Liposuction or Lipoplasty

Liposuction, lipoplasty or liposculpture is commonly known as “suction-assisted fat removal” and has been developed to help remove fat from various parts of the body to improve body shape and size. It is more beneficial as a body sculpting procedure than as a weight loss tool. The aim of liposculpture is not necessarily to remove all the fatty tissue but rather enough to make an area significantly slimmer in shape and appearance.

Liposculpture can be used to help give patients a “kick-start” to a further exercise programme and weight loss. Many people who have liposuction surgery and have a significant amount of fat removed from the abdomen, go on to lose further amounts of weight. Treatment of the abdomen and some areas of the thighs make exercise easier which may also help with weight loss. It is important to stress that liposculpture complements the beneficial effect of exercise and eating a sensible diet and both of these things are necessary if further weight loss is possible. If diet and exercise are not implemented, then weight gain will occur.

Liposculpture is an elective cosmetic procedure and candidates should be in good health and have no major medical problems. A person considering liposuction would ideally be at a relatively normal weight but may have extra fatty tissue in localised areas such as the neck, arms, breasts, abdomen, flanks, thighs and knees.

Importantly, liposculpture cannot eliminate cellulite or treat loose hanging skin. Skin does retract but does not completely tighten skin in all areas, or in all patients. It is best suited for people who are in good physical shape with firm, non-flaccid skin. This is more so in people under 50 years of age, although many people much older will have excellent results with minimal or no looseness of skin. If the skin is not elastic enough then additional skin tightening procedures may be required for the best looking results to be achieved. Such procedures as a “tummy tuck” or a “thigh lift” may be required to tighten the skin over the liposuctioned area.

Liposculpture is commonly performed under local anaesthesia but may be performed under full general anaesthesia.

Guest Contributor: Meaghan Heckenburg, Liposculptor at Be Sculpted
In the middle of the 1980’s significant improvements were made in local anaesthesia by the work of Dr Jeffrey Klein, a dermatologist in California. Very low concentrations of local anaesthesia can be used to numb large areas of fatty tissue without the need for general anaesthesia. The fatty tissue is put under slight pressure by large volumes of saline mixed with the local anaesthetic drug called lignocaine. The fluid forces the local anaesthesia throughout the areas to be treated and allows it to be distributed evenly. Small amounts of adrenaline are added to the solution to allow constrictions of fat blood vessels. Blood loss is virtually negligible and this reduces bruising considerably. This is called “tumescent technique”. Small access points are used to introduce the small tubes necessary for the procedure, both to put the fluid in and to remove the fatty tissue. The incision points heal on their own and do not require suturing. Sometimes they may leave a little scar, become lighter or darker in colour but most of the time they become undetectable with time. This procedure can be performed as a day-only procedure as an out-patient. With the tumescent technique, it is very safe and the incidence of side effects are low. If general anaesthesia is chosen, then the procedure will need to be performed in a hospital and may require a stay of a few days. Complications are considerably reduced with the use of the tumescent technique compared to general anaesthesia, particularly things like blood loss, infection, deep venous thrombosis (clots in the legs), pulmonary embolism (clots in the lungs), skin breakdown, injury to other body organs. All of these things are very rare when the procedure is performed under local anaesthesia.

After surgery, there is usually some discomfort (soreness and stiffness) for a few days and will usually settle with paracetamol alone. Leaking of the anaesthetic fluid lasts about 24-36 hours. Numbness can take a few weeks to a few months to resolve. Bruising (if it occurs) may last for 2-3 weeks. Texture irregularities or lumpy areas may sometimes occur and may take a few months to settle. Because of potentially slow resolution of postoperative swelling, the final results may take 3-6 months to achieve. It is necessary to wear compression garments for 2-4 weeks after the procedure, particularly the first 2 weeks when swelling is maximal. One may return to work after a couple of days, depending on the level of physicality required.

Risks and Complications

Any surgery involves the risk of infection, bleeding, scarring or serious injury, however tumescent liposuction has an amazingly good safety record.

There is a maximum dose of the local anaesthetic drug (lignocaine) that may be used during the procedure. This is calculated using a person’s body weight. Therefore multiple areas may not be able to be treated at the same time. It is also advisable to keep the volume of fat removed under 5 litres per procedure, otherwise recovery is prolonged and there may be alteration of important body fluid electrolytes. However the greatest risks of liposuction are those associated with general anaesthesia.

Q. Can I have liposuction if I am extremely overweight?

A. Liposuction is not an appropriate treatment for obesity. It is also not a substitute for a prudent diet, good nutrition and regular exercise. Obese patients may be good candidates for limited liposuction if their goal is simply to improve the shape of certain areas of the body. Obesity is associated with an increased risk of surgical complications.

Q. Is liposuction permanent?

A. The fat cells that are removed by liposculpture do not grow back. If the patient later gains or loses weight the change tends to be distributed proportionately over the entire body. For the best results, the patient’s postoperative weight should be lower than the preoperative weight but the exact value of that is impossible to predict. Although one can expect some changes with age, provided the patient does not gain large amounts of weight, the patient’s new silhouette is relatively permanent.

Q. Can liposuction treat Cellulite?

A. Cellulite results from the pulling of fibrous tissue that connects the skin to underlying muscle. This is genetically determined and more common in female fatty tissue compared to male fatty tissue. While tumescent liposculpture may reduce the degree of cellulite, it is unlikely to eliminate it. Reducing the size of a fatty area with overlying cellulite will however improve one’s overall appearance.

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VASER Liposuction The Benefits of VASER Liposuction March 9, 2015 - Are you having problems dropping those last 10 pounds? Liposuction is one of the popular methods for removing stubborn pockets of fat from the body, particularly those unresponsive to diet and exercise. Traditional liposuction methods have given way to more efficient forms of technology, including the use of lasers and ultrasound to melt fat. VASER, or Vibration Amplification of Sound Energy at Resonance, uses a specialised probe to pulse sound energy into fat cells. So what specific benefits does VASER offer? Minimal damage to surrounding tissue All types of liposuction involve fat cells being suctioned out of the body using a cannula, or thin metal tube. The VASER technique uses a smaller incision and sound waves to liquefy these cells first. This improves accuracy, makes the fat cells easier to remove, and minimises any potential damage to surrounding tissues. Skin tightens quickly after the procedure, for dramatic results in a short period of time. High-definition results While all three methods of liposuction achieve similar in terms of the amount of fat removed, one of the primary benefits of VASER is its ability to provide highly defined, precise fat removal in a shorter time period. The liquefied fat cells are removed […]
Daddy Do Over March 26, 2014 - We have all heard of the Mummy Makeover, helping mums regain their bodies after childbirth, but what about Dad? Of course mum bears the full grunt of childbirth but what happens to Dad? With the stress of parenthood, the lack of sleep, exhaustion and time constraints comes the unwanted physical changes that yes, even dad deals with too. Many would say we are in an age where the gender role is in a flux. With more and more men seeking cosmetic procedures it seems it is no longer just the girls that are taking their physical appearance seriously. Recently we wrote about the statistics of more men seeking Anti-Wrinkle Injections, you can find that article here. But research is also suggesting that dads are in the top 4 types of men seeking cosmetic procedures. Often Dads feeling the physical affects of parenthood are looking for a Daddy-Do-Over, which is generally a number of cosmetic procedures such as liposuction, jawline recontouring and an eyelift performed in a single surgery. Dr. Pouria Moradi from Sydney’s East performs a number of male cosmetic surgeries. Although he doesn’t package Daddy-Do-Overs he does see a number of dads seeking out cosmetic procedures due to the […]
LIPOPLASTY – A simple description LIPOPLASTY – A simple description March 6, 2014 - Lipoplasty is basically “fat modeling” – most famously known as liposuction or liposculpture. It may also be known as liposculpture suction lipectomy or suction-assisted fat removal. Lipoplasty can be  performed to eliminate fat almost anywhere on the body; but more often on the thighs, buttocks, neck, arms, calves, hips, chin, ankles, waist, and the abdomen – the most often asked-for part of the body that undergoes this procedure. Lipoplasty can flatten the abdomen, trim the hips and thighs, eradicate a double chin or shape the calves and ankles, just to mention a few. People who seek out this cosmetic procedure usually have stubborn fat cells that, no matter how much exercise they do and diets they stick to, cannot get rid of that unwanted fat on certain parts of their body. Others have lipoplasty because they do not have time to work out and want a more efficient and instant solution. It is possible to have lipoplasty at almost any age, however best results are acquired if the skin still has enough elasticity to bounce back following the fat removal. Liposuction advances in techniques: Ultrasound-assisted liposuction or Ultrasonic-assisted liposuction (UAL) – Liquefies the fat using ultrasound to burst the fat […]
Benefits of Laser Liposuction - Why use laser lipo instead of other techniques? Benefits of Laser Liposuction instead of other Standard Lipo techniques? August 6, 2013 - Benefits of Laser Liposuction People who want to lose a few inches here and there may be interested in the benefits of using laser liposuction. This is one of the newer liposuction techniques for plastic surgery. This technique works a little differently from the other kinds, and while not necessarily hard to find, is one that not all plastic surgery offices provide. What is different about Laser Liposuction? Traditional services for this kind of plastic surgery used small incisions in the skin and a cannula to remove fat. The cannula is somewhat like a metal drinking straw in that it assists in the fat removal from the person’s body. These items were fairly basic in design when surgeons first began to use this procedure but have changed over time and may now have added features. The newer lipo techniques use the laser to liquefy fat cells and then use a special cannula to remove them. The traditional methods do not liquefy the fat but instead remove it directly. Patients and doctors may have different ideas about which process works the best and it can vary from person to person. Some doctors are resistant to using this procedure for several reasons. […]

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