Whether they admit it or not, many celebrities have acquired their flat tummies and perfect pins through popular cosmetic surgery liposuction. Not only celebrities, even many common people choose to have liposuction to shift stubborn fat. Sometimes diet and exercise can’t remove small bulges of fat that give your body an uneven shape. Liposuction is used to remove such fat cells to give your body a more streamlined shape.
Many people consider liposuction as a treatment for obesity and cellulite; however, that’s not true. Liposuction is a cosmetic surgery that only removes fat. But, the question is how? Let’s discuss that in detail:
What is liposuction?
Liposuction, also known as lipoplasty or lipo, is one of the most common cosmetic surgeries in the UK. The procedure permanently removes fat cells from the body, leaving it firmer and more toned. Fat cells are generally located underneath the skin. Fat deposition varies from person to person but mainly depends on gender. In men, fat tends to deposit in the chest, abdomen and buttocks, while in women it generally congregates in the breasts, hips, waist and buttocks.
The fat is removed through a hollow instrument that is inserted under the skin. A powerful, high-pressure vacuum is applied to the instrument and fat is sucked out. The amount of fat that can be safely removed through this procedure is limited; therefore not all men and women are eligible for the procedure. Candidates for liposuction must:
- Be of average or only slightly above-average weight
- Have firm, elastic skin
- Be overall healthy
- Have concentrated pockets of fat that can’t be removed with diet and exercise
People who have cellulite are not eligible for liposuction because they might develop uneven skin in the treated area.
How liposuction is performed?
Before undergoing any of these procedures, the surgeon analyses the candidate’s body and decides whether he/she is eligible for liposuction or not. If a candidate is eligible for the surgery, he is allowed to choose the type of liposuction he wants to have. There are basically two types of liposuction procedures – Tumescent and Ultrasound-assisted.
Tumescent liposuction - In this procedure a saline solution is injected into the fatty area. The solution is made up of lidocaine anesthetic, and a drug that contracts blood vessels. After this, the surgery to remove the fat is performed.
Ultrasound-assisted liposuction – In this type of liposuction, ultrasonic energy is used to liquefy the fat before it is removed from the body.
Once the type of procedure is decided, certain guidelines regarding diet and lifestyle are given to the candidate.
The procedure begins with preparing the area where fat is to be removed. Preparation involves injecting the area with a solution containing anaesthetic and medication. This is followed by breaking up the fat cells using high-frequency vibrations. Once the area is prepared, a small incision is made and a suction tube, called a cannula, attached to a specialised vacuum machine is then inserted.
There are two layers of subcutaneous fat - deep and superficial. During the liposuction procedure the suction tube is inserted into the deep fat layer. It is safer to work on this layer as the risk of injuring the skin is low. The doctor pushes and pulls the tube through the fat layer. As the tube moves, it breaks up fat cells, and the vacuum pump removes the fat with suction.
Recovery time and after care
After the liposuction procedure, most people can return to work within a few days. Normal activity can begin within two weeks. However, every person is different and their body responds differently. Some people may be asked to wear a compressive garment for one to two months after surgery to control swelling. As the fat cells are removed permanently during liposuction, you will never gain weight in that area again. But that can lead to fat deposition in another area, which may give your body an uneven shape. Hence, it is important to maintain a healthy weight after liposuction.
Is liposuction safe?
Like all surgical procedures liposuction comes with some risk. Possible complications after the procedure are:
- Due to uneven fat removal, poor skin elasticity and unusual healing, skin may appear bumpy. Damage from the thin suction tube used during liposuction may leave a spotted appearance on the skin.
- Temporary pockets of fluid can form that may need to be drained with a needle.
- Temporary or permanent numbness in the affected area
- Skin infections and internal puncture, in rare cases
- Pieces of loosened fat may break away and become trapped in a blood vessel, which may gather in the lungs or brain, causing a medical emergency.
- As fluids are being injected and suctioned out of the body during liposuction, it may cause kidney and heart problems
Although liposuction has a good safety record, risk of complications surges if procedure is performed on larger surfaces of body. However, you can minimize the risk by getting the surgery done by specially trained, board-certified cosmetic surgeon.