Liposuction is a cosmetic surgery procedure that works by breaking the fat and ‘sucking’ it out of the body. This is also referred to as lipoplasty, liposculpture suction, lipectomy, or lipo. It is performed either by a plastic or dermatologic surgeon. This technique is used to remove fat pockets from specific areas of the body commonly including abdomen, hips, thighs, buttocks, and arms. One must understand that liposuction is not a weight-loss procedure but it helps in shaping or contouring the body. Additionally, liposuction can also be used in other surgical procedures like breast reduction and gynecomastia treatment if the conditions are caused by excess fat accumulation in the target area.
An ideal candidate for liposuction is the one who has good overall health and stable body weight but has stubborn fat pockets in specific body parts.
There are different techniques for liposuction. The basic principle is the use of a hollow instrument, called a cannula, connected to vacuum suction which sucks disrupted fat from the body. It is usually done under general anesthesia unless the target site is small.
Some commonly used techniques are:
It is common to experience bruising, swelling, and soreness for a few weeks after the procedure. Hospital stay depends upon the technique used and the amount of fat extracted. It is suggested to wear a compression garment for 1 to 2 months after surgery as it helps to control swelling. Most people can resume work within a few days and get back to normal activities within 2 to 3 weeks.
There may be post-surgical complications in some patients like infection, numbness, bruising, inflammation and scarring and if too much fat is removed, there may be lumpiness or dents in the skin.
The results of liposuction are noticeable only after inflammation goes down. In some patients, this may take a few months. Most of the swelling settles in about 3 to 4 weeks. The area where fat was removed is expected to be less bulky.
People who will maintain their weight post-procedure can usually expect permanent results. If there is weight gain after liposuction the fat distribution may change. For example, fat might accumulate around the abdomen regardless of the areas originally treated.
To maintain the body contour, an appropriate diet, and regular exercise should be followed.