What is a Liposuction?
Liposuction, also known as Liposculpture or Suction Assisted Lipectomy, is a technique to remove unwanted fat deposits. The unsightly distribution of body fat is usually due to an inborn tendency to deposit fat in one particular area of the body, most commonly the hips. Other areas include; the neck, arms, tummy, loins, thighs, inner side of the knees and the ankles. The growth of a benign fat tumor (Lipoma) can also be a disfigurement, and in men fatty swellings can develop under the nipples to look like breasts (Gynaecomastia).
What can be done
If you have a localised area of fat it is possible to reduce its bulk by an operation called Liposuction. A narrow metal tube is inserted through a small incision in the nearby skin. It is attached to a strong vacuum pump which is drawn back and forth within the area of excess fat. The process removes tunnels of fat leaving the small blood vessels and nerves intact. The skin will then retract.
There are some minor variants in the techniques. Some surgeons inject the area to be treated with solutions (wet or tumescent technique) others do not. Suction is usually applied with a powerful vacuum machine, but it is some-times perfectly adequate to use a simple syringe for small areas. Ultrasound assisted Lipectomy is another variant.
Will it last?
Fat cells are thought not to be regenerated in adult life. Therefore their removal by Liposuction will give a permanent change in contour and be independent of any changes in your body weight.
Do I need to prepare for the Surgery?
You should avoid aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs for 2 weeks before the operation. You should take iron if you are anaemic. Occasionally Mr Khan will advise you to stop taking the Contraceptive Pill if the Liposuction is going to be extensive, perhaps involving skin excision.
What are the Limitations
It is important for you to understand that Liposuction is Not a Treatment for Obesity. The amount of fat that can be removed from a localised area is limited by what is safe (maximum of 3 litres) and a natural limitation when no further fat can be removed. Therefore it may not be possible to slim down an area as much as you might like. Further treatments may be carried out in the same area after six months. In certain situations the skin is inelastic and loose. Liposuction in these areas will then tend to leave the skin more loose and it may be recommended that a skin excision be carried out to correct this, either at the same time as the Liposuction, or as a second procedure. This is most likely in the abdomen, after pregnancy or weight loss, the buttocks or the neck. Dimples and wrinkles of the skin, sometimes called cellulite will not be improved by Liposuction.
How is a Liposuction performed?
There are two main types of Liposuction techniques – wet and dry. Both are normally performed under general anaesthetic and Mr Khan will agree which one is most suitable with you beforehand. If you are only having a small amount of fat removed, a local anaesthetic can be used instead.
Mr Khan will inject a fluid mixture made up of a salty solution, local anaesthetic and adrenaline to help reduce bleeding, bruising and swelling. It also makes it easier for the fat cells to be removed.
A small incision is made in your skin to allow a narrow metal tube (Microcannula) to be inserted. This is attached to a strong vacuum pump that is drawn back and forth within the area of excess fat to remove it.
The cut is then closed with stitches. Several cuts may be made if you are having a large area treated.
The Dry Liposuction method is similar but does not use an injection of fluid.
The process leaves your small blood vessels and nerves intact, although it can result in more bruising than wet liposuction.
After the fat has been sucked out, Mr Khan will drain any excess fluid and blood using small tubes.
Recovery after Liposuction Surgery
You are likely to need simple pain killers for a day or so after the operation and you will probably be asked to return a week after surgery to have sutures removed. A snug pressure garment or corset is usually advised around the lower part of the body. This is used to reduce bruising but can be taken off to wash, quickly dried and put back on. You can take this opportunity to bathe yourself. The corset is usually worn for two to three weeks.
You will only need to take a few days off work if a small area is treated, but larger areas may necessitate 7 to 10 days off work. You may be somewhat anaemic and need to take iron. You are welcome to sunbathe but remember that discoloration of bruising will last about a month and you will not achieve your best appearance for three to six months.