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Liposuction – Liposculpture – Surgical Body Contouring
Liposuction, commonly known as liposculpture, involves removing unwanted pockets of subcutaneous fat. Traditionally liposuction is solely a fat reduction procedure. However, the recent terms liposculpture and body contouring more specifically define newer techniques utilizing energy (eg ultrasound, laser, radiofrequency, highly pressurized water spray) at the same time as the traditional suction to obtain enhanced improvements in skin tightening and body shaping. Overall, fat removal while simultaneously recontouring, creates an aesthetically pleasing improve body. With newer techniques and devices, in some instances cellulite and skin looseness can also be improved, where in the past it was commonly made worse. Nonetheless, those with significant stretch marks, loose skin prior to liposuction can often have worsening of the skin laxity and should avoid overly aggressive liposuction procedures or consider skin removal surgery at the same time. Those with significant cellulite prior to the procedure should have a complimentary targeted treatment for this condition at the same time as the liposuction procedure.
Goals for a liposuction or liposculpture procedure:
Final results may not be evident for six months for most procedures and 1-2 years for hi-definition body contouring procedures. During this time, your body balances fluids and the skin and remodels underlying tissues. Final results also depend on proper nutrition and exercise. Some well-trained liposculpture surgeons will use non-invasive devices such as radiofrequency heating or ultrasound to speed the healing process and improve the chances of great outcomes (eg decreasing the risk of complications such as fluid build up, scar tissue, or lumps and bumps).
The liposuction procedure begins by making small incisions in hair bearing areas or natural skin folds to limit scarring. A special tumescent solution (eg fluid with anesthetic medication) is next placed within the fatty areas to be removed. This solution provides numbness to the areas and limits blood loss. Fat is then carefully removed from the areas of concern using a surgical instrument called a cannula, which is attached with tubing to a suction machine. A cannula is a small blunt-ended instrument with specialized openings at the end to allow for easy removal of fat with limited bruising and swelling.
The time for completion of the procedure depends upon the total amount of fatty tissue removed and the detail of the procedure. Traditional tumescent liposculpture procedures can take a few minutes to a few hours to take place. More detailed hi-definition contouring procedures can take hours to complete, as they require multiple steps to remove fat, tighten skin and create defined etched lines in areas of musculature. At the end of the procedure, the skin openings may be sutured or left open to heal, depending on the size of the openings. The patient is placed in a compression garment that is worn for certain amount of time afterwards.
While recovery is easy, you should expect some initial drainage along with swelling, bruising and discomfort. Your compression garment will minimize the swelling, bruising, discomfort and assist in the retraction of any loose skin.
While some results are noted immediately, your final shape and form will continue to improve as your swelling subsides. You will be encouraged to be up and about the night of your surgery and progressively increase your activities. Usually light work duties may be resumed within three to five days and vigorous exercise within two to four weeks.
Who is a Candidate for Liposuction?
Procedure Description for Liposuction
Recuperation and Healing
The specific risks and suitability of this procedure for a given individual can only be fully determined at the time of consultation with your cosmetic surgeon. All surgical procedures have some degree of risk. Minor complications, which rarely affect the overall cosmetic results, occur occasionally such as swelling, bruising, and skin numbness. Major complications are rare, but include cosmetic irregularities such as lumps and bumps, poor contouring or body shape, indentations, scarring, skin necrosis or skin death, discoloration of the skin, infections, bleeding or hematomas, fluid build up or seromas. Some major complications can be permanent and should be discussed with your surgeon prior to the proposed procedure.
Reviewed by Jason Emer, MD, FAAD, FAACS, www.jasonemermd.com