Liposuction

Overview

Liposuction is a technique used to remove fat through small incisions in the skin. It can be a good surgical treatment option when fat proves difficult to remove by sensible dieting and exercise. Liposuction is mostly performed under general anaesthetic (though very small areas can be performed under local anaesthetic) and the length of the operation is determined by the extent of the liposuction required. Usually 1-2 days in hospital is required. First, an injection of saline, adrenaline and local anaesthetic is given in the area to be treated. The fat to be removed is accessed through tiny incisions (cuts) positioned near the area to be treated. A hollow tube is placed through these cuts into the fat underneath the skin. The tube is then connected to a special suction pump which removes the fat. The small incisions are either sutured or simply covered with steristrip tapes.

Liposuction should not be considered a treatment to lose large amounts of weight nor is it effective for cellulite, but rather is best suited to treating distinct regions of fat excess. Common sites amenable to liposuction include the abdomen, the flank region, the buttocks and thighs, hips and arms. Smaller sites of fatty excess can also be treated effectively using this technique, such as the front of the neck below the chin, where excess fat can contribute to the appearance of a double chin. It can be used in isolation or as a adjunct to other cosmetic procedures such as abdominoplasty ("tummy tuck") or brachioplasty (arm reduction) or breast reduction surgery.

Frequently asked questions

Am I suitable for liposuction?

What are the benefits of liposuction?

Where are the scars?

Is the procedure painful?

How long does it take to recover from the surgery?

When will I notice the results and how long will they last?

Will I be told the risks and complications?

What follow-up appointments will there be?

Am I suitable for liposuction?

Not everyone is suitable for liposuction. Suitability is a matter for you and Mr Johnson to discuss in clinic, following a thorough analysis of your medical history and a thorough clinical consultation.

What are the benefits of liposuction?

By reducing localised regions of excess fat, liposuction can improve the contour and shape of that part of the body treated and so increase patient confidence and improve self esteem. Patients who have had liposuction often state that the procedure has enabled them to wear clothes that make them look and feel better.

Where are the scars?

The scars from the incisions are very small (less than ½ cm) and are located near the treated region. Wherever possible, even these very small scars are placed in locations hidden from general view, for example, in the bikini line when treating the abdominal flank ("love handles").

Is the procedure painful?

During the operation strong painkillers are administered so that when patients wake up from the surgery they will be comfortable. It is normal for patients to experience some discomfort in the region of the liposuction but this can usually be managed with simple tablet type painkillers such as paracetamol etc.

How long does it take to recover from surgery?

Following surgery, you will be given a tubigrip support bandage to wear. Depending on the area treated, Mr Johnson will inform you how long you need to wear this for. It is normal to feel lethargic and tired after liposuction and these symptoms can last a few weeks.  Depending on your job you can usually return to work for light duties after 1-2 weeks. After your first wound check you will be given a series of gentle exercises to prevent stiffness, but no sport, strenuous exercises or heavy lifting should be undertaken until 4 weeks following surgery or until you are seen by Mr Johnson for review.

When will I notice the results and how long will they last?

An indication of the visual improvement in body contour will be immediately apparent following surgery but there is frequently some bruising, swelling and numbness around the region of liposuction which may last several weeks. The final result can usually be judged at around 3-6 months following surgery. The results of liposuction are long lasting but weight gain following surgery will affect fat distribution generally throughout the body, including the region which has been treated.

Will I be told the risks and complications?

Complications are uncommon following most liposuction procedures. During your initial consultation Mr Johnson will have a full discussion with you about the risks and complications of surgery. If you decide to go ahead with surgery, these risks will again be discussed as part of the consenting process. Fortunately, with correct patient selection and appropriate procedure selection, the risks are kept to an absolute minimum. It is important that you be reassured that Mr Johnson will not agree to perform any cosmetic procedure on you unless he feels the benefits significantly outweigh the risks.

What follow-up appointments will there be?

Mr Johnson will come and see you on the ward after your surgery and will review you everyday throughout your hospital stay. After you have been discharged Mr Johnson will arrange to see you in clinic after 7-10 days to review the wound. He will then make arrangements to see you in clinic for longer term follow-up appointments. You will be given contact details for the hospital and Mr Johnson's secretary should you wish at any time to discuss further aspects of your care or make additional arrangements for review.


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plastic, reconstructive, craniofacial & cosmetic surgery in oxford

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