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The ultimate guide to liposuction

The liposuction procedure is getting more and more popular even with young women. Here's all you need to know about it.

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The ultimate guide to liposuction play

The ultimate guide to liposuction

(EBS Plastic Surgery)

Liposuction surgery removes excess deposits of fat to sculpt an improved shape to a patient’s body. It has become increasingly popular among women in Nigeria and so we provide you with the ultimate guide to liposuction.

While liposuction is best known as a fat removal procedure, it is also one of the best procedures to help a patient their shape, also known as body contour.

When thinking about getting lipo done, it's important to remember that just because liposuction is readily available does not mean that just anyone can perform it well. You must vet potential doctors carefully to find a cosmetic surgeon who can perform liposuction safely and achieve the results you desire. These are the 3 key factors you need to bear in mind when choosing a cosmetic surgeon for your liposuction procedure:

  • Skill & Experience: make sure your cosmetic surgeon regularly performs liposuction for patients in the areas you want to have treated. Ask how many procedures he or she has done, and ask to see pictures of prior patients.
  • Board Certification in Cosmetic Surgery: all board certified cosmetic surgeons have had specific training performing liposuction as part of their cosmetic surgery fellowship. Also, by choosing a board certified cosmetic surgeon, you can take comfort in knowing your procedure will be performed in an accredited surgery center.
  • Aesthetic Style: with liposuction, your cosmetic surgeon is like a sculptor. You’ll want to choose someone whose aesthetic sense aligns with your desired look. Make sure you pay close attention to their before and afters.

Risks

Any surgical procedure has inherent risks however, having your procedure performed at an accredited facility by a board certified surgeon greatly diminishes the chance of complications.  Some patients have adverse reactions to anaesthesia so be sure to let your surgeon know up front if this has ever been a problem for you.  At times, there may be infection or excessive bleeding after the procedure and this demands a quick visit to your surgeon so they can determine the problem.

There should be no pain during the procedure itself as the patient is either locally or generally anesthetised.  After the procedure, most patients will tell you that the first two days after the procedure can be quite uncomfortable and should be managed with pain medications.  The amount of fat removed also affects this as more fat removal typically results in more pain.  Patients state that the pain remains for several weeks to several months after the Liposuction but that severe pain is unusual.  Your surgeon will tell you that severe pain is a sign of something going wrong such as infection or a complication that will require a visit back to your surgeon as quickly as possible.

During the weeks following your Liposuction, most surgeons recommend taking a week off of work after which you can return to your normal routine but with a strong caution against strenuous activity.  After about 4 to 6 weeks, most patients will be able to fully return to their normal routine.

As with any surgery, it is critical to closely follow the post-surgery instructions given to your by your surgeon to ensure the quickest and most efficient recovery time.

Tumescent liposuction play

Tumescent liposuction

(Zwivel)

 

Three types of liposuction

1. Manually   
This procedure is mostly done by a plastic surgeon in a hospital theatre. The surgeon pushes the pipe into the fat and loosens it with powerful movements.

Duration: About an hour per spot and about 1½ to 2 hours if it’s done in two to three areas.

Results: Good, but not better than the other two techniques. Your skin could look uneven and lumpy. The results can only be seen clearly once the swelling has gone down, which can sometimes take months.  

Advantages: A lot of fat can be removed at one time, especially in a theatre.

Disadvantages: Because the fat is forcefully separated from the skin and other tissues, there is a possibility that connecting tissue and blood vessels may also be loosened and sucked out. It is not dangerous, but it increases the risk that your skin may end up looking uneven.

Release from hospital: The very same day. You might need to spend one night in hospital if it is a major procedure.

Bruising: You tend to bruise more than with the other two techniques. The swelling can start going down within days, but it could take months before it is completely gone. Bruises may take days or weeks to disappear.    

Normal activities: You can resume your normal activities after one or two days.

 

2. With a laser
It is usually done by a plastic surgeon, but any doctor who has been trained to work with this apparatus can perform the procedure. For the past three years it has been done locally, usually in the doctor’s consultation rooms under conscious sedation. The laser attached to the tip of the metal pipe heats up the fat, causing it to melt.

Duration:  About 1½ to 2 hours.

Result: Your skin usually becomes nice and tight where the fat was removed. The results are only completely visible after all the swelling has gone, something that can take months. Because the tissue tends to get slightly burnt and scar tissue is formed, there is a small chance that the skin surface may be slightly uneven.  

Advantages: The doctor can immediately seal any bleeding with the laser. More fat can be removed at one time than with the manual method. Usually only 2 litres or less are removed during one procedure.  

Disadvantages:  Your skin usually becomes so nice and tight because of the scar tissue that is formed where the fat is removed. To prevent the laser from becoming too hot and the heat damaging the surrounding healthy tissue, the doctor uses a special infrared thermometer, which measures the skin temperature very accurately. The constant temperature ensures that the skin tightens just enough for a positive result. With an infrared thermometer and experienced doctor the risk of unfavourable results is small.

Release: The same day. In case of a major procedure, one night in hospital.  

Bruising: One or two days. There is much less bruising than with the manual technique.  

 

3. With ultrasound 
This is done by plastic surgeons and other well-trained doctors. Researchers only recently found the right frequency at which ultrasound waves need to move (oscillate) to literally cause fat skins to implode – without damaging the surrounding tissue. There are only a few of these apparatus available locally. The procedure is performed in a doctor’s room with conscious sedation, and usually no more than three litres of fat are removed.

Duration: Longer than the manual procedure, but no more than three hours.

Results: Good, with a smooth and even effect. It works especially well in areas with dense fat, like on you back.  

Advantages: Only fat cells are removed, without any damage to connecting tissue and blood vessels. The fat-removing action is gentle. Tissue damage is therefore minimal. The fat cells that are removed may be used to fill up deep furrows or lines on your forehead or along your nose or mouth.

Disadvantages: It is more time consuming than the other procedures.  

Release: The same day.   

Bruising: There is very little bruising and it disappears within days.  

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