Liposuction, also known as lipectomy, is a cosmetic surgical procedure during which the fat deposits are removed from different areas of the body. The surgery is typically associated with a rapid fat loss, but precautions are taken to ensure that proper amounts of fat are removed in any single session to ensure the patient’s safety.
The process begins with an evaluation of the patient’s health history including any genetic predispositions. Lifestyle choices, such as dietary habits and smoking, are also taken into consideration along with current medical conditions. To be a good candidate, the individual must be in good general health and over 18 years of age. Older patients may not be considered for the procedure as aged skin loses its elasticity and may not be able to recover from this type of surgery. Heart problems, infections and diabetes may also limit the person’s eligibility for liposuction.
The basic liposuction consists of extraction of proper amounts of fat without any disturbance to the surrounding tissues and organs creating the least amount of discomfort for the patient. The procedure has evolved over the years into a safe method of fat removal and body contouring resulting in an attractive outcome. An extensive preparation period proceeds liposuction to ensure safety and includes the following.
- You must be cleared by your medical provider for liposuction.
- Certain medications, such as anticoagulants will have to be discontinued two weeks prior the surgery.
- You must stop smoking two months before the surgery.
- With the use of general anesthesia, you will have to fast for several hours.
- You will be asked to sign the consent form on the day of surgery.
- You will be administered antibiotics before and after surgery.
As with any surgical procedure, the side effects are to be expected, but with proper post-op care should not disturb the patient’s recovery. The immediate consequences of liposuction typically include bruising and swelling with minor scarring. Temporary weight gain associated with fluid retention may also occur and diminishes over a period of few weeks. The most notable side effect is post-operative pain which is controlled by medication. Some patients experience numbness in the region of surgery, which is caused by lingering remnants of the local anesthesia administered before the procedure. The anesthetic is slowly absorbed by the body during the healing process and the feeling of numbness dissipates.
Beyond minor and temporary side effects, there are more complicated risks if the standards of safety are not followed. These may include allergic reactions to the materials and medications used during the surgery. It is imperative that the patient discloses all medical information prior having the liposuction performed. The risk of infection is also considered and is typically avoided by using the antibiotics before, during and after the procedure. More involved complications may include damage to the skin and skin necrosis where the affected tissue falls off creating painful wounds. If extensive amounts of fat are removed in one session, unevenness of the skin surface may create bumpy appearance. Liposuction can also disturb the fluid balance in the body causing overflow of the lungs, kidneys and heart.
All reasonable precautions are taken during the treatment. However, you are ultimately responsible for choosing properly educated, credentialed and skilled plastic surgeon who will perform the surgery. The patient should be well informed before making the final decision. The surgeon should be board certified and have an extensive portfolio displaying his familiarity and experience with liposuction. The surgeon should be also currently certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support. In addition, you should be able to check the referrals and contact previous patients who have undergone the procedure. Any former problems, such as numerous malpractice suits or disciplinary actions, should be reviewed before deciding to retain the help of a liposuction surgeon.
Liposuction is a highly invasive procedure and presents many risks. However, it also provides several benefits and if performed correctly will lead to positive results with a minimal hazard to the patient’s health. Well trained surgeons follow all rules and regulations of the industry and focus on educating the patient about pros and cons of liposuction. It is recommended to have the treatment performed in small increments and ensure the patient’s safety rather than having large amounts of fat removed in one visit which may lead to complications.