Liposuction

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LiposuctionLiposuction is the removal of fat tissue from body areas to achieve a better contour. It is not intended as a weight loss operation. It utilizes high power suction and a small tube called a cannula. The cannula is moved back and forth within the fat, the suction pulls the fat into the tube where it is ‘cut’ and removed from the body. Application of pressure (an elastic garment) will then allow the skin and residual fat to recontour to a new shape.

Not all areas of the body are able to be contoured by liposuction. Successful recon-touring requires that the fat deposit be accessible and that the overlying skin tone or elasticity is good enough to allow the skin to “shrink” to fit the new underlying shape. Factors such as excessive wrinkling, large volumes of fat to be removed, cellulite and stretch marks all need to be considered when evaluating someone for liposuction. The areas diagrammed to the right are the most common areas treated by liposuction. If the skin tone is of poor quality, an additional or alternative procedure may be required to tighten the skin. This often is the case in the abdominal area especially following pregnancy or repeated bouts of weight gain and loss.

The operation requires small incisions near the area to be treated. These are usually hidden in natural body folds or creases. Sutures will be placed at surgery and will need to be removed 4-7 days following the operation.

Although this procedure can be done under local anesthesia when small areas are being treated, general anesthesia usually provides a greater margin of safety and comfort when large or multiple areas are to be treated. The operation takes 1-3 hours depending on the number of areas to be treated and the volume to be removed. It is usually done as day surgery in a hospital setting. This ensures the safest environment for your surgery.

At the end of the procedure, you will be placed in a compression garment or girdle. This compression is very important to achieve the best result. The creation of small tunnels by the removal of fat leaves the potential for blood or serum to collect in these channels. This may lead to scar formation, ridges, wavy appearance and ultimately, an unsatisfactory result. This supportive garment will need to be worn day and night to keep constant pressure on the treated areas. You may remove it to shower only. It is not uncommon to wear the garment for 4-6 weeks following surgery and then intermittently for several more weeks while you become more active. Activity should also be limited to normal, light duty at work, normal house work and walking. You should not return to full activity or exercise for 4-6 weeks.

Although you will see some change upon removal of the garment for the first time, the final contour may not be seen for several months due to swelling and bruising. The swelling and bruising may be quite pronounced and may extend beyond the treated areas. This will subside over 3-5 weeks.

In any operation there are risks to be considered. These include bleeding, infection, numbness, pain or discomfort, widening of the scars, thick or ugly scars, areas of fullness or asymmetry, reactions to the medications or anesthetics, removal of too much or too little fat and /or failure to achieve your desired appearance. Numbness of the treated area may exist after the operation and may last several months. Irregular contour, wrinkling of the skin, lumpiness, areas of depression (dents) or residual fullness may result. Discoloration of the skin from the bruising will usually fade but permanent discoloration may result.

Efforts will be made to reduce the risks of this operation. You must help by following all preoperative and postoperative instructions and by keeping all scheduled appointments. You must report any changes in your condition to the office so that treatment may be altered if necessary. If you smoke, your healing will be delayed and you increase the risk of a complication following your surgery. Any potential problems could result in the need for additional surgery and recovery time, time lost from work, possible hospitalization, financial loss, disappointment and/or psychological stress to you.

Please take time to consider this operation carefully and to ask any questions you may have regarding the procedure, risk or healing.