Liposuction is defined as the removal of excess body fat by suction with specialized surgical equipment, typically performed by a plastic surgeon. With the removal of excess body fat, the body appearance improves and evens out distorted body parts. Breasts, buttocks, abdomen, and the face area are some of the most popular body parts that undergo liposuction.
Most people resort to liposuction for cosmetic reasons. They may want to eradicate “love handles”, unsightly fat bulges, or an abnormal chin line. Liposuction can also help improve sexual function by reducing fat deposits on the inner thighs, thus allowing easier access to the vagina. It can also help with body shaping that cannot be achieved by diet and/or exercise. A note of caution, liposuction is not a cure for generalized obesity.
If you are considering liposuction, you must meet certain criteria. There should be a preliminary consultation, which includes taking a complete history, a comprehensive physical examination, and a psychological health examination. There should also be a second consultation to give you time to think over the planned liposuction surgery.
If you are married, the spouse’s presence may be required during the consultation. You should ask questions about liposuction, express the reasons for the consultation, and must feel satisfied with the answers to their questions. You must fully understand the pre-operative liposuction preparations, the liposuction procedures, and the precise post-operative liposuction care to avoid lethal complications.
You must have realistic expectations. Liposuction enhances the body’s appearance and boost self-confidence but it will never result in a perfect body.
There are some complications you should be aware of when it comes to liposuction. These include:
• Fluid imbalance due to the removal of liquid during liposuction and/or injection of large amounts of liquid during liposuction, which can result in shock, heart problems, or kidney problems.
• Infection – Infections can happen after any surgery. It is important to keep the wound clean. Infections can be life-threatening such as necrotizing fasciitis (bacteria eating away the tissue) or the toxic shock syndrome caused by bacteria associated with surgery.
• An embolism occurs when tiny globules of fat trapped in the bloodstream block the blood flow to the tissue. This may cause permanent disability. Signs of pulmonary embolism are shortness of breath or difficulty of breathing.
• Drug reactions or overdose from lidocaine can be fatal. Lidocaine is a drug that numbs the skin and large doses can be used during liposuction. The effects of lidocaine are lightheadedness, restlessness, drowsiness, slurred speech, muscle twitching, and convulsions. Overdose of this drug may cause the heart to stop.
• Burns caused by the ultrasound probe during ultrasound-assisted liposuction.
• Visceral perforations or puncture wounds in the organs may require another surgery and can be fatal. During liposuction, the physician does not see where the probe (canula) is, so it is possible to harm internal organs.
• Skin death (skin necrosis) occurs when skin changes color and fall off. This may also cause infection.
• Paresthesias are altered sensations at the site of liposuction. This may be in the form of increased sensitivity in the area or loss of feeling. Some cases of this are permanent.
After surgery, the liposuctioned area will likely appear larger than before because of swelling. Special compression garments must be worn for two to three weeks to reduce swelling, bleeding, and to help contour the new body. Additionally, walking is recommended after liposuction to prevent blood clots from forming in the legs. Finally, exercise and diet will help keep your new shape.