Liposuction

Treatment information

Liposuction can be used to remove fat deposits that you cannot get rid of through regular diet and exercise. Liposuction is, however, not suitable as a cure for obesity. Liposuction can be performed in pretty much any area of the body.

Generally about the treatment

The liposuction procedure is able to help the patient shape his or her body by removing unwanted fat from specific areas of the body.

It is important to underline that liposuction is not in any way a substitute for a healthy diet and exercise, but a method for removing fat deposits that will not go away through traditional weight loss methods. These are often fat deposits that are hormonally or genetically determined.

Liposuction surgery does not remove cellulite or thread veins.

These days there are several liposuction techniques available. The techniques are explained under "procedure"

Liposuction can be done on its own, but it is often combined with abdominoplasty, thigh lift, arm lift, or similar operations.

Suitability

The best suited candidates for a liposuction are men and women over the age of 18, who are healthy and of normal weight, but who have localised deposits of excess fat.

In order for the skin to be able to contract after the surgery, it is preferable for it to be as elastic as possible. The skin will become less elastic with age, and for this reason, young age is an advantage when it comes to liposuction.

The procedure

Liposuction is carried out with the use of a sterile cannula, which is connected to a suctioning vacuum pump. The cannula is inserted under the skin, and through this, the surgeon sucks out the fat deposits from the requested area or areas.

During the liposuction procedure, the machine usually injects a local anaesthetic along with adrenalin into the body, in accordance with the amount of fat being removed.

The duration of a liposuction varies depending on the area, the size of the area, along with the type of anaesthetic and technique used. The duration can be anywhere from 1 to 5 hours.

There are several different methods for performing a liposuction. They do, however, all serve the same purpose of removing localised fat from one or more areas on the body, in order to reshape it and create proportion and symmetry.

Through a tiny incision, the cannula is inserted under the skin. The cannula is then used to "hoover" up the layer of fat lying deep beneath the skin. The cannula is moved back and forwards through the layer of fat in order to free the fat cells and suck them out. This is most often done using a vacuum pump. Inevitably, a lot of fluid will be sucked out along with the fat. It is therefore essential that the fluid is replaced, which is why injections will be made under and after the surgery.

There are many kinds of equipment for liposuction. Certain machines use ultrasound to loosen the fat, whereas other machines will loosen the fat through small vibrations from the cannula.

Techniques
The dry technique is an old method, and it is no longer used.

The tumescent technique is a method in which a large amount of fluid (saltwater mixed with a local anaesthetic) is injected into the treated area. Once the fluid penetrates into the fat layer, the fat swells up and become firm, making the suctioning process easier. Although the technique can be done on any part of the body, it is mostly used in areas that require a lot of precision, such as the face, neck, arms, calves, and ankles.

The wet technique and the super-wet technique are similar to the tumescent technique, but differ by having less fluid injected into the body.

Lastly, there is the ultrasound method. This technique requires a special cannula that produces ultrasound energy. This energy causes the walls of the fat cells to explode, making the fat fluent. The fat is then sucked out in the normal fashion.

Many clinics do not state which of the above-mentioned methods they use for liposuction, and it is therefore recommended to ask at the clinic, if you want to know more about the method they use.

Anaesthesia

A liposuction is usually performed ambulant, or under brief hospitalisation, and under local or full sedation, depending on the localisation of the fat, the extent of the surgery, and the technique used.

Side-effects

Temporary swelling, contusions (bruising), soreness, numbness, and burning sensations on the skin.

Risk of complications

There is a risk of infection and bleeding. Poor cosmetic result, uneven or asymmetric surface. Pigmentation changes, friction burns or similar damages to the skin or nerves. Perforation damages of the organs. Excessive loss of fluid, which could cause shock.

There is a risk of burns if using the ultrasound method. The ultrasound method is also a new technique, and there is not much knowledge about the long-term effects and risks of this type of liposuction.

With the tumescent technique, the wet technique, and the super-wet technique, there is a risk of poisoning when injecting the fluid. Tumescent techniques are, however, considered to be the safest of methods, one reason being the minimised amount of blood loss caused.

Healing and recovery

Work may be resumed after 1-2 weeks. Strenuous activities and sports can normally be resumed after 3-4 weeks. It will take between 1-6 months before the swelling has settled completely, and for the contusions (bruising) to disappear.

The swelling and contusions are minimised in comparison to the other techniques when using the tumescent technique or the ultrasound technique.

Duration of the result

A liposuction removes the actual fat cells, and these will not appear again. In case of new weight gain after the surgery, the fat will be divided equally on all parts of the body.