Liposuction is the removal of unwanted bulges of fat by the use of thin straw like metal tubes, called cannulaes. These fat deposits may be formed virtually anywhere on the body but are more commonly deposited on the tummy, hips, flanks, inner and outer thighs, knees and chin. In men a condition called gynaecomastia (enlarged male breasts) is a common problem.
What are the benefits?
It is widely accepted that eating a healthy diet and taking regular exercise will help us keep our weight and figure in check. However sometimes despite all our best efforts we lose the fight and fat collects in some regions of the body which are stubbornly resistant to diet and exercise. Liposuction can remove these fatty areas.
Liposuction involves a number of tiny incisions (about 3-4mm) being made in the skin in the areas to be treated. Following this the areas are injected with the tumescent solution, the solution contains a generous amount of anesthetic to help reduce pain. When the tumescent solution is injected, it causes the fat to swell or become firm, which makes it much easier for the liposuction cannula to move under the skin. It also makes fat removal much easier, reducing stress on the body. The solution is then allowed to diffuse and take effect (about 10-15mins) and as previously mentioned the solution will numb the areas as well as reduce bleeding by temporarily closing down the capillaries. The cannulaes are then inserted into the fat, then through backward and forward stroking motions the fat is loosened and drawn off by a strong vacuum pump.
How long does the operation take?
Liposuction takes approximately 1-2 hours to perform depending on the extent of surgery required.
How long do I stay in hospital?
Liposuction can be performed as a day case or an Inpatient requiring overnight stay in hospital and is performed under a general anaesthetic but can be performed under local anaesthetic in some cases.
What can I expect afterwards?
After the surgery you will notice that some fluid will be draining from your tiny incisions. This is normal as there is usually some fluid build-up in the treated areas in the first 24-36 hours postoperatively and it will help in reducing the overall post operative swelling and bruising. Due to the incisions being very small, these heal quite quickly. Please note that due to this draining, your dressings and clothing will usually get soaked for a day or two following your surgery, requiring regular changes. This usually stops approximately 48 hours after surgery.
Despite wound drainage, you are still likely to experience swelling and some severe bruising, which can take up to 3-4 weeks to disappear. Swelling can also last up to 4 weeks and because of this swelling you will probably not notice any change in your size immediately after surgery. Try to keep in mind that this is normal and will subside and the results of your surgery will begin to come through.
At around 2-3 weeks after surgery, you will discover that the areas treated will feel hard and irregular; this is normal and part of the healing process. You will also experience sensory changes in the area treated. This may result in numbness of the skin or alternatively it may feel hypersensitive. This is usually temporary and returns to normal in about 6-8 weeks.
Pain and discomfort is minimal and well controlled with oral pain relief. You should be able return to work after two weeks, however if you have a physically demanding job you will need to wait at least four weeks.
What are the long-term results?
The results of liposuction can be permanent, providing you maintain a healthy lifestyle, eating a well balanced diet and exercise regularly. You must understand that that the results of your liposuction may not be immediately apparent as you have to allow your body to recover. As long as you have realistic expectations you should be happy with your new shape.
What are the risks?
With any surgical procedure there are always associated risks. However, if your surgery is undertaken by a qualified plastic surgeon the risks are reduced, nonetheless, specific complications may occur. Such as the risk of infection which is reduced by taking preventative measures such as administering antibiotics both at the time of and following your surgery. However despite these measures mild infection is relatively common and can occur around the incision site, but usually subsides over a period of about 2 weeks.
It is important for you to examine the reasons for undergoing a cosmetic surgery procedure as it is unlikely to resolve any life issues you may have. Having surgery for someone else is not the basis from which to make a decision. Cosmetic surgery will certainly boost your self esteem but you do need to be realistic about your expectations. Cosmetic surgery will lead to marked improvements but you need to be aware that the end result of your surgery can and does take time and you need to allow your body to recover.
Our aim is to fully understand your concerns and desires before agreeing on a treatment plan which is in your best interest. At consultation your consultant surgeon will explain your treatment fully including any potential risks and complications. Your consultation surgeon will advise you of the best strategy to address all of your needs and will also explain all aspects of your post-operative care.
If you would like to speak to one of our consultant surgeons, Mr Alan Park or Mr Sudip Ghosh, please do not hesitate to telephone or fill out our online form.
Many things however, such as our weight can be broadly controlled. It is thus widely accepted that it makes sense to eat a healthy diet and to exercise. Therefore people who are truly concerned about their appearance adhere reasonably well to the various regimens available. However sometimes despite all our best efforts to lose or control the fat, some regions of the body contain stubborn diet and exercise resistant fat. Resistant, localised fat deposits are usually an inherited problem, so don’t blame yourself for their presence.