What is liposuction?
A liposuction procedure can help men and women of all ages and it is most suitable for the reduction or removal of stubborn areas of fat that have previously proved resistant to normal diet and exercise regimes, and is especially suitable for areas that remain out of proportion to the rest of the body shape, irrespective of a person’s weight loss.
What does the operation involve?
A liposuction procedure involves the surgical removal of surplus fat through a slender tube called a cannula. This cannula can either be connected to a large syringe or a special surgical vacuum device, through which, excess fat cells are carefully sucked away.
Patients can either be fully anaesthetised or sedated throughout this procedure, which can take an average of between one to two hours to perform. The type of anaesthetic chosen will usually determine whether a patient is treated as a day case or be required to stay in hospital overnight to recover.
Techniques vary between surgeons and according to the individual needs of each case. However, most commonly, the surgeon injects the selected area with a clear solution that limits bleeding and bruising and numbs the surrounding tissue for up to eight hours following surgery before excess fatty deposits are removed by suction. This solution will be absorbed in part by the body and the remaining solution will leak out of the tiny cannula incisions for 24 hours after surgery. This is a normal process and patients should not be alarmed by such leakage.
Following surgery, the small keyhole incision sites left after the suction surgery are either sutured together with a tiny single stitch or closed with a simple elastoplast dressing. Patients are then dressed in a firm support garment, which must be worn at all times for four to six weeks following surgery. This support garment is important, as it adds compression to the newly formed shape and assists with the early reduction of swelling and helps healing.
How soon will I recover?
The operated area is often quite tender, bruised and painful for several weeks following surgery.
Analgesic tablets (pain killers) are always provided for any discomfort and patients are encouraged to stay as mobile as possible during their early recovery stage to help improve their circulation. This in turn will help diminish residual swelling and bruising and aid a more speedy recovery.
In the early days following discharge, patients are strongly advised to avoid any excessive level of activity that would put undue strain on the operated areas. Whilst the healing wounds are well hidden beneath the skin, they still need the same consideration that any visible wounds require during a recovery stage.
In order to help the newly shaped fatty tissue and skin bond firmly together, patients are usually advised to wear an elastic support garment day and night for at least one week and then for a minimum of another three weeks during the daytime. Patients will also be advised to take a specific amount of recovery time away from work, dependent on the type of work they perform, but it is usual to take around 7–14 days away from work, dependent on the volume of the fat removed and individual recovery.