Liposuction is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of excess body fat from an individual’s body, more specifically, the abdomen, thighs, arms, neck and hips. Primarily used as a cosmetic surgical procedure, liposuction helps in treating obesity and shaping the body areas that are disfigured due to excessive fat. Liposuction is also known as body contouring and lipoplasty.
Why are liposuctions performed?
Liposuction is a cosmetic procedure that can be combined with other procedures like tummy tuck, breast reduction, and facelift. It is used to remove excess fat from the abdomen, arms, buttocks, chin, cheeks, etc.
Commonly performed in the United States as a treatment option for obesity, liposuction procedures can range from $2000 to $3500, depending on the extent of body fat that needs to be removed.
What are the types of Liposuction?
Based on the extent and location of body fat that needs to be removed, different types of liposuction procedures can be used:
- Tumescent liposuction – This type of procedure is the most common liposuction procedure administered, and it involves injecting a solution (a mixture of saltwater) just below the targeted area. Once this solution is injected, it causes a swelling, through which small cuts are made to insert a cannula. The cannula is attached to a suction pump, which helps in removing excess fat and fluids.
- Laser-assisted liposuction – Also known as LAL, laser-assisted liposuction involves the usage of a high powered laser that helps in breaking down fats. For this type of, the surgeon inserts a laser fiber into the targeted area, and the laser is activated to break down fat and fluid deposits. Once these fats have been broken down, they are removed by a cannula.
- Power assisted liposuction – Power-assisted liposuction (PAL) is a procedure that’s typically less painful than the other types, and it involves the usage of a vibrating cannula to remove excess fat.
- Ultrasound-assisted liposuction – Also known as UAL, ultrasound-assisted liposuction involves the use of an ultrasound-powered cannula to melt away excess body fat, making it easier for the fat to get sucked out. This procedure is usually on body areas with fibrous fats, and also for areas that have undergone previous sessions of liposuction, and this procedure can last for several hours.
Why do you need a liposuction procedure?
Liposuction is effective for individuals who have had less success in reducing weight through traditional methods like exercising and controlling one’s diet. It is also effective for morbidly obese individuals, and this treatment can significantly help in improving the lives of obese individuals.
How much fat can be removed during liposuction?
Fat tissues are primarily distributed in two ways – underneath the skin and around internal organs. Liposuction removes fat tissues that are located right under the skin, and the amount of fat that can be removed is determined by the location, appearance and the total volume of the same.
Does Liposuction Help Treat Any Other Condition?
Although liposuction is a cosmetic procedure, it can be used to treat certain conditions as well. A few of them are:
- Lymphedema: A long-term, recurring condition wherein excess fluids called lymph gets collected inside the tissues, especially in the arms or legs. This condition can cause swelling, pain, and discomfort. Liposuction can remove this excess fluid, providing relief to the patient.
- Gynecomastia: A condition among males wherein the breasts get enlarged due to the accumulation of fats. Liposuction, here, can help remove the excess fats for aesthetic purposes.
- Lipodystrophy syndrome: Is characterized by the uneven distribution and accumulation of fats in the human body leading to a distorted appearance. Liposuction can provide the patient with a more natural-looking body fat distribution..
- Lipomas: Are benign tumors that are made up of fats. These tumors can erupt in any part of the body and can be easily removed by liposuction.
What is the preparation involved for liposuction?
To prepare for procedure, patients are required to do the following activities:
- Food and medications – Patients are advised to fast for 8 hours before the scan, and any drinks that contain caffeine are prohibited since caffeine can affect a patient’s heart rate. Surgeons would also look at the patient’s medical history to understand if any type of food should be avoided before the scan is performed.
What are the risks associated with liposuction?
The risks associated with liposuction procedures are as follows:
- Bruising – Following the liposuction procedure, patients can experience bruising in affected parts, and recovering from such bruises can take several weeks.
- Thrombophlebitis – This can happen when a clot forms in a vein, which can cause inflammation
- Inflammation – Due to the removal of excess fats and fluids, patients can experience swelling in the incision areas, and this can last for several weeks as well.
- Irregularities in body contour – Due to the sudden removal of fat tissues, certain areas of the body will have an uneven contour to it.
- Kidney/Heart issues – Since fluids are being injected and removed from the body, this can cause imbalances in the way the heart and kidney function.
- Allergic reactions – Patients may be allergic to the materials and any medication that was used during surgery.
What to expect
Before the procedure
Patients are expected to undergo a few health tests before the liposuction procedure and will be required to sign a consent form after being made aware of the possible risks of the procedure.
Other recommendations involve:
- Stopping medications (such as aspirin, contraceptive pills) at least 2 weeks before surgery
- Anemic patients may be required to take iron supplements
During the procedure
Before the procedure, general anesthesia is provided to the patient, and its effects lasts for up to 4 hours. For treating the lower part of the body, surgeons may use an epidural. Depending on the amount and location of the excess body fat that needs to be removed, surgeons will recommend a certain type of liposuction procedure, which may involve injecting saline fluids. These procedures include:
- Tumescent liposuction
- Dry liposuction
- Ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL)
- Power-assisted liposuction (PAS)
- Laser Assisted Lipolysis (LAL)
After the procedure
Once the procedure is done, patients will be given an anesthetic that helps with dealing pain. Depending on the type of procedure administered, patients can get discharged on the same day, or may be required to spend the night at the hospital.
Patients will be provided support bandages that protect any stitches, painkillers and antibiotics. To remove the stiches, the surgeon will also setup a follow-up appointment to discuss the recovery progress and treat any unforeseen side-effects of the procedure.
What are the results of a liposuction procedure?
After the liposuction procedure is completed, most patients will have to wait for the swelling to subside to notice the results of the surgery. For most patients, the swelling comes down within 4 weeks, but for certain patients, this process may take several months. After the procedure, it’s important for patients to maintain a healthy lifestyle and maintain their weight to avoid complications developing post-surgery.
Liposuction is considered to be one of the most effective surgical ways to achieve weight loss. However, the procedure is not a permanent fix to weight loss issues, and patients who undergo this procedure will need to stick to a weight management plan to excess ensure body fat does not accumulate again.
Depending on the extent of body fat that needs to be removed, there are different types of liposuction procedures that can be administered. However, achieving weight loss through traditional means (like exercising and consuming a healthy, balanced diet) is always recommended for individuals who are looking to lose weight without developing any sort of health complications.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How much does liposuction cost?
A liposuction procedure usually costs between 50,000 INR to 2,00,000 INR. This cost depends on how much excess fat needs to be removed, and the type of liposuction procedure
Does liposuction ruin your body?
No, but depending on the elasticity of a patient’s skin, liposuction can cause the body’s skin to be loose, and this is due to the sudden reduction of fat from the body.
Is lipo better than CoolSculpting?
Depends. If a large amount of fat is to be removed, liposuction offers better results. Whereas CoolSculpting is more suitable for areas with less body fat.
Does Lipo leave scars?
Yes, liposuction will leave scars, but they can be treated and minimized with cryotherapy.
Do I need to come back for a follow-up visit?
Yes. On discharge, surgeons will schedule a follow-up appointment to check if the incisions and stitches are recovering as expected.
Can I exercise after liposuction?
Patients are advised to start exercising only after 4-6 weeks of the surgery.