Liposuction – What is it?

Liposuction – What is it?

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By Dr. S. K Chawla, Cosmetic/Plastic Surgery

Plastic surgery has made it much easier for a man or a woman to achieve their dream figures. Fat deposits around the abdomen are one of the most common problem areas for men and women. Despite regular exercise and diet control, this fat can be difficult to get rid of. Liposuction is a cosmetic surgical procedure that can help remove this fat permanently.

Liposuction may be performed independently or along with other cosmetic procedures such as a tummy tuck, facelift or breast reduction. It can also be used to treat medical conditions such as gynecomastia, lipomas, excessive sweating under the arms and problems related to fat metabolism in the body.

Liposuction is an outpatient procedure that may need local anesthesia. It involves making tiny cuts in the abdomen through which a blunt tipped tube is inserted. These tubes target specific fat deposits and are used for the suction of fat. This helps reshape the body and improve its contours. Liposuction can be used to treat fat deposits on the abdomen, thighs, hips, back, upper arms, chest, calves, and face. However, it cannot help remove cellulite or loose skin. It can also not be used as a substitute for a healthy diet and exercise.

Some of the newer techniques associated with liposuction include:

  1. Tumescent liposuction: In this procedure, a local anesthetic is used to numb the area. This is followed by injecting a large amount of anesthetic solution with lidocaine and epinephrine in the fat deposits. The fat is then suctioned out with tubes.
  2. Ultrasound-assisted liposuction: This procedure involves the use of ultrasound waves to liquefy the fat. This makes it easier to remove and can be helpful in liposuction of the neck, upper abdomen, back, and sides.
  3. Laser-assisted liposuction: In this procedure, low energy waves are used to liquefy the fat before it can be removed.

After the procedure, the part of the body treated will be wrapped in elastic bandages and tape to reduce the swelling, pain and bruising. A special girdle or firm-fitting garment may also be used for additional support. Swelling and bruising are common side effects that can be seen for the first 7 to 10 days after the procedure. You may also notice fluid draining from the incision sites for a few days. Antibiotics are often prescribed to reduce the risk of infection. The speed of recovery depends on the amount of area treated. Larger areas usually take longer to heal.