Liposuction is a minimally invasive surgery, where subcutaneous fat is aspirated by use of a blunt canula attached to a vacuum pump. It is also called lipo-sculpture, lipoplasty or suction assisted lipectomy.
Liposuction has become the most commonly performed cosmetic surgery procedure world – wide. There is a rising trend towards larger volume liposuction. Increasing number of “over weight” people, rising awareness levels, peer pressure to look good and increase in safety profile of liposuction have contributed to the rise in number of surgeries performed and larger volumes being aspirated.
Liposuction is not meant for weight loss, the primary aim is body contouring. When large volumes of fat get aspirated, amount of weight loss also happens. Liposuction works best for spot reductions and for areas resistant to diet and exercises. The more elastic the skin, the better liposuction results.
Liposuction is not a substitute for a poor lifestyle – maintaining the results requires regular exercises and calorie restricted diet. Liposuction removes most of the fat cells on the areas treated, hence the chance of putting on weight in these areas get reduced.
Volume reduction of the subcutaneous fat is followed by healing and readjustment of the skin to the new contour. However, if you have flabby skin as a result of pregnancy or sudden weight loss, the skin will become more sagging after liposuction. Such cases require a “lift tuck” procedure in addition.
Liposuction can be safely performed by an experienced surgeon and anesthetist. Standard risks of anesthesia exist when the procedure is done under General Anesthesia. As liposuction removes fat under the skin only, without damage to internal organs, there are no long term health risks.
As most of the large volume liposuction are performed under General Anesthesia. Monitored anesthesia is essential. General Anesthesia offers maximum comfort to the patient as circumferential contouring of back, front and sides can be performed without subjecting patients to inconvenient positions.
Bruising, swelling and soreness are to be expected post procedure. These are temporary effects of surgery and are expected to resolve in 3-4 weeks. Major risks include pulmonary edema, hemorrhage, and toxicity from local anesthetic. These are fortunately rare. Patients who are high – risk for pulmonary embolism need appropriate preventive measures.
Large volume liposuction
Aspiration of more than five liters of fat in one sitting is termed large volume liposuction. The proportion of large volume liposuctions being performed is increasing world – wide as more and more surgeons get convinced of its safety. Up to 20 liters can be aspirated in one sitting in well – selected cases and in a hospital setting with good infrastructure. Large volume liposuction is probably better done under GA as most of there cases require circumferential liposuction.
Small diameter canulas have improved results in liposuction. There is less chance of contour irregularities and of damage to blood vessels and nerves.
Also the size of access points can be reduced with finer canula. Ultrasound assisted liposuction (UAL) and power assisted liposuction (PAL) have reduced surgeons work effort. These new techniques are advantageous on scarred areas and in secondary liposuctions.
Although newer instruments have certain advantages to them, ultimately the quality of result is dependent on the skills of the surgeon.