There is a layer of fat under the skin on every part of the body. Fat serves as a cushion and insulation as well as storage of extra calories we eat. There is also fat around our intestines and in our internal organs which is called “central fat”.
Liposuction at this time of our technology removes only the fat under the skin and none of the central fat which is surrounded by many blood vessels and delicate internal organs.
The most common areas of liposuction are the abdomen, waist, hips and thighs. Just about any other part of the body with excessive fat can be liposuctioned. There is not much blood lost when the “tumescent” technique is used. Dilute numbing medicine with a very small amount of adrenaline shrinks the blood vessels of the skin and fat so that liposuction can be done with very little blood loss. Patients can have it done with intravenous (IV) sedation and local anesthesia. The fat is sucked out through holes that are 5mm and placed strategically where they are hard to see after a few months.
Postoperatively a compression garment needs to be worn for4-6 weeks. There is a lot of liquid discharging from the small holes the first few days. Bruising and swelling is normal and takes several weeks to disappear. Patients are advised to keep moving rather than laying down for prolonged periods.
The use of ultrasound to break up the fat and fibrous tissue before sucking it out is very helpful. The ultrasound not only helps break up tougher tissue but also helps shrink the loose skin. Care must be taken to not leave ripples under the skin.
The fat that is removed does not grow back just like the breast removed for cancer does not grow back. However, there are fat cells that remain which can grow bigger if the patient puts on weight. But the weight gain after liposuction is proportionately over the whole body, not just in the area that had the liposuction done.
Most patients are satisfied with liposuction and it is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in the world.