Liposuction, also known as lipoplasty ("fat modeling"), liposculpture suction lipectomy or simply lipo ("suction-assisted fat removal") is a cosmetic surgery operation that removes fat from many different sites on the human body. Areas affected can range from the abdomen, thighs and buttocks, to the neck, backs of the arms and elsewhere.
Several factors limit the amount of fat that can be safely removed in one session. Ultimately, the operating physician and the patient make the decision. There are negative aspects to removing too much fat. Unusual "lumpiness" and/or "dents" in the skin can be seen in those patients "over-suctioned". The more fat removed, the higher the surgical risk.
Before receiving any of the procedures, no anticoagulants should be taken for two weeks before the surgery. If general anesthesia or sedation will be used, and the surgery will be in the morning, fasting from midnight the night before is required.
The candidate and the surgeon will agree ahead of time on exactly which area(s) will be treated and both will discuss what outcome to expect
A consent form is signed on the day of surgery.
An antibiotic will be given about an hour beforehand, or afterwards.
The targeted areas are marked on the body while the candidate is in a standing position .
Photos will be taken of the area to be treated, so the patient will have before and after photos.
In the operating room, a sterilizing solution such as Betadine, is applied to the relevant areas.
Local anesthetic is injected and the patient may be given a sedative, either orally, or through an IV injection.
Incisions are small, about a quarter to a third of an inch.
The patient will probably have an IV fluid line, since they will be losing fluid with the fat, and the fluid balance must be kept intact.
There will be some monitoring devices attached to the body to keep track of the blood pressure, heart rate, and blood oxygen level .
The patient will feel only a scraping or rasping sensation from the cannula movement.
Usually the patient can get up, walk around, and go home the same day if they did not receive general anesthesia, although they would need someone else to drive them..
Depending on the extent of the liposuction, patients are generally able to return to work between two days and two weeks. A compression garment which can easily be removed by the patient is worn for two to four weeks, this garment must have elasticity and allow for use of bandages. If non-absorbable sutures are placed, they will be removed after five to ten days.
Any pain is controlled by a prescription or over-the-counter medication, and may last as long as two weeks, depending on the particular procedure. Bruising will fade after a few days or maybe as long as two weeks later. Swelling will subside in anywhere from two weeks to two months, while numbness may last for several weeks. Normal activity can be resumed anywhere from several days to several weeks afterwards, depending on the procedure. The final result will be evident anywhere from one to six months after surgery, although the patient will see noticeable difference within days or weeks, as swelling subsides.
The suctioned fat cells are permanently gone. However, if the patient does not maintain a proper diet and exercise regimen, the remaining fat cell neighbors could still enlarge, creating irregularities.
A side effect, as opposed to a complication, is medically minor, although it can be uncomfortable, annoying, and even painful.
Bruising: can be painful in the short term, and should fade after a few weeks.
Swelling: should subside gradually over a month or two.
Scars: will vary in size depending on the particular procedure, and should fade over the weeks. Scarring is an individual thing, partly dependent on heredity. For some, scar healing may take as long as a year.
Pain: should be temporary and controlled by either over-the-counter medication, or by a prescription.
Numbness: sometimes persists for a few weeks.
Limited mobility: will depend on the exact procedure.
There could be various factors limiting movement for a short while, such as: