Liposuction eliminates excess fat and sculpts the body, for a more flattering shape
Liposuction is a targeted procedure that removes unwanted fat from areas including the abdomen, hips, buttocks, thighs, knees and upper arms. Liposculpture has benefited from several refinements over the last decade, and newer techniques include ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty and the tumescent technique.
These refinements offer more precise results and quicker recovery times, with great results at removing stubborn areas of fat that don’t respond to traditional weight loss methods like diet and exercise. The removed fat can also be transferred or grafted to other sites such as the breasts, to improve the size and shape.
The best candidates for liposuction have realistic expectations and are of an average weight with firm elastic skin. Age is not a major consideration as long as you are physically healthy, but older patients may have diminished skin elasticity and might not achieve the same results as younger patients with tighter skin.
Specific complications include minor contour problems and disturbance of sensation in the treated area. Numbness generally settles within six weeks of surgery and imperfections in the final appearance are not uncommon, especially in older or weight loss patients. It’s also important to note that cellulite is not improved by liposuction.
Liposuction/liposculpture technique variations
Tumescent liposculpture is a relatively new technique that delivers accurate results and faster recovery times, with reduced need for pain relief. The tumescent fluid is an anaesthetic solution that consists of saline, lignocaine to numb the area, adrenaline to reduce bleeding and bicarbonate to reduce the sting. It also helps lift the fat off the muscle off the wall, making for easier removal and minimising the risk of complications.
Ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty involves the use of tumescent fluid which is injected into the fat, which numbs the area and reduces bleeding. A special cannula is inserted into the fatty tissue to deliver ultrasonic energy, producing rapid vibrations that causes fat to liquefy. A suction cannula is used to remove the fat more easily, resulting in a smoother effect. It is particularly useful in fibrous areas like the upper back or male breast.
Frequently asked questions about liposuction
Who are the best candidates for lipo?
The best candidates for liposuction are people with firm, elastic skin who have pockets of excess fat in certain unwanted areas. You should be physically healthy, psychologically stable and realistic in your expectations.
Age is not a major consideration, however old patients may have diminished skin elasticity and may not achieve the same results as a younger patient with tighter skin.
What’s involved with the liposculpture procedure?
The procedure is performed in the hospital, and involves the removal of localised deposits of fat to re-contour one or more areas of the body. Through a tiny incision, a narrow tube or cannula is inserted and used to vacuum the fat layer that lies beneath the skin. The cannula is passed through the fat layer, breaking up the fat cells and suctioning them out. An ultrasonic probe may first be used to break down the fat.
Smaller volume liposuction can be done via day surgery, and if a limited number of sites are involved the procedure can be performed under a local anaesthetic. If a large volume of fat is to be removed (or if being done in conjunction with other procedures), an overnight stay in hospital will be required. The time required will vary depending on the size of the area, the amount of fat being removed, the type of anaesthetic and technique.
What are the risks of liposuction?
Liposuction is normally very safe, though large volume liposuction over 5 litres carries more significant risks with greater fluid shifts. For safe maximum removal, volumes of 2 litres are preferred. This is not a solution for overweight people, and obesity carries a high risk of deep vein thrombosis and lung embolus.
Specific complications include contour problems and disturbance of sensation in the treated area. Numbness generally settles within 6 weeks of surgery. Contour problems are usually minor, but may require a “touch up” if they persist.
Imperfections in the final appearance are not uncommon, and skin surface may be irregular, asymmetric or baggy, especially in the older or high weight loss patient.
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