Liposuction or liposculpture is a surgical procedure that is used, when there are no contraindications, to eliminate localized fat deposits in different parts of the body, as explained by Dr. Carlos Jarne, Master and Postgraduate University in Aesthetic Medicine (U. de Barcelona), and medical director of the Clínica Toscana (Barcelona).
With the help of this expert, we unveil the keys to this operation of which much is said, although not always with all the data.
In which cases is it appropriate to perform liposuction?
This technique, successfully used when the indication and technique are appropriate, is in no way a treatment for obesity, nor a substitute for a nutritional program of weight loss and nutritional re-education, nor to stabilize weight. In fact, it should not be done in these cases.
However, it is an excellent treatment for accumulations of fat that do not disappear with diet or exercise for people without significant overweight, as long as they have adequate hygiene habits.
Is liposuction a miracle treatment?
Not at all. This technique does not change anyone’s life, but it provides excellent results when it is not understood as a “period and end”, but as a beginning.
It is the plastic surgeons who perform it, but previously explain to their patients that they should not understand it as a license to “behave badly forever”, but as a stimulus to, through a healthy diet, physical exercise, etc., maintain the results forever because otherwise, these results will hardly be maintained.
What should be assessed before surgery?
During the first visit, an exhaustive clinical history (lifestyle, illnesses, medications, allergies, etc.) must be taken to rule out any contraindications or special precautions that must be taken and to assess whether it is possible to carry it out with maximum safety.
In addition, a detailed examination and measurement of the areas to be treated and also of the state of the skin is carried out. It is an essential study because, sometimes, when there is a great flaccidity or sagging of the skin, liposuction alone cannot achieve a good result and it is necessary to combine it with other procedures, such as, for example, with an abdominoplasty or with stretching of the skin of the abdomen.
What does this surgery consist of?
A simple explanation: the operation consists of extracting the fat, after preparing it properly, making small incisions in the skin using fine cannulas connected to a sterile aspiration device.
Liposuction is performed in the operating room, and it is essential that the patient is informed about the qualifications and qualifications of the professional who will perform the treatment. It is also essential to verify that the treatment is carried out in an operating theatre with all the health authorisations and hospital guarantees if hospitalisation is required (in general, never more than 24 hours).
This intervention may be performed on an outpatient basis, or admission may be necessary, depending on the length and type of anaesthesia required. If the amount of fat to be removed is not important in relation to your body size and state of health, it can be done with local anesthesia and sedation. It can even be done, depending on the case, using epidural anesthesia.
How long can the operation last?
The duration of the operation varies depending on the quantity and the areas to be treated, but oscillates between 1 and 2 hours approximately.
What is the post-operative process like?
At the end, a girdle is placed in the same operating room to control inflammation and minimize the risk of bruising. In addition, this helps the skin to adapt to the new contour. It is necessary to wear the girdle for approximately one month.
The patient should not perform intense activities for 2 to 4 weeks, or expose the operated areas to the sun. The return to work can be almost immediate, or after 1 or 2 weeks, depending on the extent of liposuction and the type of work.
When are the results appreciated?
The definitive result is obtained after a few months, although a month later the change in the silhouette begins to be very noticeable.
Are there any risks in liposuction?
Like any other surgical procedure, this intervention can present the risks common to any of them, such as infection or bleeding, and serious complications should never appear, which are extremely infrequent, and in general associated with an excess of fat extraction, and the fact that they have been performed by unqualified professionals and/or in centres that are not authorised or adequately equipped.
With an adequate technique and indication, unsatisfactory results are very rare, such as undulations in the skin of the treated areas, changes in its pigmentation or asymmetries, which may require other subsequent treatments of a different nature.