This is a surgical technique employed to remove unwanted fat deposits from different areas of the body by suctioning them away. We all have a certain fixed number of fat cells at birth that grow until adulthood. This fixed number of cells can increase if there is excessive food intake at at young age. This predisposes the person to obesity as an adult. By aspirating the fat cells, liposuction appears to be capable of preventing recurrence of fat deposits.
This procedure makes it possible to suction out the fat cells without breaking the attachments that tie the skin to deeper structures. There has been progress lately in lipoplasty. The cannulas and types of equipment used are more sophisticated, while the technique itself has also evolved and minimizes immediate risks and discomfort during convalescence.
The areas that may be improved by this procedure are the cheeks, chin, neck, breasts, fatty areas over the armpits, the trunk, hip areas, buttocks, inner thighs, knees, calves, ankles and sometimes the arms. Fat deposits secondary to surgery or trauma may also be reshaped.
Surgery is usually done under a general anaesthetic. Duration of surgery depends on the number of areas being addressed and the extent of liposuction required. Patients can expect a feeling of "bruising and discomfort" following surgery and appropriate pain medications will be given to address this. Bed rest will be required for the first 24 hours, with a gradual return to activity as tolerated.
Drainage from small puncture incision sites can be expected for the first 24 – 48 hours post-op and bruising and swelling can last up to 2 – 3 weeks. All sutures are removed at 10 – 14 days and patients are asked to wear a pressure garment for 4 – 6 weeks to help contour and flatten surgical areas.
It is important that patients considering liposuction are insightful regarding expectations. This is one of the surgical procedures whose result will not be fully apparent for many months. The body continues to remodel itself for months following liposuction, so patience is an essential ingredient for a happy patient.
Patients are to book long term follow-up with Dr. Smith at approximately 6 – 9 months post-op.