Liposuction, also known as liposculpture, is a technique to remove unwanted fat deposits. The unsightly distribution of body fat is usually due to an inborn tendency to deposit fat in one particular area of the body, most commonly the hips. Other areas include; the neck, arms, tummy, flanks, thighs, inner side of the knees and the ankles.
A narrow metal tube is inserted through a small incision in the nearby skin. It is attached to a strong vacuum pump, which is drawn back and forth within the area of excess fat. The process removes tunnels of fat leaving the small blood vessels and nerves intact. The skin will then retract.
What are the consequences?
You can expect considerable bruising which will be uncomfortable and at times painful. The larger the area treated the greater it will be. The discoloration of this bruising will usually last for about a month, but the lumpiness and swelling of deep bruising can take up to six months to disappear.
As swelling can take a long time to settle you may not see the full benefit of the operation for up to six months. Rarely, a greyish stripe can discolour the skin for several months. If you have a tendency to be anaemic, or if you were to have a large area treated, you may need to take iron tablets for a month. You can expect some numbness in the treated skin, which lasts for several months.
What are the limitations?
It is important for you to understand that liposuction is not a treatment for obesity. The amount of fat that can be removed from a localised area is limited by what are safe (maximum of 3 litres) and a natural limitation when no further fat can be removed. Therefore it may not be possible to slim down an area as much as you might like. Further treatments may be carried out in the same area after six months. In certain situations the skin is inelastic and loose. Liposuction in these areas will then tend to leave the skin more loose and it may be recommended that a skin excision be carried out to correct this, either at the same time as the liposuction, or as a second procedure. This is most likely in the abdomen, after pregnancy or weight loss, the buttocks or the neck. Dimples and wrinkles of the skin, sometimes called cellulite will not be improved by liposuction.