Liposuction is defined as the removal of fat from deposits beneath the skin using a hollow stainless steel tube (called a cannula) with the assistance of a powerful vacuum. Liposuction can be accomplished either with the use of general anesthesia, or with heavy IV sedation, or totally by local anesthesia. This web site considers both the benefits and the potential dangers of local anesthesia and of systemic anesthesia.
Risks of Liposuction
Risks of Liposuction must be well understood by all prospective liposuction patients. This web site emphasizes the need to constantly be aware of safety issues. In order to minimize the risk of liposuction, the patient must be aware of the following facts:
Too much liposuction is an excessive volume of aspirated fat, or an excessive number of areas treated. Excessive surgical trauma (excessive liposuction) is dangerous and is an important cause for serious liposuction complications.
Unrelated surgical procedures on the same day as liposuction are unnecessary. Prolonged exposure to anesthesia is dangerous and is an important cause for serious liposuction complications.
Disfiguring skin irregularities and depressions are frequently the result of the surgeon's inattention to detail. For example, if a liposuction surgeon attempts to do too much on a single day, and becomes fatigued, the result may be an inattention to detail, and undesirable cosmetic results. A liposuction cannula is a stainless steel tube inserted through an incision in the skin that is employed to suction the fat. The size of the liposuction cannula can influence the smoothness of the skin after liposuction. The use of large cannulas tend to create irregularities more commonly than microcannulas (outside diameter less than 3 millimeters). Surgeons who do total-body liposuction tend to use larger cannulas.
There are mainly two ways of doing Liposuction:
- Under General Anaesthesia where admission in hospital is required.
- Tumescent Liposuction which is done totally under 'tumescent local anaesthesia'. It is done as an OPD procedure.
- Tumescent Liposuction is very cost-effective because of elimination of general anesthesia and overnight admission in the hospital/clinic. Patients are awake, well oriented, conversing throughout the procedure and are absolutely free from pain in the postoperative period.
- Tumescent Technique eliminates the need for general anesthesia and therefore the possible side-effects and complications from GA are eliminated.
The basic surgical challenge of any liposuction procedure is:
- To remove the right amount of fat
- To cause the least disturbance of neighboring tissue, such as blood vessels and connective tissue
- To leave the person’s fluid balance undisturbed
- To cause the least discomfort to both patient and surgeon
As techniques have been refined, many ideas have emerged that have brought liposuction closer to being safe, easy, less uncomfortable, and effective. The marketing that goes on makes it hard for the consumer to determine truth from exaggeration however.
- Outer thighs (saddlebags)
- Flanks (love handles)
- Inner thighs
- Inner knees
- Upper arms
- Submental (chin)
- Gynecomastia (male breast tissue)
Cryolipolysis refers to the external application of controlled cooling to reduce limited fat bulges.
Diet and exercise
Healthy eating habits combined with regular exercise also help people lose weight. This natural process, however, takes more time and determination than liposuction. Weight loss via exercise and healthy eating carries little risk compared to liposuction.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is both important and vital to one's well-being regardless of if he or she chooses to have a liposuction procedure done.
Liposuction does not significantly improve the metabolic abnormalities associated with obesity and does not achieve the general health benefits (such as increased cardiovascular health) associated with natural weight loss.