Liposuction is used to give a more desirable shape to areas of the body such as the face, arms, abdomen, thighs, buttocks, hips, calves, or back – that haven’t responded to diet and exercise. It can also be used to reduce the size of male “breasts” or to remove fat tumors. Fat can be removed from more than one part of the body during a single surgical procedure.
It is important to note that liposuction is not a weight loss technique; it is a body reshaping (contouring) technique.
Having a lot of excess fat doesn’t necessarily make one a good candidate for liposuction. In fact, the opposite is true. People of normal weight and in generally good shape who have trouble areas make the best candidates. Heavier patients may also benefit, but often require an additional body lift procedure.
Liposuction can be performed in an outpatient surgery centre or in a hospital either under local or general anesthesia.
During the surgery, the doctor makes a small incision (or several small incisions) and inserts a cannula into the fat layers of the targeted areas. The cannula moves back and forth rapidly to loosen fat cells, which are suctioned out using a vacuum device. The cannula creates tunnels in the fat layer that need to collapse in order to heal and create the new body shape.
Though Power assisted liposuction remains the gold standard for large volume liposuction, the procedure can be done manually, with ultrasound or laser assisted devices. At the end of the day it’s not the type of device used but the surgeon’s skill and the patient’s characteristics that determine the final result.
If the procedure is performed under local anesthesia, the patient can go home the same day after surgery. General anesthesia often requires an overnight stay at the hospital.
After the procedure, patients have fluid drainage from incision sites which are purposely left open to avoid collection of fluid which stops in 24- 48 hours. Patients wear a tight-fitting elastic garment over their surgical site to compress the affected area, reduce swelling and promote healing.
Patients experience varying degrees of pain, soreness or burning during the healing process, but these symptoms go away within three weeks. After about four to six weeks, the swelling goes down, enabling the results to be seen.
Liposuction is permanent and the new body shape is maintained, but it cannot erase obesity. A healthy diet and regular exercise maximize the post liposuction benefits.
Dr. Salil Bharadwaj
Plastic, Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgery Consultant
Bahrain Specialist Hospital