Introduction To Liposuction
Liposuction or liposculpture is designed to remove unwanted fat and to sculpt your body shape. Here at Sthetix, we mainly use PAL (power assisted liposuction) but we can also perform micro-liposuction if needed (micro-liposuction allows for very small amounts of fat to be removed in a precise way and can correct surface irregularities).
Small areas of liposuction can be carried out under local anaesthetic, so that the patient is awake during surgery. Any significant amount of liposuction will require a general anaesthetic, where the patient is asleep.
Who Is Suitable?
Many of our patients come to us with stubborn areas of fat that they can’t shift with diet and exercise. Liposuction can be a great choice for those who already have a healthy lifestyle and want to shift unwanted bits of fat. The surgery can significantly transform the way you look and feel, however it’s important to stress that liposuction is not a weight loss treatment or solution.
For some of our patients who have recently lost weight and have loose or excess skin, liposuction may be needed alongside some other procedures in order to achieve the desired look. We therefore meet with all potential patients to discuss their individual needs prior to their decision and we can advise you on additional procedures (such as tummy tucks or skin tightening procedures) if needed.
As liposuction is a major procedure, we require all of our patients to be medically fit and psychologically stable prior to surgery.
Before Liposuction Surgery
Before surgery, there are several things we require so that your procedure goes as smoothly as possible.
One of the most important things is to stop smoking as smoke introduces toxins into the blood that can increase the risk of healing problems, skin loss and complications. We also ask that smokers stop at least 6 weeks before their surgery date and don’t start again until wounds have completely healed.
We also ask patients who are undergoing liposuction to stop taking oral contraceptive pills (alternative methods are fine), aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs. This is because some of those pills can increase the risk of bleeding. And finally, we ask that patients do not take off-the-shelf herbal medicines or nutritional supplements.
To ensure that you are fully prepared for the surgery, we will ask you to attend a medical examination at a pre-operative assessment clinic where certain tests may be carried out to ensure your safety during anaesthesia and surgery.
The Procedure And Risks
Liposuction is a surgical procedure to remove unwanted fat by inserting thin tubes (called cannulae) in the treated area and sucking out the fat. Liposuction surgery is carried out either under general anaesthesia or local anaesthesia (you are awake) with sedation and can either be done as a same day case or in certain cases, it may require an overnight night stay in hospital.
At our Liverpool and Chester hospitals, we used advanced power assisted liposuction or micro liposuction. Once you are under anaesthetic, your surgeon will inject a fluid mixture containing a salt solution, local anaesthetic and adrenaline into the fatty area. This helps to reduce bleeding, bruising and swelling and makes it easier to remove fat cells. In most cases, our method of liposuction results in minimal swelling and bruising.
After this, a small puncture will be made in the skin and a thin metal tube called a cannula will be inserted. This is then attached to a vacuum pump or a syringe and will be moved about to suck out the fat and the fluid. For larger areas, more than one puncture may be needed to reach all fatty deposits. After liposuction you will be fitted with an elasticated support garment as this help to reduce swelling and helps your skin to mould to your new shape. This garment must be worn for at least 6 weeks.
Patients are most commonly dissatisfied if their expectations did not meet what can be realistically and safely achieved. For this reason, we try and get to know you before the procedure and talk to you about the results you expect and what we can work together to achieve. It is important to discuss your expectations with the surgeon and to listen to the surgeon as to what can and cannot be done.
Liposuction is a fairly invasive surgery and as with any surgical procedure patients may experience some discomfort and swelling and bruising around the treated area afterwards. Potential risks include haematoma, infection, skin loss, loss of sensation, persistent pain and unevenness. When a patient also has excess skin, liposuction may not be enough to correct the problem and if this is the case, we recommend skin excision or tightening. However, if the patient decides against those additional procedures then they may run the risk of being left with loose skin.
Aftercare And Results
As your wellbeing is our number one priority we offer a comprehensive and personalised aftercare package, all included in your treatment.
After the surgery, you will be given painkillers to help relieve any discomfort as the anaesthetic wears off. Before you leave the hospital, your nurse will give you personalised advice about caring for your stitches, hygiene requirements and bathing.
The nurses and surgeons will advise you to keep hydrated by drinking an adequate amount of fluids, this is because liposuction removes a lot of the tissues that hold water. You will also need to wear an elasticated garment or some bandages for up to six weeks after your procedure, depending on your surgeon's advice. These garments can usually be removed for a short period whilst you wash or bathe.
After the surgery, we will arrange appointments for follow-up examinations with your surgeon to monitor your progress and check that you are recovering well (it usually takes 1-2 weeks to recover and heal from this procedure and patients are advised to wear a compression garment for 6 weeks afterwards).
2 weeks after surgery, one of our trained staff will see you and check on your progress. Your surgeon will see you after 6 weeks for a follow-up and (if necessary) for subsequent appointments until you are fully recovered. These follow-ups are standard and will be provided at no extra cost.
In the unlikely event of a problem, we will make arrangements for you to be seen by trained staff, and if needed, by the surgeon who performed the procedure. As all our surgeons live and work in the area, it is always possible to see your surgeon at short notice. Our surgeons don’t leave the country or local area after performing the surgery. On the rare instance that a surgeon has to leave the local area for other commitments, we will always arrange for another trained plastic surgeon from our team available to provide you with comprehensive care.
In the unlikely event of a complication directly related to your surgery, we would provide or arrange further surgery and/or treatment at no extra cost for up to 1 year.
It may be several months before you can see the full results of your operation as the swelling can take time to fully settle down. Those with good skin elasticity will benefit the most, as the skin is then more likely to shrink and fit the new shape.
When can I return to work?
Your surgeon will give you tailored advice about when you can continue your normal activities but if you’ve only had a small area treated, you may just need to rest for a few days. For bigger operations, you might need around 1-2 weeks to fully recover.
When can I drive?
This amount of time depends on where you had your liposuction and how extensive the surgery was. For this reason, your surgeon will advise you on the right time frame for your individual case.
When can I exercise?
You might need to avoid strenuous exercise for up to a month, but walking and gentle exercises are recommended as soon as you are comfortable.
How much can you remove in one go?
This of course varies from treated area to area. The volume of fat removed can vary from a few ml to many litres of fat. We practice limiting the upper limit of fat removal to approximately 3.5 litres. This is done to reduce the risks of potential complications
How bad is the bruising?
While it varies from person to person, there is normally minimal bruising following the procedure.
Will liposuction reduce loose skin in the treated area?
Liposuction is not designed to remove skin, however, depending on the type and quality of skin, some shrinkage of the skin takes place following the procedure. Generally speaking, younger skin and skin in better condition shrinks more than older skin and sun damaged skin.
Will I or can I lose weight with liposuction?
Liposuction is not a weight reduction procedure. It is not an alternative to a healthy lifestyle.
Can I combine liposuction with another procedure, such as abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) or arm lift?
Generally, it is possible to combine certain procedures e.g. liposuction and abdominoplasty or arm lift.