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Liposuction is the surgical removal of fat from the body. It is done to improve the contours of the body by removing excess fat from certain areas. It is done under local or general anaesthesia.

The term liposuction is derived from the greek word “lipos” which means fat. Liposuction is not a way to lose weight but is good for people who have certain stubborn pockets of fat which they cannot get rid of through diet or exercise.

The impression may people have is that liposuction tightens the skin as well. However this is not true and many people who have undergone liposuction have to undergo surgery to remove excess skin.


[edit] The Procedure

A small steel tube like instrument known as a cannula is inserted into the fat under the skin through tiny incisions that are made by the surgeon. The cannula breaks up the unwanted fat and the unwanted fat is then, quite literally, sucked out by a powerful suction pump. This is done under local or general anaesthesia.

[edit] Different Liposuction Techniques

There are several different types of liposuction methods. They include:

  • Tumuscent liposuction
  • Ultrasonic assisted liposuction
  • LipoSelection
  • Power assisted liposuction

Of these, the tumuscent method is considered the safest. This is because it allows for the use of micro-cannulas which cannot be used in the other methods. The use of micro-cannulas means that the removal of fat leaves less depressions and irregularities in the skin than the larger cannulas.

Benefits of Liposuction

Liposuction is a boon for people suffering from low self esteem because of their appearance. Liposuction removes stubborn pockets of fat and improves the overall appearance of the body by contouring it. The benefits of liposuction are improved self confidence and better self esteem.

[edit] Risks of Liposuction

Minor risks and side effects

As with any kind of surgery, liposuction has its share of risks and side effects. The minor possible side effects include swelling, bruising and scarring, infection, fluid accumulation at the site, lumpy appearance, sagging skin, discoloured skin, fat or blood clots, damage to the skin or the nerves or extended healing time. In addition, attempting to remove too much fat at a time can cause lumps, dents and sagging skin. A patient who wants a large amount of fat to be removed should be prepared to undergo several liposuction procedures over a period of time rather than have a dangerously large amount of fat removed in one day.

Swelling is inevitable after any kind of surgery. It usually lessens after a while. If the swelling it could be an indication of other problems. The doctor should then be informed immediately.

Bruises are also inevitable after surgery but , with proper care, they usually disappear within a month.

Serious Side Effects

The more serious side effects include allergic reaction to anesthesia, internal blood clots which can be fatal, excessive bleeding, severe drug reaction, cardiac arrest, damage to the brain due to prolonged anaesthesia and permanent nerve damage.

[edit] Minimizing Complications

To minimize complications it is important to have a frank discussion with the surgeon who will be performing the surgery and discuss the procedure in complete detail with him. Doubts with regard to bruising, swelling, etc. should also be discussed. Medical history including any allergies or illnesses should also be discussed. The surgeon should be carefully selected keeping in mind his experience and his reputation in the field. It is also important to follow the surgeon’s instructions on how to prepare for the surgery.

[edit] Avoiding weight gain after Liposuction

Many people believe that after liposuction they will not have to worry about their weight any more.Liposuction is no guarantee that a person will not regain weight. It is important to exercise and follow a healthy and moderate diet in order to ensure that the weight does not come back. Exercising atleast every alternate day for thirty minutes is essentail to keep the weight from coming back.

The surgeon will probably advise a patient to start a mild walking routine two or three days after the surgery. This is important because it prevents blood clots from forming. Most people can go back to thir daily routine within a few days. Vigorous exercise is not recommended for atleast a month following the surgery. The doctor is the best judge and his advice should be taken seriously.

[edit] Avoiding disappointment after liposuction

While the results of liposuction are dramatic, they are not always evident right awy. This is due to the swelling that takes a while to recede. It is best not to have unrealistic expectations. A number of factors such as elasticity of the skin, age and weight determine the success of the surgery. People suffering from cardiac problems, diabetes or artery problems cannot go in for liposuction.

[edit] How to Choose a Liposuction Surgeon

It is important to choose a doctor you can trust. Before selecting a doctor check about all the practioners in the area. Visit them and ask them a lot of questions, discuss your fears and doubts with them. A good surgeon will not make exaggerated promises or claims. He will rely on his reputation to and his skill as a surgeon to convince you that he is the right choice for you.

Make sure he is a certified physicisn with atleast five years of experience in the field of plastic surgery, including such procedures as body, face and breast reconstruction. Find out how many liposuction procedures he has performed. The more experience he has the better he will be at the procedure. It is also important to ensure that the operation take place in a reputed, licensed medical facility. If possible speak to some of the patients at the facility and ask them about their experiences, including details about hygenie, post operative care, patient safety and the reputation of the doctor.

Also ask the surgeon to show you some before and after pictures of his liposuction patients. If the afetr results show bumpy, uneven skin or too much of bruising and swelling, the surgeon is either inexperienced or unskilled.

[edit] Did you know

  • Liposuction is probably the most popular surgery being done today.
  • Approximately 200,000 people had liposuction performed on themin the year 1998.
  • Liposuction was first performed in the 1980s. Tremendous improvement has taken place since then with regard to techniques and equipment.
  • Since liposuction is considered a cosmetic procedure, it is not covered by most insurance companies.

[edit] References

  • Surgeon Locator
  • DocShop
  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons