One of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures, liposuction sculpts the body by removing undesirable fat. It is a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure that uses a thin, hollow tube called a cannula to remove localized areas of body fat. The cannula is inserted through extremely small incisions (3 mm in size), and then is moved back and forth to loosen and remove excess fat, which is suctioned out using an attached vacuum. Treated areas look slimmer and more contoured, and in better overall proportion to the rest of the body.
Candidates for Liposuction
The ideal candidate for liposuction is in good overall health, but has one or more areas of isolated fat "pockets" that do not respond to diet or exercise. Areas that are often treated with liposuction include the outer and inner thighs, the abdomen/flanks and love handles, the upper arms, the inner knees and the area under the chin.
The Liposuction Procedure
The most common liposuction technique is the one employed by Dr. Wanzel. It is called tumescent liposuction.
During tumescent liposuction, a solution comprising saline solution, lidocaine (an anesthetic) and epinephrine (a blood-vessel contractor) is injected into the area being treated. The solution causes the targeted tissue swell and become firm, which makes it easier to remove via the cannula.
Recovery from Liposuction
After liposuction, patients experience mild swelling, bruising and discomfort in the treated area. Compression garments or elastic bandages are typically worn to help reduce these symptoms as the area heals. You will need to wear the compressive garment for 4-6 weeks.
In general, moving around and walking is permitted and encouraged early on. Walks for exercise are possible at about the 2 week mark. Jogging and more vigorous exercise is allowed at about 4 weeks. At 6 weeks, there are essentially no restrictions. However, Dr. Wanzel will guide you through a customized recovery depending on your exact surgery and how the recovery process is progressing. In addition to the usual risks associated with surgery, risks associated with liposuction include the following:
Risks of Liposuction
Complications from liposuction are thankfully quite uncommon. In addition to complications that can theoretically arise in any surgery, there are a few that are more specific to liposuction. The most common is a slight contour abnormality in the site treated. Due to the cannulas or the healing of the area, there can be a slight waviness to the overlying skin. Asymmetries are possible, but rare.