Liposuction is the number one cosmetic surgery procedure in both men and women. Having excess fat is a common human condition especially with the current state of the American diet. There are many ways to get rid of this excess fat and liposuction is one of the most common ways to get this done. If considering this procedure, here is the 411 on the liposuction procedure.
Liposuction burst onto the American scene in 1983 after the first procedures were performed in some European countries in the late '70s. While it is a popular procedure, it is not without its risks and complications.
Risks and Complications of Liposuction
An important step in ensuring that the risks and complications of the liposuction procedure are minimized is to ensure that you pick a highly skilled surgeon. He or she must truly be a surgeon who trained in all aspects of liposuction including residency.
Ensure that he or she is board certified and that the procedures he or she performs are in line with his or her training. Ensure that the surgeon has excellent credentials and is highly recommended by his or her patients who had the same procedure done. If possible, you can also get recommendations of the surgeon from other doctors as well.
Although this procedure is a reliably safe procedure in the right hands, it can also be a very dangerous procedure with the loss of life as a consequence, not to mention bad results if you use someone without an idea of what he or she is doing and there are plenty of those out there willing to perform this procedure without the experience and know how.
Even when the surgeon is highly skilled, issues may still arise but it is better to be in the hands of someone who may have a better understanding of how to handle unforeseen issues that may arise during the liposuction procedure.
Risks and complications that may arise include;
1. Although rare in liposuction, infection may occur. If it does occur, it will usually be very aggressive and cover large areas very quickly to the point of creating a life threatening medical emergency is not immediately immediately.
2. Another risk is that of bleeding. There will be some blood loss during and after liposuction of about a pint or so which does not require a blood transfusion usually. But there is always a risk that blood loss can increase significantly especially after the procedure that may cause a medical emergency.
3. Liposuction is one of the surgical procedures with a serious risk of causing blood clots in the legs that may travel to the lungs which could be fatal. Many surgeons use many ways to reduce the risk of blood clots such as the use of compression boots.
4. The cannula used in liposuction to break up fat before it is suctioned out is blunt tipped and hollow and can puncture any organ that it comes in contact with during the procedure which can lead to death if the puncture is not noticed and fixed. The cannula can also pierce the skin and cause scarring.
5. Liposuction specific risks include dimpling, waviness as well as hanging skin. The potential for these occurring should be addressed by the surgeon prior to the surgery after examining your skin type.
6. If you have a chronic disease or other diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, etc, or a weakened immune system, there will be an increased risk of complications from the surgery so you need to evaluate whether this risk is too high to go through with liposuction.
The Liposuction Procedure
As discussed previously, a cannula is used to break up the fat and then the liposuction machine slices out the fat. There are many technologies for suctioning out this fat that are currently being used and that continue to be developed for this procedure. Surgeons may use different technologies so reviewing these with the surgeon will also help you decide on which surgeon to use based on the technique he or she will use on your fat.
Most highly skilled surgeons do not try to suction out all the fat. Some fat is left behind to help to sculpt a better body after the excess fat is removed. Removing the excess fat is the easy part. The surgeon has to ensure that your body looks better after liposuction in addition to the body looking thinner.
Various parts of the body will react differently to lipo. To create a great final look, the skin has to be able to snap back and some areas such as the outer thighs and hips are better at doing this than other parts of the body such as the inner thighs.
If you already have hanging skin prior to the surgery, you may need a tummy tuck, thigh lift, arm lift or full body lift to get rid of this hanging skin, in addition to getting liposuction on these areas.
The areas of the body that will be suctioned off are first filled with sterile saltwater. Some surgeons may add a chemical known as epinephrine (adrenaline) to this sterile saltwater to help reduce the amount of blood loss during and after the procedure. This fluid is injected to distend the tissues and the amount injected usually corresponds to the amount of fat to be removed.
Using various incisions made into the various areas of the body that liposuction is to be performed, the fat is then suctioned out. The incisions are usually small and hidden in various skin creases on the body so that the scarring will not be noticeable. Using many incisions also helps to create a smoother final look.
On the morning of the liposuction procedure, you will stand naked before the surgeon as he or she marks the areas of the body to be suctioned. Since chewing down will cause the fat to change position, these marks made by the surgeon prior to the procedure are very important as they will help him or her to suction the fat out.
After being marked by the surgeon, the next person you will stand naked for will be the nurse who will prep your body with the germ killer, Betadine. This will be applied front and back from your collarbone all the way to your toes.
You will then take your place on the operating table and be hooked up to oxygen and blood pressure monitors, the EKG machine, etc. You will then be placed under general or local anesthesia and the liposuction procedure will begin.
Once the surgeon is comfortable with the amount of fat removed, you will be stitched up and band-aids as well as gauze will be placed on the areas that the incisions were made. Your body will then be placed in a girdle to provide some pressure on the areas that this is necessary. This girdle will have a hole in the crotch to allow you to use the bathroom without having to take the girdle off.
After being taken to the recovery room and staying there for about two hours, you will be sent home.
Liposuction Procedure Recovery
Although you may not feel much like eating after the surgery, you should ensure that you stay hydrated because a lot of oozing may occur increasing the risk of dehydration which can complicate your recovery.
If liposuction was performed on your thigh and legs, your legs will need to be kept elevated. You will be very bruised after the procedure and have a lot of swelling which will be almost gone after about two weeks.
A day or two after the surgery, you will return to the surgeon and you will receive a clean girdle and after this you will be able to shower. A week after the surgery, the stitches will be removed.
Pain associated with liposuction is usually minimal and you should be able to return to work in about five days after undergoing liposuction.
The final liposuction result should be disclosed after at least three months but you should start to feel your clothing starting to feel looser after about two weeks as the sliding goes down.
How Much Does Liposuction Cost?
On average, the cost for liposuction is about $ 2,500 per area to be liposuctioned. The liposuction cost also depends on the technology and technique used by the surgeon to remove the excess fat which will vary from one surgeon to the next. Some techniques may be more expensive than others.
If you require liposuction in more than one area of the body, you may be able to get a discounted rate.