To be truly beautiful, a body must have a smooth, well-contoured silhouette. The lines should be perfect, coherent and free from unsightly bulges.
Unfortunately, many people have inherited a tendency to develop fat deposits that spoil this perfect line. These bulges, which are most common in areas like the hips, thighs, abdomen, knees, ankles, face and neck, do not routinely respond to diet or exercise.
Liposuction, however, can help sculpt and re-contour the body by removing unwanted fat from specific areas, eliminating bulges and establishing a pleasing line.
One of today's most satisfying and effective cosmetic procedures, liposuction uses a small stainless steel tube, called a cannula, that is connected to a powerful suction device. This cannula is inserted into the area of fat through a very small incision and the fat is removed by the suction.
- Today, thanks to cannulas that are only three or four millimeters in diameter, incisions are so tiny they no longer need stitches.
- In addition, a new technique called tumescent liposuction is helping selected patients achieve more precise results and recover faster.
Liposuction may be performed on several areas at the same time or combined with other procedures. For example, it may be done in conjunction with a facelift if excess fat is present under the chin. It is also often used to treat conditions like gynecomastia, where fat is deposited n the chest wall and lipodistrophy where abnormal deposits of fat have formed.
Thinking it through
The best candidates for liposuction are people of normal weight who have firm, elastic skin and localized pockets of excess fat. It is not appropriate for people who are significantly overweight, and if your skin is not reasonably elastic you may not achieve the same results as younger people with tighter skin.
Good candidates for liposuction also have reasonable expectations about the results they can expect. They understand that while liposuction can enhance one's appearance and improve self-confidence it will not change one's life.
Good candidates also know that liposuction is not a treatment for obesity. The fat cells removed by this process are, indeed, removed permanently. However if a person eats unwisely and gains weight, fat may be deposited in other areas.
Preparing for surgery
At your initial consultation, your surgeon will assess your suitability for liposuction, taking into account your general health, where your fat deposits lie, how much fat needs to be removed and the elasticity of your skin. Based on these considerations, he'll discuss the specifics of the appropriate treatment and make sure you understand exactly what will be done.
- Your consultation is the time for you to tell your surgeon exactly what you hope to achieve by having the procedure so he can advise you as to whether your expectations can be met.
- Depending on your goals, your surgeon may suggest an alternate procedure or recommend more than one liposuction session.
Liposuction is a trusted and safe procedure that has been performed for many years. However, as with all surgery, there are complications that can occur.
- Bleeding is very rare and can be easily treated.
- Infection, which is usually superficial, can be addressed with antibiotics.
- Asymmetry can result if too much fat is removed from one side. Irregularities can be seen or felt especially in superficial liposuction, and mild cases may take up to six months to subside. Asymmetry can be difficult to correct, however methods like lipo shifting or fat transfer can improve the condition.
- Some patients experience delayed healing of the incision sites. However, as the incisions are usually very small this is not of major concern.
- Skin loss is extremely rare and occurs only in situations where abdominoplasty and liposuction have been combined.
- Perforation or injury to major organs has been reported in situations where the surgeon is inexperienced or the patient has a condition that makes him or her a poor candidate for liposuction. Our practice has performed liposuction for 25 years without an incident of this kind.
- As with all surgery, there is the risk of complications from anaesthesia. To guard against this, we regularly check the health of our patients prior to surgery.
Understanding your procedure
How long a liposuction procedure takes depends on several things, including the size of the area being treated, the amount of fat being removed, the number of areas treated and the type of anaesthesia used.
- If the area to be treated is small, you may be given a local anaesthetic to numb the area, along with an intravenous sedative to help you feel relaxed.
- Some patients prefer general anaesthesia, particularly if a large volume of fat is being removed, the area being treated is near the face or the liposuction is being done in combination with another procedure, for example treatment of the male breast.
Liposuction has become increasingly safe and is done more frequently under local anaesthetic since the adoption of the Tumescent technique. With this technique, the area to be treated is first injected with a dilute solution of an anaesthetic called Lidocane and a drug called Epinephrine that constricts blood vessels. The solution causes the area to become firm, or tumescent.
Once the anaesthetic has taken effect, a narrow tube called a cannula is inserted through a tiny incision and used to vacuum out fat deposits deep beneath the skin.
After your surgery, you will likely experience some fluid drainage from the incision, as well as some bruising, swelling and discomfort. These symptoms are temporary and depend on the extent and location of the area treated.
- To control swelling and help your skin shrink to fit its new contours, you will be fitted with a snug elastic garment to wear over the treated area.
- Your surgeon will also prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection.
Recovering from surgery
Healing is a gradual process, however you will begin to feel better after about a week or two and should be able to go back to work within a few days of your surgery.
- You surgeon will advise you to start walking around as soon as possible after surgery to reduce swelling and help prevent blood clots forming in your legs. However you will need to avoid strenuous activity for about a month.
- Most swelling and bruising will disappear within three weeks but some swelling may remain for as much as six months or more.
- There will be no stitches to be removed.
You will begin to notice a definite difference in the shape of your body soon after your surgery, and that improvement will become even more noticeable over the next four to six weeks as any swelling subsides. After about three months, any persistent mild swelling will usually disappear and you will be able to see your final contour.
If your expectations were realistic, you should be very pleased with the results of your surgery. Clothes of all kinds will fit more comfortably and you'll feel better about your body. Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise will help you maintain you new, more attractive shape.
If you'd like to know more about liposuction or liposculpture, download our liposuction brochure.
To book your consultation get in touch online or call our office on 01803 321631.
Pre and post operative information for Liposuction
Avoiding drugs & foods that cause bleeding or do not mix with other drugs:
- Aspirin, Ibuprofen (or other similar drugs called NSAIDs) or medication containing such drugs should not be taken within a minimum of seven days prior to surgery.
- Vitamin E tablets or moisturisers should not be used a minimum of seven days before surgery.
- Alcohol, particularly red wine, should be avoided for 2 days prior to surgery.
- Dietary Supplements such as garlic tablets & powder, ginkgo biloba, willow bark extracts, feverfew (Chrysanthemum/Tanacetum parthenium) and St Johns Wort should be avoided for at least 4-5 days before surgery.
Arnica Tablets (a homeopathic remedy that will help to minimise bruising and swelling) should be taken. Two tablets three times per day sucked or chewed (not swallowed) for seven days prior to surgery and seven days after surgery. Please purchase 84 tablets (6X 14 days) from your chemist.
- Sunbathe for one week prior to surgery.
- Smoking. If you smoke we recommend that you stop before your surgery. Nicotine reduces the healing process by encouraging infection and poor circulation.
- Have anything to eat or drink for at least 6 hours before surgery. Anything by mouth could cancel or postpone your surgery.
- Tell us of any medications you are taking.
- The morning or evening prior to surgery you are requested to wash your hair and take a shower.
- Arrange for transport to and from the hospital. Perhaps include a pillow and blanket in the car for your comfort postoperatively.
- Arrange for someone to stay with you at home for 24 hours after your surgery.
- Prepare for your return to your own home
- Remove any potential obstacles from bed to bathroom.
- Choose your favourite magazines or book for your bedside table.
- Gather extra pillows for comfort and / or elevation.
- Remove nail polish, contact lenses, jewellery and all makeup whilst at home.
- Bring loose fitting, front opening, and comfortable clothing to wear home.
Day of surgery
- Please arrive at your specified admission time and make allowances for traffic delays.
- You will be admitted by our nurse who will assist you with your pre operative forms.
- Mr. Yelland will meet with you to review your surgery. He will be able to address any of your concerns. Our anaesthetist will meet with you prior to surgery.
- You will be given the anaesthesia that is the most appropriate for you.
- Driving: Do not drive during the first week to ten days after surgery.
- Keep your wound dry for at least 2 days after your operation. Wounds are waterproof after this time but do not soak in a bath or use bubble bath or soap on the wounds. A shower is best after which the wounds can be dabbed dry with a towel.
- You are advised to limit your activities to avoid unnecessary bleeding. Avoid strenuous exercise.
- Discomfort & Tiredness. Moderate discomfort is to be expected. You can expect your most discomfort the second night and third day after surgery. Listen to your body. You have experienced a major surgical procedure. Rest when it tells you to rest.
- You will be given a course of antibiotics to combat infection. Do complete the course.
- No alcohol should be taken for 48 hours after surgery.
- We discourage smoking for 48 hours at least.
- Do not use any electrically operated machinery or appliances for first 48 hours after surgery because of the effects of anaesthesia.
- Do not take on any serious decision making for 48 hours.
- Continue taking Arnica as instructed.
- Do not sunbathe for 6 weeks postoperatively.
- Aspirin, Ibuprofen (or other similar drugs called NSAIDs) or medication containing such drugs should not be taken for seven days after surgery.
- Vitamin E tablets or moisturisers should not be used a minimum of seven days after surgery.
- Dietary Supplements such as garlic tablets & powder, ginkgo biloba, willow bark extracts, feverfew (Chrysanthemum/Tanacetum parthenium) and St Johns Wort should be avoided for at least 4-5 days after surgery.