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.
There are several types of liposuction technique, which are as follows:
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.
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.
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.
The method uses high-frequency ultrasonic waves to liquefy the targeted cells, which is then suctioned out using a pump.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A Liposuction surgery is recommended when:
Yes, there are quite a few side effects to liposuction, them being:
There are quite a few risks associated with liposuction, as with any other surgical procedure. Some major complications and risks are:
The post- treatment guidelines include:
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.
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.
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.
It is important to eat right in order to maintain the results of surgery. Those who have had this surgery done should avoid:
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.
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.
The alternatives to this treatment are: