What is liposuction?
Liposuction is a popular treatment today because of the miraculous results that is can offer patients. The procedure is not traditionally used as a weight loss tool, although some doctors have been able to remove as much as 30 pounds of fat from a patient during a procedure. This is not the norm. In most liposuction treatments, doctors are limited to removing 5 to 6 pounds of fat from the body, usually in specified target areas that are resistant to efforts at dieting and exercise.
Liposuction is often used for body contouring, to give patients a particular silhouette. For example, liposuction is a valuable tool that can help patients rid themselves of love handles or saddle bags. These are areas of the body are resistant to traditional weight loss efforts and fatty deposits are perpetuated by the patient’s genetic code. As such, liposuction can accomplish the miraculous feat of getting rid of these fatty areas on a patient’s body once and for all.
How is liposuction performed?
Liposuction is a fairly straightforward procedure. Typically it is performed using local rather than general anesthesia and a mild sedative to relax the patient. A special fluid is injected into the target area to cause the fat cells to swell and the burst, which makes it easier for doctors to suction them out of the body. Small incisions are made through cannulas, which are inserted into the body to suction out the fat cells. Following the procedure the incisions are closed and the patient is usually allowed to return home for their recovery.
Are there any scars?
Scars from liposuction surgery are usually minimal. Whether or not you see scars from your surgery will depend a lot on the health of your skin. Because doctors only have to make very small incisions in the target area where the cannula can be inserted, any scars that exist in the treated area will be very small indeed.
The amount of scarring that you can expect from liposuction will depend on your surgeon’s technique, your own genetics, and your tendency to scar from things like incisions. These days, most doctors use micro-cannulas which are very small, which means that incisions are very small as well. Any scars that result from liposuction procedures will probably not be very noticeable. The scars will likely fade with time until they are nearly invisible, or they will be located on an area of your body that can hide the scar effectively.
Where are the incisions located?
Incisions for your procedure will be located in the target area being treated. Sometimes your doctor will create more than one incision in the target area in order to ensure that he or she is able to reach the fat cells and remove them all using the cannula. Incisions will be positioned on the body in the most strategically appropriate area to allow your doctor to sculpt your body with precision.
Which types of anesthesia are used?
Your doctor may recommend local, epidural, or general anesthesia for your procedure. Local anesthesia is applied to the area of the body being treated while the patient stays wakeful and alert. Sometimes, doctors will recommend a sedative for patients using local anesthesia for their liposuction treatment. The sedative will relax the patient, but allow them to remain responsive throughout the surgical procedure.
Epidural anesthesia is usually used for more extensive liposuction treatments. It involves the use of a catheter leading into the epidural space around the spine. It causes a loss of all sensation, including pain by numbing certain nerves in the spinal column.
General anesthesia is not recommended as frequently for liposuction treatments as it used to be, because this type of anesthesia carries some risks that local anesthesia avoids. Generally, this type of anesthetic is not recommended unless patients are having extensive treatment performed. Patients who are put under general anesthesia may not get to return home on the same day as surgery while those who have only local anesthesia probably will.