Liposuction is a cosmetic surgery that targets the removal of fat from specific parts of the body. However, this procedure is not a technique for weight loss. Liposuction can remove only a certain percentage of fat that is considered medically safe to remove.
The objective of liposuction is to aesthetically boost shape and contours of the body, to enable an attractive appearance. The procedure can remove fat from specific regions of the body such as the back, calves, thighs and buttocks. It can also remove fat from the chin as well as the abdominal area.
This procedure is extremely popular in the western world. The removal of fat cells that takes place during this surgery is irreversible.
Liposuction does not have a cosmetic motive alone. Patients undergoing liposuction do so as a remedy for certain medical conditions.
The purpose of liposuction may be medical or cosmetic, but the results seek to improve the external appearance of patients. Liposuction comes in when the results of other methods, such as a good lifestyle with healthy eating habits, lifestyle modification, and a proper sleep cycle have not made a difference to excessive fat concentration in certain areas of the body.
The outcome of liposuction will be gradual and subtle. Patients must not have extremely high expectations or expect to see a drastic change from this procedure. Further, the benefits of liposuction last longer if patients adopt a healthy lifestyle.
The procedure has alternative names such as, liposculpture suction, lipoplasty, and lipectomy.
There are several liposuction techniques which are listed below. Laser assisted lipolysis is the most effective method. This is because the procedure is minimally invasive and the outcomes are much better compared to other techniques.
- Laser assisted lipolysis (LAL)
- Power-assisted liposuction (PAS)
- Tumescent liposuction
- Ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL
- Dry liposuction
Patients choose to undergo liposuction for both medical and cosmetic reasons. The number of fat cells increase with weight gain. Liposuction aims to remove the concentration of fat cells from specific regions in the body.
The ideal patients for liposuction are those that have abnormal pockets of fat which have not reduced with lifestyle modifications. The results of liposuction are best when patients skin tone is good and they are within 20lbs of their ideal body weight.
This treatment will not have the expected outcome for those that have undergone excessive weight loss.
Liposuction can remedy the following medical conditions:
- Lipodystrophy syndrome: Patients with this condition have disproportionate distribution of fat in one region of the body as opposed to abnormal levels of fat in another part. Liposuction helps proper distribution of fat and lends a natural appearance to these regions of the body.
- Excessive weight reduction: Those who are battling obesity may lose weight excessively which may cause loose skin. Such people resort to liposuction to improve the appearance.
- Lipomas: They are fatty tumours which are fortunately benign. These tumours respond well with liposuction.
- Gynecomastia: Accumulation of fat beneath the breast of a man, termed as gynecomastia finds a solution with liposuction.
- Lymphedema: This condition causes the tissues in the arms and legs to have an abnormal build-up of fluid called lymph. Patients experience inflammation or edema due to this condition. Liposuction can offset pain and swelling.
Liposuction helps in the removal of fat from areas where its presence appears unattractive. The main objective of liposuction is to focus on the areas that have stubborn fat deposits that have not responded to exercise or diet.
Liposuction may help such people where lifestyle changes have not made a difference to deposits of fat in certain areas.
What are the specific regions of the body that responds well to liposuction?
Specialists use liposuction to remove abnormal amount of fat from the following regions of the body
- Below the chin
- Flanks also called love handles
- Interior region of the knees
- Upper arms
- Outer and inner thighs
Liposuction is not useful to remedy cellulite and stretch marks. Even dimples on the skin will not go away with liposuction.
When do specialists discourage patients from liposuction?
Specialists do not perform liposuction under the following conditions:
- If the age of the patient is below 18
- Suffers from cardiovascular disease
- Victim of a compromised immune system
- Is a Diabetic
- Very poor skin elasticity (Liposuction on patients with poor skin elasticity will not be effective and are left with loose skin in areas where the surgery took place)
During this significant phase, the specialist is able to discuss the benefits and risks of liposuction with the patient. Further, the specialist can discuss realistic outcomes of the procedure and dispel some of the lofty expectations from liposuction.
Patients can also use the time to understand what the procedure entails, and clarify their concerns.
The specialist will also want to make a note of any existing medical conditions along with details of past surgeries. Patients will need to be upfront about the medicines and supplements they are taking.
A physical examination of the patients will also form an integral part of this phase. This is a good time to discuss and clarify all the concerns with respect to the procedure. The main goal of this session will be to explain clearly the achievable objectives of the surgery.
Questions about prevailing medical conditions as well as surgeries in the past will be noted. The surgeon will also convey important aspects of the procedure so that the patient completely understands the process of the surgery.
Patients must be upfront with the specialist about their lifestyle, habits, genetic conditions, and the medicines and supplements they take regularly. It is also important to inform the specialist about use of tobacco, drugs or alcohol as these substances can hamper the healing process.
During this stage, the skin quality, tone and elasticity will also be evaluated. The specialist may also capture photographs of the part that will be the focus of liposuction to make a comparison of the outcome of the procedure.
There are many methods that specialists use for liposuction. Among all the techniques, the one that uses the laser technique is most famous. Laser liposuction is very promising and is also minimally invasive.
Ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL)
This method usually helps treat regions that have already been subject to liposuction. Regions that have more fibre is better suited for UAL. Ultrasound is used to power the cannula and this helps melt the fat when it comes in contact with the cannula. When the ultrasound penetrates the walls of the fat cells, it dissolves the fat. The next step which is sucking the fat out, is now easy.
An extremely rare type of liposuction which does not find much relevance in the present-day techniques, to remove fat from specific regions. This is a rare technique of liposuction and is hardly in use. Dry liposuction has more side-effects such as bleeding and bruising which also explains why the technique is not famous.
The surgeon employs a combination of saline solution in huge amounts along with a local anaesthetic. Epinephrine is pumped below the skin which results in constriction of the vessel. The surgeon sucks the fat out using suction tubes.
Power-assisted liposuction (PAS)
In this method, the surgeon uses a special cannula which is energized by a mechanized system. This causes it to move in a quick up and down motion. This helps the specialist suck more fat out quite effortlessly.
Laser Assisted Lipolysis (LAL)
This method is popular, as it is a minimally invasive and is the most effective type of liposuction. This technique which can be performed in a cosmetic clinic is very safe with no blood loss or high risk of complications. It takes about an hour for this procedure to be complete.
The specialist uses a local anaesthetic for this procedure. During the procedure, the surgeon makes a small cut below the skin. The laser light is allowed to enter the skin at the point of incision. This light causes the fat below the skin to dissolve.
The specialist inserts a small tube in this region to suck out the fat. The site of the cut is covered once the procedure is over. Laser liposuction works best for patients that are not excessively heavy and are quite close to their permissible body weight.
Cost of liposuction
The cost of liposuction depends upon the city and hospital or clinic where the procedure is performed. Patients will need to pay more in tier-1 cities as compared to cosmetic surgeries in tier-2 cities.
The cost of liposuction also depends upon the area and the extent of fat that needs to be done away with. The cost will also depend upon the skill of the surgeon, city and facility that patients choose for the procedure.
The average cost of liposuction in India can be anywhere from INR 95,000 to INR 1,12,000.
Benefits of laser liposuction
The results of a laser liposuction are quite evident to patients after the procedure. This is more so after the swelling comes down, when patients can visibly notice the changes in the shape of the body. As days go by, the changes will begin to get clearer. Those with a good skin elasticity and tone will realise better results.
Laser liposuction has shown better results when compared to other techniques to do away with fat.
The overriding benefits of laser liposuction are as follows:
- Long lasting results
- Positive outcome and a minimally invasive procedure
- Quick procedure
- Removes more fat
- Improves shape of the body
- Stimulates production of collagen
- Boosts tightening of the skin
The risk of infection and scarring is present and increases with the percentage of fat removal during surgery.
- Conspicous dents on the skin and lump formation with removal of excess fat
During laser liposuction, the surgeon makes a small cut which could lead to scarring especially if post op care is not good enough.
Sometimes fluid build-up occurs below the area where the surgeon had made the incision. Patients may experience itching in this area. The fluid will need to be drained out and a follow up consultation with the surgeon is necessary.
If there is pain, swelling, redness at the site of incision, it indicates an infection. The surgeon’s advice is best to remedy these side effects.
Post-op care and what to keep in mind
Patients do complain of pain and swelling especially at the site where the incision was made. Some patients experience bruising, Discoloration of the skin is another side effect, though it is not common among all who have undergone laser liposuction.
Some patients report tightness or firmness in the area of surgery. The presence of stitches may be causing this sensation. Patients that have undergone laser liposuction recover much faster than those that have undergone traditional liposuction.
Some of the post-op recovery guidelines are as follows:
- Get adequate rest and completely avoid strainful activity
- Keep a check on calorie intake. Consume nutritional food and a balanced diet. This helps maintain the body shape post laser lipolysis
- Doctors’ advice a diet that has a low glycemic index, fat and carbohydrate content
- Wearing compression garments is necessary during the recovery period
- Operated area must not be subject to any pressure or strain
- Adequate rest for at least three weeks after laser lipolysis, helps the healing process
- Patients must keep the operated area clean by regular washing and changing bandages. This will prevent infection
- Ensure intake of adequate fluids and water
- Take adequate care against sun exposure – use sunscreen as protection
- Do not use hot tubs or bath tubs at least for a month or two after the procedure
- After a month of the procedure, patients must take up some form of physical fitness to maintain the positive results of liposuction
Laser liposuction is safe and effective in the treatment of specific areas of body fat. For the effects of liposuction to last longer, patients must ensure intake of a nutritious diet, and adopt a healthy lifestyle with physical fitness.
There are many clinics and hospitals where eminent specialists perform laser liposuction. Patients usually prefer a healthcare service that takes care of everything right from consultation to procedure, post-op care, and recovery.
goficure enables complete services from start to completion for those desiring to undergo liposuction. The team schedules the appointment for consultation, supports the patient during surgery, handles the logistics of transportation both before and after the procedure, manages post-op care till complete recovery.
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