Liposuction: 10 things to know
According to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), liposuction is the second most popular cosmetic surgical procedure in the United States in 2021, with over 235,000 procedures performed. This represents a 10% increase from the previous year.
1. What is traditional liposuction?
Liposuction (also known as body fat removal) is a procedure to remove the subcutaneous fat layer (fat just under the skin) in some parts of the body that are stubbornly resistant to diet and exercise. Liposuction is not a weight loss procedure; instead, it is a way to remove a pocket of fat that is not responsive in otherwise healthy individuals.
2. Which body parts can be treated with liposuction?
Some common “problem” areas of the body where liposuction is performed includes:
- Double Chin
- Back of Neck (Dowager’s Hump)
- Arms (Bingo Wings)
- Female Breasts Reduction
- Male Breasts (Gynaecomastia)
- Outer & Inner Thighs
- Saddlebags (Hips)
- Bra Strap Area (Bra Rolls)
- Lower & Upper Abdomen
- Love Handles
The optimal area for each individual is unique, as each person responds to diet and exercise differently. DR KAY will run a thorough assessment including physical examination and diagnostic ultrasound for patients to determine the areas of their body where liposuction makes sense.
3. What makes an ideal candidate for the procedure?
The best candidates for liposuction are healthy individuals at or close to their goal weight. They are also nonsmokers. Ideal patients have stubborn subcutaneous fat, in which fat resides between muscle and skin, and not visceral fat in which the layer of fat resides beneath the muscle layer around the abdominal organs. Additionally, DR KAY will evaluate the condition of a prospective patient’s skin before recommending liposuction. Patients with good skin elasticity are good candidates for liposuction, whereas patients with extreme loose skin are not, as these conditions can result in uneven or dimpled skin.
4. Is liposuction a weight loss procedure? How much fat can be removed?
Contrary to popular belief, liposuction is NOT a weight-loss treatment. Instead, it is a fat reduction procedure. The amount of fat that can be removed in an area during a single procedure will vary depending on a variety of factors, including the doctor’s assessment of the patient’s health and his or her aesthetic goals. Having said that, no more than 3-4 liters of fat should be removed in a single session.
5. How does a patient prepare for liposuction surgery?
DR KAY will provide instructions for the days leading up to liposuction; but in general, it is most important to enlist a supportive friend or family member that can help drive to and from the clinic and assist with postsurgical care. Certain medications like aspirin and blood thinners may need to be paused before the procedure.
7. What happens during the procedure? How is it performed?
Liposuction is a procedure that involves making small incisions in the skin and inserting a hollow metal tube called a cannula into the fat pocket. This cannula is attached to a suction device or a syringe to extract the fat. This is an outpatient procedure which is done entirely under local anaesthesia by DR KAY, so the patients are allowed to go home the same day after the procedure is completed.
8. What is the recovery like?
In most cases, the patient can return to work in a few days and resume all normal activities, like exercise, within 2-4 weeks or less, though recovery and postsurgical care varies depending on the area treated and the amount of fat removed. Following instructions is the best way to have a recovery that is short and as comfortable as possible. Some discomfort may be felt. However, lifestyle choices like rest, hydration and not smoking will make healing time faster and complications fewer. The most common postsurgical symptoms include some swelling, bruising and tenderness in the area of the procedure. The team will offer some options on pain relief after liposuction as well as a list of pain relief medications to avoid. Common postsurgical instructions also include wearing compression garments in the areas that were treated. Modified activities may be recommended for a few weeks afterward to reduce strain on the target areas.
9. What sort of scarring is expected after the procedure?
The cannula is a small instrument, and because of this, the scars are small as well. The number of scars is based on the number of insertion points (Adits) needed to address the area. Scarring also varies depending on the patient’s skin quality. DR KAY will discuss location and the ways in which they can minimise the appearance of scarring.
10. What kind of results should a patient expect after liposuction?
We help you anticipate and visualise realistic results. Immediately after liposuction, there will be some swelling and the skin may be loose. Because of this, it can take several weeks to months to see the full extent of the results of the procedure. The fat cells removed during liposuction are permanently removed. It is important to note, however, that patients can still gain new fat tissues, so following a healthy diet, lifestyle and exercise plan after treatment can help prevent new fat gain.