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Liposuction is a surgical procedure, to remove deposits of excess fatty tissue from specific areas of your body. Liposuction is particularly well-suited for men and women of normal weight, who have isolated pockets of increased fatty tissue. This causes areas of their body to appear disproportionate. These patients simply want to improve their body contour. These localized fatty deposits may be inherited. Typically, they do not respond well to dieting or exercise. They usually respond well to liposuction. While it is possible to undergo liposuction at almost any age, you will obtain the best results if your skin has enough elasticity to achieve a smooth contour following fat removal.
The added advantage of liposuction is that the fat that has been suctioned does not come back. As long as you maintain your weight, your slimmer contour will be permanent. You are born with a certain amount of fat cells in each area. Once those cells have been removed, they do not regenerate. If you were to put on a large amount of weight, then your remaining fat cells would enlarge. Even so, the weight distributes more evenly and does not settle in one area.
Liposuction is not a treatment for obesity. The treatment for obesity is dieting, exercise, and weight reduction. Following that, liposuction may offer an advantage to "fine tune" certain remaining areas of fatty accumulation. Liposuction is also not effective for treating cellulite, a condition that gives the skin an uneven, dimpled appearance. There is no proven treatment for that problem. The most common areas for liposuction in women are the abdomen, hips, and thighs. In men, the most common areas are the abdomen, "love handles", and gynaecomastia (male breast enlargement).
Power Assisted Liposuction (PAL)
There have been many new developments in the field of liposuction, during the past few years. Power assisted liposuction (PAL) is one of the newest and best techniques for liposuction. We use it in all cases of liposuction. It is particularly useful for gynecomastia and for liposuction of the back and flanks. A power source is used to oscillate the tip of the liposuction cannula 3-4 mm at a frequency of several hundred cycles per second. This breaks down and liquefies the fat, so that it can be suctioned more easily. Less force and less trauma allow the tissue to be removed more quickly, more precisely and more evenly, and with less bleeding. This leads to a faster recovery.
Liposuction can be done under intravenous sedation ("twilight sedation"), where you are very relaxed and sedated, or under general anaesthetic, where you are sound asleep. We prefer to use "twilight sedation", because there is much less bleeding and much less nausea after the procedure. The procedure can usually be done as a day-surgery procedure. You can return home the same day. Because of your sedation, you will need to have a friend accompany you home. Liposuction can be performed on several areas of the body at the same time. The procedure usually takes 2-3 hours, depending on the number of areas to be suctioned. Small incisions are made, near the areas to be suctioned. Whenever possible, these incisions are placed within the natural folds or contour lines, so that they are less conspicuous.
Most forms of liposuction involve the tumescent technique. Large amounts of very dilute local anaesthetic solution containing adrenaline are injected into the tissues prior to liposuction. Enough fluid is injected so that the tissues become firm (tumescent). This causes the fatty layer to be magnified, which allows more precise removal of fatty tissue and minimizes surface irregularities. There is very little bleeding because of the adrenaline. In addition, there is much more comfort after the surgery, because of the dilute local anaesthetic, which remains in the tissues.
A cannula (hollow tube) is then introduced through the small incisions and is connected by tubing to a vacuum suction unit. The surgeon glides this cannula through the areas of the body to be suctioned.
After your liposuction, some of the residual fluid that has been injected may ooze from your incisions during the first 12 hours. Therefore, you should put a large sheet on your bed during the first night, to absorb this fluid. This will be provided to you by our nursing staff, on the day of your surgery. On the day after your surgery, you should be walking around at least six times per day, to promote circulation. You should gradually increase your activities during the week after surgery. You can shower 2 days after your surgery (not counting the day of your surgery). Then, you can leave all your incisions open, without any dressings. Your garment can then be applied right over the sutures. After surgery, you will need to wear a compression garment over the areas that were treated, for 4 weeks. This decreases the swelling more quickly. This can be in the form of a girdle for the abdomen, or a Spandex type of garment. Recovery time varies among individuals. You should be able to return to office work 4 days after your surgery. You will be seen in our office about 10 days after surgery for suture removal. Swelling and bruising will subside considerably by 2-3 weeks.
You can gradually increase your activities so that you can do full exercises such as aerobics, 3 weeks after surgery. The area suctioned will be quite numb initially and this may take 6-8 weeks until the feeling returns. You may feel small "bumps" under the skin. These are small collections of fluid, which will disappear in 6-8 weeks. Remember that the healing process is gradual. The final result will not be apparent until about 6 months after surgery. At that time, you will notice that clothes fit more comfortably and you will feel more confident about your appearance. Remember that as long as you maintain your weight, your new slimmer contour will be permanent.
Fortunately, significant complications from liposuction are infrequent. Every year, thousands of people undergo liposuction and experience no major complications. However, every surgical procedure carries some degree of risk and complications. Complications tend to be more frequent if large volumes of fat are removed. This is not generally done. This was never meant to be the role of liposuction. Liposuction has always been indicated only for certain localized areas of fat accumulation. The potential complications of liposuction will be carefully explained to you during your initial office consultation.
There is a huge amount of information available on liposuction surgery. Much of this will be covered during your initial office consultation. At that time, you will also be shown before and after photos of other patients, with findings similar to yours.
The cost of liposuction ranges between $1500 and $4900 + HST, depending on the number of areas which are suctioned. Your $100 consultation fee is deducted from your surgical fee.
Liposuction - Check List
Aspirin and medications containing aspirin (ASA, 222's, 292's, Alka-Seltzer, Advil, Bufferin, Fiorinal, Midol, Motrin) can cause bleeding and excess bruising in certain patients. It is important that you do not take any of these medications for one week before or after your surgery. You will be given a prescription for pain pills prior to your surgery. This may be taken if you have discomfort before or after surgery.
Please shampoo your hair the day before surgery, as you will be unable to wash it for a few days after your operation. It is important that you have "nothing by mouth" (no food or liquid) after 11:00 PM on the night before surgery. Please arrive for surgery at the time you have been given. When you arrive, you will be changed into a gown, given intravenous sedation, and prepared for surgery. The sedation will keep you completely relaxed. Because of your sedation, it will be necessary to arrange for a friend to take you home.
If you are having an abdominal liposuction, then women should purchase 2 snug-fitting girdles, which should cover the area being suctioned. We have found that "Jockey Shapewear" garments are very helpful for this purpose. These are available from The Hudson's Bay Company. They should be quite snug when fitted before your surgery.
Alternatively, in men and women, Spandex garments can be used. These are available from bicycle shops and fitness stores. These should be quite snug, when fitted before your surgery.