Liposuction is a great treatment for those unwanted fatty bulges that just don’t go away, no matter how much you diet or exercise. It is great for changing undesirable contours but it is not for weight loss.
We are basically born with a certain number of fat cells that are distributed in certain areas. If you put on weight, individual fat cells get fatter, but they don’t multiply. We are born with a certain body shape and tend to store fat in certain areas and these prove the most resistant to shift. Genetics are a very powerful force and we are dealt the cards we are dealt.
With the above in mind, if we reduce the fat cells from an undesirable fatty bulge that contour is changed forever. Fat cells do not grow back. The remaining fat cells continue to behave like normal fat cells, but there are just far less of them to gain weight.
This is how liposuction works: it physically reduces unwanted fat cells, and allows contouring down to a more ideal shape.
People come in different shapes and sizes, and men and women have different fatty deposits controlled by different hormones. Basically though, wherever there is a fatty bulge liposuction can be used to improve the contour. Of course, the limiting factor is the underlying bone and muscle, and the overlying skin. Liposuction only works on the fatty layer between these two areas.
The quality of the skin is critical to the outcome, as the skin has limited ability to contract and “take up”. If you have excess fat, but good skin, then liposuction is the perfect procedure.
If you already have excess skin and stretchmarks, for example on a tummy after having a baby or after a large weight loss, then removing the skin via a tummy tuck may be a better option. A tummy tuck also allows tightening of the muscles in this circumstance.
Although liposuction can be applicable in many areas of the body, the classic areas that people request are the notorious “saddle bag” thighs, inner thighs, knees, tummy and love handles. In the correct patient, it can be excellent in the fatty neck, ankles, calves, back rolls, the bulge above the breast at the front of the armpit, and even the in breast itself if the breast has a youthful shape.
Liposuction is a real surgical procedure and as such has potential complications. It should therefore be performed by a properly qualified surgeon in a licensed facility, and given all the same respect and due diligence as any surgical procedure. Done properly with the above in mind it is a very safe procedure.
Small volumes of liposuction can be done under local anaesthetic, but to do body changing volumes safely and comfortably for the patient, a general anaesthetic is required.
Recovery is obviously dependent on the extent of the areas treated, but it is usually relatively quick. Patients having even moderate volumes removed are generally able to return to work in 3 – 5 days.
Used correctly, liposuction can be a body changing and life changing event. As with all surgical procedures, seeking an appropriately qualified, experienced and ethical surgeon is essential.