Liposuction is the name for a surgical procedure used to remove fat from different areas of the body, especially on the lower abdomen, thighs and buttocks. Liposuction employs a ‘suction technique’ through small incisions in the skin and is also used to shape or contour these areas of the body.
A very small cut is made in the skin of the area to be treated and if the area being treated is very large, two or three cuts may be required. A thin suction tube, attached to a special vacuum machine is inserted into the cut. The tube is used to first loosen and then suck the fat out of the area. Any excess fluid and blood is drained out using small drainage tubes.
The cuts are then closed with stitches, and the area is wrapped in bandages for support. It is sometimes recommended that the patient wear a corset or a lycra supportive garment to reduce any swelling.
Preparing for Surgery
Smoking can increase the likelihood of wound problems in this type of surgery and abstaining from smoking for at least two weeks preoperatively and postoperatively is a sensible precaution.
The patient is admitted to hospital on the day of surgery and Miss Patel will run through the procedure with the patient and mark the exact extent of the surgery. The patient will be seen by a Consultant Anaesthetist who will discuss the anaesthetic with the patient and will answer any questions the patient may have.
Recovery after liposuction treatment
Depending on the extent of the treatment, the patient may be able to go home the same day. Miss Patel will see the patient seven to ten days after surgery to check that all is well and to reduce the dressing where appropriate. Depending on the area treated, Miss Patel may advise that a supportive “lycra” garment be used to reduce swelling in the early postoperative period. A final follow up visit is planned around three months after surgery.
A degree of bruising and tenderness is normal, although this does settle quickly. Strong painkillers are not usually required.
What is the normal recovery time after liposuction?
The swelling and bruising generally settles over the course of the first week following surgery. Most patients resume normal activities quite quickly although the exact recovery period depends on the area treated and the extent of the liposuction. With minor areas treated, patients can often return to work and normal activities almost immediately. With more extensive treatment, a longer period of convalescence may be required.
Safety and potential risks in liposuction surgery
The majority of patients undergoing liposuction surgery performed by an experienced surgeon achieve good results with a rapid recovery. In a small proportion of patients complications can occur as listed below:
- Scars – Following liposuction there is minimal scarring.
- Infection – Infection is very rare in this type of treatment and the risk is minimised by careful surgical technique and the use of a dose of antibiotic during surgery.
- Numbness – Numbness of the skin overlying the treated area is quite common after liposuction and returns to normal fairly quickly. A feeling of “pins and needles” is normal as this sensation recovers.
- Surface irregularity – Some patients experience a degree of irregularity or “bumpiness” or the contour can be evident after treatment; in the majority of patients this will improve as the swelling settles.
This is not a definitive list and symptoms will vary with each patient. Please ask Miss Patel for more information.
For further information please contact Miss Patel to arrange a consultation.
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