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Liposuction is a very common procedure that is performed to contour various parts of the body. Excess fat under the skin is removed permanently by precisely suctioning the desired area. The suctioning is performed through multiple, tiny, carefully placed incisions. It is often done in combination with other procedures like abdominoplasty, breast reductions, facelifts, fat grafting and others.
It is not a weight loss procedure. If the patient gains weight after the procedure, the surrounding fat cells will be redistributed and get bigger. Please note that liposuction is a very powerful procedure that can improve the results from other procedures but, by itself, the final results are modest. The final results may not be obtained until the skin has re-draped and tightened around the area that has been suctioned which may not be for one year.
Surgery and Recovery
The surgical procedure is done under a general anesthetic and lasts approximately one hour per site. The sutures are dissolvable. Paper tapes are put over the incision. There may be pressure garments or tapes that may be used from 1-6 weeks depending on the area. Swelling usually decreases in two weeks but mild swelling may persist for several weeks. Bruising is also common. Vigorous exercise and heavy lifting should be avoided for 2-4 weeks. Numbness in the area is common and almost always improves with time.
Scar – The scars are usually pink and bruised for several weeks. They will start to fade in a few months until they are quite unnoticeable. Sometimes, the scars can be slightly raised, wide or sensitive.
Bleeding (hematoma) – It is rare to have bleeding. Occasionally, we have to return to the operating room to stop any bleeding.
Infection – The risk of infection is about 1% but it can be increased in smokers. It may require antibiotics and/or more surgery.
Contour Abnormalities – Depending on your skin thickness and quality, as well as healing, irregularities can develop. Most of these contour irregularities improve with time, but occasionally, further surgery may be warranted.
Seroma – Due to the amount of dissection necessary to do the surgery, the body can produce yellowish fluid collections called seromas that can accumulate under the skin. The drains are present to drain the seroma. However, seromas can occasionally develop even after the drain is taken out.
Blood Clots – There is a rare risk of forming blood clots in the legs that can travel to the lungs. This can be life threatening. Dr. Chandran takes precautions to minimize the risks by applying stockings, calf pumps and possibly giving blood thinners.
Other rare complications may arise and they may be discussed during your consultation.