What is liposuction?
Liposuction, also called Lipo, Lipoplasty or body contouring surgery is the process of removing (extra) fat from the body of a person. Liposuction is one of the very popular surgeries performed by plastic surgeons in Chennai as well as in the whole world. Reason being, many people consider it to be an easier way to lose the extra kilos from under their skin.
Liposuction is most often performed on thighs, hips (love handles), abdomen, arms, neck, back (behind the abdomen near lower back) and also the chest area of men. Some people try to work out and drop their weight and when everything fail, they opt for liposuction; whereas some take liposuction as an alternative approach to exercising. However, one should know that liposuction is not a weight loss treatment and you should always try working out and lose body fat the natural way.
Before and after liposuction
Liposuction is done under full body anesthesia. Your doctor will discuss the steps involved in the procedure and precautions that you should take before the surgery. Under anesthesia, you may not feel any pain but after the effects of anesthesia wear off, you will go through a lot of pain. Recovery isn’t an easy process; you will have to bear with the pain for days while you take the pain medication / pain killers given by your doctor.
After the procedure, you will have pain along with swelling, inflammation, soreness and numbness that can last for days or may be even weeks. You need to take your doctor’s prescription religiously and wear the compression garments or bands as instructed by your plastic surgeon. Rest and relaxation are compulsory during recovery.
How to decide if liposuction is right for you?
Remember that liposuction is not a weight loss procedure. You can consider liposuction for you or anyone if:
a. You are not overweight or obese
b. If you have worked out enough and unable to lose stubborn fat (such as the one on the backside of your lower abdomen).
c. You don’t smoke
d. You are in good health with an uncompromised immune system
e. If you are not too old. Considering the fact that skin loses elasticity with age, if you have lose or sagging skin already, liposuction may remove the fat from your body but the shape of the body may not come out as expected.
When you should not consider liposuction?
- If you are smoker; Smoking makes healing difficult or may extend healing time.
- If you are immune compromised.
- If you are old and your skin doesn’t have enough elasticity. Your plastic surgeon will be the right person to decide this factor.
- If you don’t have a history of diabetes, heart problems, deep vein thrombosis or seizures
- If you are taking blood thinners etc. (Blood thinners can cause internal bleeding during or after the surgery that can be fatal).
Are there any risks associated with liposuction?
Just like with any surgery that involves making incisions, liposuction has its own risks and they can be classified into – during the surgery, after surgery and during recovery period.
Risks of liposuction during the surgery
- Not so well trained plastic surgeons or doctors may hurt the internal organs
- Right dose of anesthesia should be administered. Excess dosage of anesthesia can be life threatening.
- Burns caused by improper handling of the equipment
- Damage to nerves
- Sometimes death.
Risks of liposuction immediately after the surgery
- Blood clots in the lungs
- Excess fluid depositing in the lungs
- Infections that can even lead to death
- Fat clots (when all the melted fat is not removed, few bits and pieces may stay back causing fat clots)
- Hematoma – bleeding under the skin
- Seroma – Fluid leaking under the skin
- Edema – Swelling
- Skin necrosis – death of skin cells.
Risks of liposuction during recovery period
- Numbness, this may be short lived or even last for months
- Irregular removal of fat from the skin can result in lumps or bumps under the skin
- Deposition of fluids
- Skin losing sensation temporarily
- Change of skin colour
- Problems with healing if your immunity is not good or if you smoke.
Long term side effects of liposuction
The long term side effects of liposuction vary depending on the expertise of the doctor, the cleanliness of the equipment used and the body of the patient. Once the fat cells are removed, you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle, change food habits so that additional fat don’t start getting deposited. If new fat starts depositing, this may start around the soft organs in the body which can become a bigger health condition later. If the nerves are damaged or if any internal organ is damaged, you will be at great risk.
In order to minimise the risks of liposuction, always enquire about the doctor and the clinic/hospital where experienced plastic surgeons are available. Talk to them in detail about the risks and rewards and the process of recovery in detail. Follow doctor’s prescription till the end and be in touch with your plastic surgeon until you may a complete recovery.