What is Liposuction?
Liposuction is a surgical procedure designed to remove excess fatty tissue in a way that allows reshaping of the body. Surgery is not intended as a treatment of obesity, and patients who have excessive weight are advised to avoid surgery.
It is important to recognise at an early stage the limitations and likely outcomes of liposuction treatment. Liposuction is a well established technique which removes fat from selected areas in a controlled fashion, by passing a suction cannula underneath the skin and into the fatty layers beneath. Most areas can be usefully treated, and liposuction can be particularly successful around the abdomen, thighs, knees, flanks and buttocks.
If a very small area requires reshaping, surgery can be undertaken using local anaesthetic and sedation. More usually, when multiple areas are treated, a general anaesthetic is administered.
At consultation it is important that you explore with Mr Kirkpatrick whether the areas you wish to have treated will respond to liposuction. A variety of liposuction techniques are available, including conventional, ultrasonic or power assisted liposuction. Different surgeons favour different techniques, but all are designed to recontour or reshape specific areas.
There is often significant bruising and swelling to treated areas in the postoperative days and even weeks. It is generally advisable to take one or two weeks off work after liposuction, and patients are encouraged to wear firm supportive garments during this time. This accelerates the resolution of bruising and swelling, and can enhance the smoothness of the final result.
Liposuction is a very useful technique in well selected areas where there is good skin quality and modest fat deposits.
In the past, there has been enthusiasm for major liposuction with significant fat removal in single sessions. Mr Kirkpatrick advises a more careful and modest approach, reducing the likelihood of significant complications such as deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolus, and complications of metabolic upset not infrequently seen in massive liposuction treatments.
How long will I need to stay in hospital?
Although most people will prefer to stay overnight after surgery, many patients are able to go home the same day after liposuction surgery.
How long does it take to recover from liposuction surgery?
Although there is some minor discomfort after liposuction, especially if there is a lot of bruising, it is not usually painful. In addition to the bruising, there may be some swelling that take a few weeks to settle, and the final shape of the of the treated area will not be fully evident for about six months. You can go back to work once comfortable, but Mr Kirkpatrick advises against strenuous exercise or heavy lifting for the first few weeks.
How long does liposuction surgery last?
Liposuction results are life long, but significant gains in weight cannot stop fat re-accumulating in the same areas. Mr Kirkpatrick will be able to guide you as to what you may expect to be achieved.