Among the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures, liposuction sculpts the body by tailoring fatty bulges. Liposuction is not a substitute for a healthy diet and exercise, but the procedure can enhance contours in areas where fatty fullness just won’t go away.
The liposuction consultation
The initial office visit usually takes about 1½ hours. After listening to and examining the patient, Dr. Kunkel customizes a treatment plan unique to that person. While many patients are great candidates for this procedure, some may achieve better results from other procedures like a tummy tuck. Dr. Kunkel will not try to sell liposuction to you. He will help you understand what you need to know.
best candidates for liposuction
The best candidates for liposuction are at or a little over their ideal body weight. They are in good health and have an active lifestyle. They may have some bulges in certain areas but are not heavy and substantially overweight. Women often have fullness in their thighs, abdomen, and flanks. Men tend to have fullness in their abdomen, flanks, and breasts. Liposuction is not weight loss surgery but rather a procedure to help reduce fullness and bulges in a few specific areas.
Dr. Kunkel performs liposuction in an outpatient surgery center or hospital. The patient is put to sleep under the direction of an anesthesiologist (general anesthesia). The procedure may take from one to three hours, depending on the amount of fat being removed and the number of areas being treated.
Liposuction begins with injection of a saline (salt water) combined with a local anesthetic (lidocaine) and adrenaline (epinephrine) into the areas being treated. This is known as tumescent technique. Almost all liposuction is performed using tumescent technique.
The suctioning begins a few minutes after the fluid has been placed. A thin tube called a cannula is attached to a suction device. The tube is inserted into the tissues and moved back and forth rapidly. Fat is suctioned through the tube and collected in a canister.
Fat grafting has become common. Instead of discarding the fat, many patients choose to have some of the fat injected into other areas. For instance, fat can be added to the breasts and buttocks to create more shape and contour.
Frequently a few Band-Aids are all that are needed for dressings. Compression garments and topical foam pads are also usually placed.
Recovery after liposuction
Most patients do not have much pain with liposuction. The day after surgery people usually feel sore, like they had a hard work-out. The treated areas are swollen and bruised for a few weeks. Many patients return to work within a few days. Strenuous activity should be avoided for about a month. Dr. Kunkel suggests compression garments for at least three weeks, and many patients wear them for two or three months.
Risks of Liposuction
As with any surgery there are some risks. Some of the liposuction risks include:
- Asymmetry of the results
- Irregular contours
- Numbness of the skin
- Pigmentation changes of the skin
- Delay in healing
- Fat clots or blood clots
- Fluid accumulation under the skin
- Perforation injury
- Lidocaine toxicity