Liposuction is the number one cosmetic surgery procedure in both men and women. Having excess fat is a common human condition especially with the current state of the American diet. There are many ways to get rid of this excess fat and liposuction is one of the most common ways to get this done.
Liposuction (lipoplasty or lipo) is a surgical procedure to remove stubborn excess fat deposits in various areas of the body. Popular sites for lipo include the buttocks, abdomen, thighs, neck, and back. The procedure can be used as a stand-alone for treating a specific area, or it can be paired with complimentary procedures for more comprehensive change to your appearance.
Types of Liposuction Techniques
As a potential patient, you must be made aware of a few variations when it comes to liposuction. Each of these variations is an option that may or may not be available to you depending on the circumstances of the procedure. In general, liposuction is used to remove the fat from any number of areas around your body. This process uses what is known as the cannula, which is a plastic tube that is inserted under the skin and injects the various fluids needed to loosen up the fat cells so they can be vacuumed out. Depending on your medical history and the technique used, you may be able to have more or less fat removed from your body. A decision that is customarily determined by the surgeon and the anesthesiologist in regards to the safe outcome of the procedure.
1. Tumescent Technique
This is a traditional method of liposuction that is currently making the waves today. First developed by a dermatologic surgeon well known as Jeffrey Klein, M.D. in the 1980’s. He was also considered the leading plastic surgeon in the profession in those days.
The word “tumescence” describes a swollen and steady state of fatty tissues when they have been filled with a medical solution. With tumescent liposuction, a general anesthetic is used which is in a solution injected into the fat deposits which will be removed. While this technique takes longer for a plastic surgeon to perform, the injection fluid contains the entire amount of anesthetic you will need as a patient. This means that you do not require any further anesthetic risk for the procedure. The technique involves injecting into the tissues substantial amounts of anesthetic containing fluid. This is intended to harden the tissue and thus, make it easier to remove.
2. Super-wet technique
Like the tumescent technique, this method also involves injecting fluid to into the tissues to be removed. The medicated solution is made up of saline solution, a local anesthetic, and medication, which is used to contract blood vessels in the area.
The difference, however, is that the injected fluid in this technique is not as much, to begin with, and then liposuction requires general IV epidural anesthesia. Fluid injection helps your plastic surgeon remove the fatty deposits much easier, and at the same time provides you with the added benefit of pain reduction and less blood loss. This process rarely takes any longer than two hours to be completed, and the patient could be as good as new in that little time span.
The super-wet technique also uses some amount of lidocaine to add to the fluid, – Howbeit; this is only occasionally. In addition, the injection of fluid works to lessen the bruising you will experience post-procedure.
3. Ultrasound-assisted Liposuction (UAL)
This method, although new when compared to most of the others, has likewise been found to be pretty effective in dealing with excess or unwanted body fat. In this approach, a special cannula is employed which rapidly vibrates to release ultrasound energy when administered above the skin or below the surface of the skin. As the ultrasound energy passes through the fat cells, the energy liquefies the fat cells and so that they can be suctioned out. The ultrasound may be applied in two forms – the solid probe and hollow core probe. The procedure takes longer but is also known to be a lot more reliable and precise.
External ultrasonic energy is recommended and applied by some surgeons before or after the fat is removed by regular liposuction. Ultrasonic liposuction must ordinarily be combined with traditional liposuction when deep, and surface fat is being removed.
It is possible to eliminate fat from difficult areas such as the upper abdomen, flanks, hip, and back with ultrasonic liposuction. Ultrasonic technique is an addition and not a replacement of traditional liposuction procedures. The results obtained from ultrasonic lipoplasty are similar to those of traditional liposuction.
4. Power liposuction
According to doctors, this technique is smoother and faster than most the others. It makes use of a motorized cannula, which moves speedily back and forth and eliminates over forty percent of fat per minute.
Risks of Liposuction and its Complications
It is important to pick a highly skilled surgeon to reduce the risks and complications associated with liposuction. One must be a trained surgeon who is board certified and one who performs procedures that are in line with their training. Besides being highly recommended by his patients, the specialist must have excellent and legit credentials. If possible, get recommendations of a reputable surgeon from other doctors.
Although this procedure is relatively safe, it can also be fatal especially if you visit a practitioner who has no idea of what he is doing. There are plenty of those out here willing to perform such and similar procedures without the know-how.
In some cases, issues may still arise even when an expert performs it. Nonetheless, it is better to be on safe hands where the practitioner is in a position to handle unforeseen issues that may arise during the procedure.
Risks and complications that may occur include:
- Although rare in liposuction, an infection may occur. In case it does, it can be very aggressive and may cover a large area quite fast to the point of resulting to a medical emergency.
- Bleeding: It is definite that some blood will be lost during and after the procedure. However, there is a high risk that blood loss can increase severely after the procedure.
- This procedure has a serious risk of causing blood clots that may get to the lungs; therefore, it could be fatal. Hence, most surgeons use blood clot reduction methods like the use of compression boots.
- Liposuction specific risks include dimpling, waviness as well as hanging skin. The surgeon should address the potential for these occurring prior to the surgery after examining your skin type.
- The cannula used to break fat up before being suctioned out is hollow and blunt tipped and can puncture any other organ that it comes into contact with during the procedure. This can finally lead to death if the damage is not fixed. The cannula may also pierce the skin and cause scarring.
- If you suffer from chronic illnesses or other diseases like heart disease and diabetes among others or weakened body immunity, liposuction may take a toll on you.
The cannula is normally used to break the fat up while a liposuction machine suctions the fat out of the body. There are many technologies for suctioning out this fat that are currently being used and that continue to be developed for this procedure. Surgeons may use different techniques so reviewing these with the practitioner helps you decide on the surgeon to settle for based on the method they use to remove your fat.
Most of the highly skilled surgeons do not suction out all the fat. They leave some fat is left behind to help to sculpt a better body after the excess fat is removed. The surgeon has to make sure that your body looks thinner and better after the liposuction procedure.
Different regions of the body react differently to this surgical procedure. To acquire a great look at the end, the skin has to be in a position to snap back. The outer hips and thighs are better at this than other parts of the body like the inner thighs.
The body parts that will be suctioned are first filled up with sterile saltwater. In some situations, surgeons may add adrenaline (epinephrine) to the sterile saltwater to assist in the reduction of the amount of blood loss during and after the liposuction.
Using various incisions made into the different parts of the body where liposuction is to be performed, the fat is then suctioned out. These incisions are small and hidden in various skin creases on the body. This is done so that the scarring is left unnoticeable. Using many incisions also helps to create a smoother final look.
Recovery after the Procedure
It is normal to feel like you do not want to eat after the surgery. However, you should ensure that your body remains hydrated because a lot of oozing may occur thus increasing the risk of dehydration which can complicate the recovery process.
If liposuction was performed on your thigh and legs, your legs need to be kept elevated. You will be much bruised after the procedure and have a lot of swelling which will be almost gone after about two weeks. A day or two after the surgery, you return to the surgeon, you receive a clean girdle, and after that, you are allowed to take a shower. A week later, the stitches are removed.
The pain associated with liposuction is minimal, and you should be able to return to work in about five days after undergoing the surgery. The result of the surgery should be revealed after at least three months, but you should start to feel your clothing starting to feel looser after about two weeks as the swelling goes down.
The Cost of Liposuction
The cost for liposuction is about two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) per area to be liposuction on average. The cost also depends on the technique and technology used by the surgeon to get rid of the excess fat that will vary from one surgeon to the other while some techniques are more expensive than others are. If you require liposuction in more than one area of the body, you may be able to get a discounted rate.