Lipsuction To Remove Fat
Also called lipoplasty, liposculpture or suction lipectomy, liposuction is designed to remove areas of excess body fat in order to re-shape the body. Liposuction is not designed to treat or reduce obesity. It is a cosmetic surgical procedure. Also, lipoplasty should not be confused with bariatric plastic surgery operations, such as abdominoplasty (tummy tuck). These plastic surgery procedures remove excess fat and skin and tighten loose muscle, whereas liposuction only removes fat. The main types of lipoplasty include: superwet, tumescent or ultrasound liposuction.
What are the Possible Health Side Effects of Liposuction?
The most common medical side effects of lipoplasty include:
- Bruising – painful in the short term, but treatable with pain killers and reduces quite quickly.
- Swelling – typically reduces in 4-6 weeks.
- Scarring – varies according to the type of liposuction used and stitching technique. Usually fades over the coming months.
- Pain – typically temporary and treatable by prescription or over-the-counter medication.
- Numbness – typically fades after 3-4 weeks.
- Mobility – can be reduced post-operatively for a while. Your plastic surgeon will advise you how soon you can resume normal activity.
What are the Possible Health Complications of Liposuction?
In general, the overall safety of a liposuction operation depends not only on the amount of fat tissue and fluid removed, and the number of sites suctioned, but also on the choice of anesthetic and the physical health of the patient. According to one study of 700 liposuction operations (Source: Dermatologic Surgery, July 2004) the rate of health complications were: overall clinical complications (0.7 percent), minor complication rate (0.57 percent), major complication rate (0.14 percent). More serious health consequences include:
- Allergic reaction to anesthesia or medication used during the lipoplasty operation.
- Infection resulting from bacteria entering one of the many incisions made for the cannula.
- Skin damage resulting from damaged tissue beneath the skin.
- Skin necrosis (dead skin) is a rare complication, requiring extended healing and care.
- Puncture of an internal organ. Organ damage is rare but can be life-threatening. An experienced plastic surgeon is not likely to cause this kind of danger.
- Uneven removal of fat tissue, leading to imperfect body contouring.
- Burns: sometimes the cannula movement can cause friction burns to skin or nerves. Also, in UAL, the heat from the ultrasound device can cause injury to the skin or deeper tissue.
- Lidocaine toxicity: when the super-wet or tumescent methods are used, too much saline fluid may be injected, or the fluid may contain too high a concentration of lidocaine. Then the lidocaine may become too much for that particular person’s system. Lidocaine poisoning at first causes tingling and numbness and eventually seizures, followed by unconsciousness and respiratory or cardiac arrest.
- Fluid imbalance: since fat contains a lot of fluid and is removed in liposuction, and since the surgeon injects fluid for the procedure, even a very large amount of it for tumescent liposuction, there is a danger of the body’s fluid balance being disturbed. This could happen afterwards, after the patient is at home. If too much fluid remains in the body, the heart, lungs and kidneys could be badly affected.
- Thrombo-embolism, pulmonary embolism and fat embolisation are very rare circulatory dangers of liposuction, requiring emergency treatment.
Does Recovery After Liposuction Surgery Take Long?
No. Liposuction patients are able to move around within a 24-hour period following the surgical procedure, and return to work within 3-14 days. Non-absorbable stitches or sutures are usually removed 5-10 days after the operation. In general, recovery after liposuction surgery varies according to several factors, including: the lipoplasty technique used, the pre-op health of the patient, the amount of fat removed and any surgical complications.
What Can I Do To Speed Up Recovery After Lipoplasty?
There are several things a patient can do after liposuction surgery to expedite recovery.
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
- Do not drink alcohol for a week either side of the operation.
- Do not place ice packs or heating pads on the areas operated on.
- Do not take a bath or go swimming for at least a week after the operation.
- Learn and adopt healthy eating and exercise habits to maintain a desirable body shape.
Do Lipoplasty Operations Leave Scars?
Temporary scarring is perfectly normal after any surgery involving incisions. Typically, most plastic surgeons make minimal incisions in areas that are more easily concealed. Generally, most if not all scars will fade, even though there may be small traces remaining.
Can I Combine Liposuction With Other Cosmetic Procedures?
Yes. Lipoplasty is frequently combined with other cosmetic surgeries. This is because liposuction does NOT help to tighten loose skin (which must be surgically removed), nor does it help to tighten muscles. Therefore plastic surgeons often use specific surgical techniques (eg. rhytidectomy or facelift, mastopexy breast lift, abdominoplasty or tummy tuck, lower body lift, panniculectomy, thigh lift, or buttock lift) to excise loose skin and improve muscles. Liposuction is used for the final smoothing or body contouring. To determine whether liposuction alone is suitable or whether other cosmetic procedures are necessary, the surgeon may consider three factors: the amount of excess skin present, the amount and location of fatty deposits, and the degree of muscle weakness. If the patient has only a limited amount of surplus fat and good skin elasticity, he/she may be a candidate for liposuction alone. For limited excess fat excess where it is confined to the area below the belly button, a mini-abdominoplasty may be best without any liposuction. If there is a lot of excess or loose skin and/or significant muscle laxity, a full abdominoplasty with liposuction is indicated in order to achieve the best body sculpturing. Liposuction and plastic surgery is often required following massive weight loss caused by stomach bypass bariatric operations like Roux-en-Y or Biliopancreatic Diversion Duodenal Switch.
Warning – Liposuction Is Not A Suitable Treatment For Morbid Or Super-Obesity
Liposuction is not an appropriate surgical method of reducing obesity. Bariatric Surgery is the only effective surgical option for severely obese patients. For more information about the various types of bariatric operations, how they reduce food intake and help patients to lose weight, please and see these guides: Health Dangers of Bariatric Surgery – Health Dangers of Gastric Bypass – Does Obesity Surgery Work? – Weight Loss Surgery Results – Gastrointestinal Surgery Types – Weight Loss Surgery Risks And Benefits – Adjustable Gastric Banding (AGB) – Lap-Band Surgery – Vertical Banded Gastroplasty (VBG) – Stomach Bypass Obesity Surgery – Roux-en-Y-Gastric Bypass – Biliopancreatic Diversion Bypass (BPD) – Duodenal Switch Bypass (BPD-DS)
How Much Does Liposuction Surgery Cost?
Liposuction is deemed to be a cosmetic surgical procedure, not a medical one, and is typically NOT covered by health insurance. Typically, liposuction in the United States costs roughly $2,000 per site operated on. Your liposuction surgeon will advise you on the specific cost of your chosen procedure.
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