosmetic procedure nowadays. However, certain complications are associated with it. It is very important to consult an experienced cosmetic surgeon to reduce the risks and side effects. Talk to the surgeon about the outcome you are expecting out from the surgery and clear every possible doubt to minimise any danger.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

The post- treatment guidelines include:

  • Following a healthy diet: There is no set liposuction diet; having said that, lean protein, whole grains, fresh produce and dairy products rich in calcium.
  • One should consume sufficient amounts of water in a day and cut back completely on processed foods.
  • Exercising: Moderate aerobic exercises are probably the best options for a patient who has undergone liposuction. Some of the best forms of exercise include jogging, walking, cycling, etc.

How long does it take to recover from liposuction?

Liposuction, being an outpatient procedure, results in quick recovery. In most cases, patients can resume their normal routine within 15 days. However, the bruising, tenderness and soreness could persist over a few weeks.

How much weight can you lose with liposuction?

Studies state that about 5000 mL (5 L) of fat which is equal to 11 pounds can be extracted out. This a maximum limit and there may be variations depending on the body mass index of the patient. A drastic result should not be expected in terms of weight loss because the surgery is carried out to remove excess fat which has nothing to do with the body weight.

Are the results of liposuction permanent?

The results are more or less permanent. The fat cells which are removed during the procedure certainly do not form back. However, one needs to adopt a healthier way of life to achieve the best results and not let further fat cells accumulate.

How much does liposuction cost in India?

The cost of liposuction in India ranges within Rs. 1,30,800 - Rs. 2,27,500.

What is the best diet plan after liposuction?

A clean and balanced diet should be maintained post-surgery to prevent weight gain. One must include fruits, vegetables and proteins in the diet. Small meals should be consumed throughout the day at regular intervals. Apart from this, drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated and full. Healthy metabolism and good digestion are the key factors that should be kept in mind.

Foods to avoid after liposuction:

It is important to eat right in order to maintain the results of surgery. Those who have had this surgery done should avoid:

  • Consuming fried foods
  • Beverages containing soda
  • Baked food such as cookies
  • Ice cream
  • Refined grains,
  • White bread
  • Processed meat.

Foods to eat after liposuction:

Modification in the diet pattern is really important for recovery. Foods that are rich in iron, vitamin C, zinc, and B complex should be included in the diet as advised by a dietitian. A variety of food can be eaten if chosen wisely. Cereals, oats, eggs, salad, green tea, yoghurt, milk, cheese, fruits & vegetables supply good nutrition to the body.

What are the differences between liposuction and tummy tuck?

Liposuction v/s Tummy Tuck :

Liposuction is preferred when a person wants to get rid of small fat deposits from thighs, hips or stomach. A Tummy tuck in addition to removing fat also helps in getting rid of excess skin. It is used for a flat midsection. Patients who suffer from obesity should go for a tummy tuck than liposuction.

Liposuction can be carried out at many areas apart from stomach such as arms, chin or legs. A tummy tuck removes excess skin from the abdominal area by tightening the muscles. Liposuction does not help against loose muscles and extra skin.

What are liposuction alternatives?

The alternatives to this treatment are:

  • Fat reduction via ultrasound
  • Laser Therapy
  • Cryolipolysis
  • Radio Frequency Treatment

Key Highlights

  • Safety: Medium
  • Effectiveness: High
  • Timeliness: Medium
  • Relative Risk: High
  • Side Effects: Medium
  • Recovery Time: Medium
  • Price Range: Rs. 40,000 - Rs. 2,00,000

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