Liposuction is a procedure that can help sculpt the body by removing unwanted fat from specific areas, including the abdomen, hips, buttocks, thighs, knees, upper arms, chin, cheeks and neck. Liposuction, is also known as “lipoplasty”, “suction lipectomy,” and “liposculpture”. Liposuction is not a substitute for dieting and exercise, but liposuction can remove stubborn areas of fat that don’t respond to weight-loss methods. It is sometimes done in combination of other procedures such as a tummy tuck.
CANDIDATES FOR LIPOSUCTION
To be a good candidate for liposuction, your expectations must be realistic about what the procedure can do for you. It is not a substitute for weight loss.
The best candidates for liposuction are normal-weight people with firm, elastic skin who have pockets of excess fat in certain areas. Your age is not a major factor; however, older patients may have less skin elasticity and may not obtain the same results as a younger patient with tighter skin.
PLANNING YOUR LIPOSUCTION SURGERY
In your initial consultation, Dr. Chavez will evaluate your health, determine where your fat deposits are and assess the condition of your skin. She will explain the body-contouring methods that may be most appropriate for you. For example, if you believe you want liposuction in the abdominal area, you may learn that an abdominoplasty or “tummy tuck” may more effectively meet your goals.
Be honest in discussing your expectations with Dr. Chavez. She will be equally honest with you. She will describe the procedure in detail and explain its risks and limitations.
ANSWERING YOUR LIPOSUCTION QUESTIONS
There are many options and techniques available for those who are interested in liposuction.. Dr. Chavez can help. She can help determine which is the right treatment approach for you by looking at the effectiveness, safety, cost and appropriateness of the techniques for your needs. This is called surgical judgment, a skill that is developed through surgical training and experience. She also uses this judgment to prevent complications; to handle unexpected occurrences during surgery; and to treat complications when they occur.
PREPARING FOR YOUR LIPOSUCTION SURGERY
Dr. Chavez will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for liposuction surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding vitamins, iron tablets and certain medications.
While you are making preparations, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after the procedure and, if needed, to help you at home for a day or two.
The time required to perform liposuction may vary, depending on the size of the area, the amount of fat being removed, the type of anesthesia and the technique used.
There are several liposuction techniques that can be used to improve the ease of the procedure and to enhance outcome.
Liposuction is a procedure in which localized deposits of fat are removed to recontour 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 deep beneath the skin. The cannula is pushed then pulled through the fat layer, breaking up the fat cells and suctioning them out. The suction action is provided by a vacuum pump. If many sites are being treated, Dr. Chavez will then move on to the next area, working to keep the incisions as inconspicuous as possible.
Fluid is lost along with the fat, and it’s crucial that this fluid be replaced during the procedure to prevent shock. For this reason, patients need to be carefully monitored and receive intravenous fluids during and immediately after surgery.
All Surgery Carries Some Uncertainty And Risk including Liposuction Surgery
However, it’s important to keep in mind that even though a well-trained surgeon and a state-of-the art facility can improve your chance of having a good result, there are no guarantees. Though they are rare, complications can and do occur. Risks increase if a greater number of areas are treated at the same time, or if the operative sites are larger in size. Removal of a large amount of fat and fluid may require longer operating times than may be required for smaller operations.
The combination of these factors can create greater hazards for infection; delays in healing; the formation of fat clots or blood clots, which may migrate to the lungs and cause death; excessive fluid loss, which can lead to shock or fluid accumulation that must be drained; friction burns or other damage to the skin or nerves or perforation injury to the vital organs; and unfavorable drug reactions.
The scars from liposuction are small and strategically placed to be hidden from view. However, imperfections in the final appearance are not uncommon after lipoplasty. The skin surface may be irregular, asymmetric or even “baggy,” especially in the older patient. Numbness and pigmentation changes may occur. Sometimes, additional surgery may be recommended.
AFTER YOUR LIPOSUCTION SURGERY
After liposuction surgery, you will likely experience some fluid drainage from the incisions. Occasionally, a small drainage tube may be inserted beneath the skin for a couple of days to prevent fluid build-up. To control swelling and to help your skin better fit its new contours, you will be fitted with a snug elastic garment to wear over the treated area for a few weeks. Dr. Chavez will also prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection.
Don’t expect to look or feel great right after liposuction surgery. Even though the newer techniques are believed to reduce some post-operative discomforts, you may still experience some pain, burning, swelling, bleeding and temporary numbness. Pain can be controlled with medications prescribed by Dr. Chavez, though you may still feel stiff and sore for a few days.
It is normal to feel a bit anxious or depressed in the days or weeks following liposuction surgery. However, this feeling will subside as you begin to look and feel better.
RECOVERY AFTER LIPOSUCTION
Healing is a gradual process. Dr. Chavez will tell you to start walking around as soon as possible to reduce swelling and to help prevent blood clots from forming in your legs. You will begin to feel better after about a week or two and you should be back at work within a few days following your surgery. The stitches are removed or dissolve on their own within the first week.
Activity that is more strenuous should be avoided for about a month as your body continues to heal. Although most of the bruising and swelling usually disappears within three weeks, some swelling may remain for six months or more.
Dr. Chavez will schedule follow-up visits to monitor your progress and to see if any additional procedures are needed.
If you have any unusual symptoms between visits — for example, heavy bleeding or a sudden increase in pain — or any questions about what you can and can’t do, it is best to call her.
You will see a noticeable difference in the shape of your body quite soon after liposuction surgery. However, improvement will become even more apparent after about four to six weeks, when most of the swelling has subsided. After about three months, any persistent mild swelling usually disappears and the final contour will be visible. It could take up to 6 months to see the final result.
If your expectations are realistic, you will probably be very pleased with the results of your liposuction surgery. You may find that you are more comfortable in a wide variety of clothes and more at ease with your body. And, by eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise, you can help to maintain your new shape.