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Liposuction

Liposuction

If you suffer from excess fat in certain places, this can be removed with liposuction treatment. By sucking away fat deposits, the contours of your body will improve and you will regain symmetry in your figure. It is not a treatment to lose weight, but to get a nice figure with the right proportions. Liposuction usually takes place under general anesthetic as a day treatment. If large quantities of fat are sucked away, it is necessary to stay overnight.

During an initial consultation with the surgeon, your overall health and weight will be examined. Together with the doctor you discuss which areas you would like to be treated and what your further wishes are. Based on the quality and elasticity of your skin, the surgeon will tell you what results you can expect from a liposuction treatment.

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Liposuction is not a procedure to lose weight; in order to lose weight one must decrease one’s calorie intake and increase one’s physical activity. In certain instances, a stomach reducing procedure can be performed by a surgeon of a bariatric team. When your weight is acceptable but there is still a disproportionate amount of fat in certain areas of your body liposuction could be useful to remove this. It is important though that the overlying skin is of sufficient quality and elasticity to contract. The ideal liposuction patient is in good health with localized fat deposits and tight and elastic skin without stretch marks.

During your first consultation an assessment will be made of your general health, your weight, the areas that require treatment and the quality and elasticity of the skin. When skin is already loose and a liposuction procedure is performed, it will loosen which may result in the formation of a fold. In these cases, it would be better to excise the skin together with the underlying fat (dermo-lipectomy) which will result in long scars. A dermo-lipectomy can also be performed together with a liposuction. All options applicable to you will be discussed.

Liposuction normally takes place under a general anesthetic, but smaller liposuction procedures can also be performed under local anesthetic. When large amounts of fat have been aspirated an overnight stay may be necessary. Before the procedure, photos will be taken and the areas to be treated are marked.  During the procedure small incisions of ½ to 1 cm will be made in discrete locations. Through these incisions large amounts of fluid is infiltrated into the areas to facilitate the suction of fat and to minimize blood loss. With the aid of a thin tube, fat is systematically aspirated through the same incisions. At the end of the procedure the skin incisions are closed with one or two stitches. If skin needs to be excised, with liposuction and dermo-lipectomy, a drain may be placed under the skin for a couple of days.

After the procedure an elastic pressure garment or corset will be put in place to control the swelling, maintain the loose skin and to support the adherence thereof. This needs to be worn day and night for 6 weeks and can be taken off for showering. Liposuction in general is not a painful procedure and it is more stiffness that is to be expected. Paracetamol is normally sufficient if any pain medication is required. In the first couple of days some of the infiltrated fluid can leak through the small incisions. The skin can become all colours of the rainbow which will resolve quickly in the first couple of weeks. To speed up the resolution of the bruising, the swelling and stiffness, it is advisable to go for physiotherapy, where lymph drainage and massage of the treated areas will be carried out. The stitches of the small incisions are removed after 10 days. To prevent discoloration the skin must be protected from the sun for 6 months.

Although the improvements of the contours will be immediately visible, the result can only be properly assessed after 3 to 6 months. In liposuction there are only small scars in the skin, but under the skin is a large surface area that needs to heal. Liposuction can give a significant improvement of the contours of your figure, but not perfection. Asymmetries can be improved, but existing irregularities of the skin are difficult to correct.

Liposuction has the same complications as any surgical procedures. There is the chance of bleeding and infection, although this hardly ever occurs. Immediately after the procedure, the skin is swollen, discolored and sensitive. The remaining swelling and hard nodules will sometimes take several months to settle down and so the numbness of the skin will take time to disappear. If the skin doesn’t contract sufficiently it is sometimes necessary to excise the loose skin which will result in additional scarring. Slight irregularities of the surface of the skin sometimes are present, and, to minimize these, the liposuction is performed from different directions and never too superficial. If not all excess fat has been removed or when the result is asymmetric it is possible to correct this with additional liposuction procedures.