What is liposuction?
Liposuction is a procedure which aims to remove fatty tissue from areas resistant to diet, exercise and weight loss. This helps to improve body shape in areas such as the tummy, neck, chin, upper arms, hips and thighs; and results in relatively little scarring.
Who does this procedure suit?
There are two types of fatty tissue: dense or fibrous fat which is difficult to remove using liposuction; and also a looser fat, like a soft padding which responds well to liposuction. Women have more of this softer fat, which makes them better candidates for liposuction, however men can still gain great results. You will have a better response to liposuction if: you are in good health, the fatty bulge is localized, the fatty area hasn’t responded to a strict diet, exercise or weight loss regime, you have good skin tone with little sagginess, you are under 40 years old, have little cellulite and you have few or no stretch marks.
What results will I expect?
Liposuction aims to improve body contour so that you can wear the clothing you prefer and feel more confident in your shape. It’s important to have realistic expectations for what liposuction can achieve. Liposuction reduces the number of fat cells in the area but cannot remove cellulite and stretch marks.
What’s the first step to take?
During your first consultation your surgeon will discuss what you’d like to achieve, any expectations you have, questions about the procedure, medical history and current medication. Your surgeon will examine your body and make sure you are suited to the procedure, as well as taking photos to use for comparison after surgery. We will provide as much information as possible so that you feel comfortable and informed, and if you feel overwhelmed in any way we encourage you to make a second consultation so that you feel confident with your decision.
How do I prepare for surgery?
Please ensure you have arranged someone to drive you home after your surgery and to help you out at home for a few days. To reduce risk of bleeding and bruising please make sure to:
- Avoid aspirin (or similar) and Vitamin E two weeks before surgery. Panadol, and vitamins B and C are safe to use. Alcohol and strenuous activity is to be avoided also.
- Inform your surgeon if you take any herbal medicines that may affect clotting and the anesthetic.
- Avoid smoking 6 weeks before and after surgery so as not to restrict circulation to the skin and delay healing. Giving up altogether is best.
- Inform us immediately if you’ve had any infection (cold or flu) the week before your surgery.
What happens on the day of my surgery?
We will guide you to prepare for surgery so that your procedure and recovery go smoothly. The day before surgery you will need to eat a light diet and increase fluid intake. The morning of surgery and the night before, you will also need to shower with an antiseptic soap. On the day bring your toiletries, any medication needed and loose clothing.
A support garment fitting may be arranged prior to surgery, please bring this with you on the day. These garments help to reduce bruising, swelling and skin sagging.
What should I expect during surgery?
Liposuction is performed under either a local anesthetic (smaller areas) or general anesthetic so that you will be completely comfortable through the procedure. Each procedure can take between 30 minutes and several hours depending on the number of areas treated.
During surgery, a small incision is made in the skin of each area to be treated. A narrow tube is inserted into the fatty area and is worked back and forth to remove the fat so it can travel down a suction tube and be eliminated. The suctioned areas are then collapsed using a compression garment which will create the body contour. Up to 4-5 liters of fat can be removed safely at any one time. This amount can be taken from one area, or divided over multiple areas. There is usually only one incision for each area treated (often 1cm long) therefore scarring is minimal and heals relatively quickly.
What should I expect after surgery?
- As with all surgeries, there will be some pain experienced afterwards. To ease discomfort our staff can provide prescription pain relief.
- Bruising, swelling and tenderness usually settles in a few weeks, depending on the areas treated. You may also feel some stiffness or numbness in the area and this will settle down in time.
- To assist with reducing the bruising and swelling, and create the desired body shape, a surgical garment may need to be worn after surgery. Please wear this for the time your surgeon has advised.
- Time off work is dependent of the areas treated and the type of work you do. Please discuss this with your surgeon for the best recommendation.
- Exercise is to be avoided initially and increasing slowly with gentle walking to encourage circulation and healing. Your surgeon will also discuss what is best for you.
What are the risks and complications with this procedure?
All surgeries come with risks that are important to understand so you make a well-informed decision.
- Skin laxity, waviness or dimpling – can result if you have poor skin elasticity or a large volume of fat is removed (more common in older patients).
- Minor depressions – can occur if small areas are over-treated, however fat can be re-injected into the given area at a later stage.
- Asymmetry – is common and it is often the case that more fat will need to be removed from one side than the other. However, a degree of asymmetry can remain even after surgery despite careful pre-operative planning and marking.
- Infection is rare – antiseptic showers and antibiotics help to minimize risk.
- Skin loss – very rare and more likely to occur if the area is quite thin or there is an infection.
- Scarring – is unavoidable and can remain for months however will eventually fade.
- Skin pigmentation – may occur after bruising resolves, commonly on the inner thighs however pigmentation rarely remains permanent.
- Blood clots, deep vein thrombosis – extremely rare however is life threatening and a risk with all surgeries. Please report any excessive leg swelling, heat or tenderness immediately.
Please call our office if you experience any of the following: excessive pain or bleeding, abnormal swelling or fever during the first 24 hours.