Liposuction is a surgical procedure that breaks down fat accumulation in body’s diet and exercise resistant areas and removes it from body. In other words, it is a fat extraction operation with a vacuum technique for certain parts of the body. It is usually applied to abdomen, buttocks, thighs, arms and neck. Liposuction improves specific areas of body by removing excess fat deposits and reshaping lines. It is done under general or local anesthesia. If a person is suitable for this surgical procedure and he or she complies with doctor’s instructions given, it is a smooth operation. However, complications, such as excessive bleeding, which can occur in every surgery, can have dangerous consequences. For this reason, liposuction should not be rushed, and as with any surgical intervention, it should be embarked upon only after a thorough investigation of all the ins and outs.
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Liposuction is a surgical procedure in which regional fat deposits are withdrawn by vacuum technique or with a special syringe. It can be performed together with this surgery so shapes the body contours or lines. Different liposuction techniques have been developed with the advance of medical technology. Liposuction is favored by women mostly because of aesthetic concerns. However, it can also be applied to men for medical reasons.
The common feature of these three is that they only aim to shape the body. The differences are:
Liposuction is usually done to get rid of the stubborn fats accumulated in some areas due to various reasons like genetics, unbalanced nutrition, pregnancy and so on. It can also be used in the treatment of certain disorders such as lipoedema (painful lubrication syndrome) and gynecomastia (abnormal breast growth in men).
Liposuction reduces the amount of fat cells in specific regions. The amount of fat removed depends on the appearance of the area and the volume of the fat. The resulting contour changes are usually permanent as long as your weight remains constant. However, liposuction is not a weight loss method.
Most people have recourse to liposuction for aesthetic reasons; but it is not done for obesity or excess weight that can be gotten rid of with a proper exercise and diet. It also does not improve skin surface irregularities such as cellulitis or drooping skin; and does not remove the cracks. It is not a skin stretching surgery. It only removes fat in a particular region and shapes body.
Liposuction is done to healthy, non-smoking individuals who are close to their healthy weight (30% of the ideal weight) and have a firm-elastic skin; but have stubborn fat deposits under their skin that do not contain visceral fat (a kind of dangerous body fat that is formed in the abdominal cavity and can surround the vital organs).
In this process, skin structure is important because in people with sagging, loose skin or cellulite, this process can cause problems such as rotten skin and so on.
On the other hand, in those with a good skin tone and elasticity, the skin may appear smooth after the procedure. For this reason, liposuction is more successful in people who have a relatively tight skin and normal weight. The results are longer lasting and can help to maintain a healthy weight.
If general anesthesia is applied in a liposuction operation or if a large amount of fat is taken at a time, staying overnight in the hospital to prevent complications is usually recommended. In case of the procedure being done under local anesthesia, you can return home a few hours after surgery.
Before the operation, fluid is injected into the relevant area; the cannula (a thin tube) attached to vacuum machine or the syringe to remove the fat is then inserted into the small incision in the respective area.
After that, the machine breaks down and suctions out the fat from the relevant area. Unless general anesthesia is performed, the person is usually not hospitalized.
This method uses laser energy (light waves) at a specific wavelength to soften the fat after the liquid has been injected into the area. The laser energy, which makes fat viscous by crushing it, is applied by making small cuts in the relevant area and then placing the cannula attached to the fiber laser cable.
After the fat removal procedure, another wavelength can be used to tighten the skin. After the surgery, rashes, bruising and swelling may develop depending on the skin sensitivity.
In this technique of liposuction, the concerned area is first marked, then a liquid solution that stiffens the skin is injected here. After, a cannula attached to a metal probe that emits ultrasonic waves under the skin is inserted. In this way, the fat cell walls are broken down, and it becomes easier to remove the liquefied fat.
Recovery after liposuction surgery and postoperative care may vary depending on the treated area and the amount of fat removed. But usually the person can return to work in a few days, all normal activities such as exercise can be resumed after 2-4 weeks or less.
Complying with the doctor’s recommendations (no smoking, no alcohol, plenty of resting, etc.) provides a shorter and smoother recovery. Antibiotics and painkillers can be prescribed to prevent the risk of infection.
Seeing the results of liposuction usually takes time, from 4-5 weeks to 6 months depending on the procedure. The positive outcome of this process will usually last longer if you maintain your ideal weight. It should be noted that liposuction does not prevent weight gain. If you gain weight after the procedure, your fat distribution may change and new fat deposits may develop in any part of your body (or in the same area).
Therefore, liposuction surgery should be supported by a healthy lifestyle that includes exercises and a healthy diet consisting of lean protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat milk.
To minimize these side-effects and reduce bruising and swelling, the treated area is wrapped with a bandage or support braces are used. It should be used continuously for several weeks after surgery.
It may vary depending on health and aesthetic ideals of person. The specified daily limit is 2.5 to 4.5 liters per day. However, there may be surgeons who can remove more fat a day.
The time may vary depending on the area treated and the amount of fat removed, but it usually takes between 1 to 3 hours.
Liposuction surgery is not a dangerous operation under normal conditions. Plastic surgeons note down all the information they need to learn from the patient before the surgery. Surgery is prepared in line with this information. However, it can carry risks such as allergic reaction to anesthesia or excessive bleeding as mentioned before. In addition, a serious skin infection can be life-threatening.
If the liposuction procedure is not done by an experienced doctor, possibility of risks may increase and some complications may occur after surgery:
Liposuction surgery can cause scarring due to cuts or holes opened with cannulas. Because these tools are thin, scarring is minor. The number of scars may vary depending on the number of cannula insertions. Persistence depends on skin type and quality.
Liposuction can be used alone or in combination with other plastic surgeries, such as face lift, breast reduction or tummy tuck.
Liposuction can be done in almost all parts of the body with fat accumulation in women. In addition, it can be used as a treatment method in conditions such as lipoma (fatty lump in the underlying muscle layer of the skin), lipoedema (painful regional lipoidosis), lymph edema (a chronic condition that causes swelling in the tissues of the body), lipoedema (chronic fatty cells accumulation in certain regions such as hip).
Although liposuction is also performed for cellulite treatment, it does not remove cellulite and even sometimes makes it look worse. Laser assisted liposuction can be applied depending on some cellulite types, but the results are not satisfying yet.
It can also be carried out on all areas of the male bodies, but it is usually performed in the case of enlarged breasts (gynecomastia), lymph edema and lipomas. Nowadays, even if men want to remove regional fat for aesthetic purposes, this surgery is not recommended because the procedure doesn’t go along with their skin-fat-muscle structures. Perhaps this problem can be solved by medical technology advances.
It is ideal to go to a licensed and experienced aesthetic surgeon, but an experienced general surgeon can also be a good choice.
People who have health problems related to blood flow, heart disease, diabetes or poor immune system cannot undergo liposuction.
Prices of the liposuction operation may vary depending on the amount of fat to be taken, the number of areas to be treated, age and weight of the patient, type of anesthesia, whether there will be a need for an additional treatment, and the clinic/hospital where the treatment will be carried out. The average price in 2019 is between 800 and 5700 dolar. This price usually includes fees of surgeon, anesthesiologist, hospital and medicines.
Liposuction surgery performed in state hospitals can be covered by insurance. You can discuss your advantages with a plastic surgeon and health care provider. You can also get a comprehensive information from social security health institutions. Private health insurance generally does not cover liposuction costs, but there may be insurance agents who can pay for certain medical conditions; investigate well.