What is Liposuction?
Liposculpture (or Liposuction) is a procedure in which small suction tubes are inserted under the skin to gently remove excess fat deposits.
Liposuction is not an appropriate treatment for obesity. Liposculpture is not a substitute for a well balanced diet, good nutrition, and regular exercise. Obese patients may be good candidates for limited liposculpture, if their goal is simply to improve the shape of certain limited areas of the body.
Who is a good candidate for liposuction?
Someone concerned with the following characteristics:
- Fat deposits on the upper arms, stomach, ‘love handles’, buttocks, inner or outer thighs, knees or ankles.
Who is not a good candidate for liposuction?
Someone concerned with the following characteristics:
- Excessive obesity
- Fluctuating weight
- Concerns with cellulite
- Unrealistic expectations
Dr Oates performs Liposuction at Academy Day Hospital in Perth under twilight sedation and local anaesthesia. The modern tumescent technique involves the infiltration of a diluted local anaesthetic solution into the area treated prior to removal the fat. The advantage of this technique over older techniques is a reduction of bruising, bleeding, dehydration and pain.
After liposuction a special garment will be fitted to the treated area(s). The garment is worn for two weeks day and night, then 2 weeks night only, however it can be removed for showering and laundering.
In the first 24 – 36 hour there may be considerable leakage of excess tumescent fluid, which may be blood stained. This is normal and to be expected. It will be necessary for you to protect your mattress and chairs with a waterproof sheet/towels when you go home.
Normal healing after tumescent liposuction involves a limited but definite degree of soreness, swelling, bruising, and lumpy firmness. A temporary mild numbness (paraesthesia) of the skin may persist for up to 4 months. Most patients can actually see some improvement of their silhouette within one week after surgery. However, because of the slow resolution of post-surgical swelling, the ultimate results following liposuction usually require 3 to 4 months to be achieved.
How long do I need off work?
Most patients take between two to seven days off work, this depends on the amount of physical activity involved in your line of work.
Is there discomfort?
You may experience mild to moderate discomfort. Discomfort can be managed with Panadol or Panadeine Forte.
Pre and post operative care
Your pre and post operative care is managed by our Registered Nurses. This will include pre operative assessment and post operative wound management. You will also be measured for a compression garment at the pre operative assessment. You will be supplied with 2 garments.
Risks and complications
Liposuction is usually very safe and complications are rare, however there is a small risk of complications with any surgical procedure, these may include:
Irregularities of the skin
Tumescent liposculpture using micro cannulas is the least likely to cause any significant or noticeable post surgical irregularities of the skin. By swelling the fatty compartment, the tumescent technique permits more accurate removal of fat with greater assurance that the liposuction cannula will not inadvertently approach too near the under surface of the skin, which could cause irregularities. Thus, the tumescent technique helps to minimise the risk of post-surgical irregularities or rippling of the skin. Liposuction might improve pre-existing irregularities of the skin, such as dimpling or cellulite, but prospective patients should not assume that there will be significant improvement. It is unrealistic to expect perfectly smooth skin. Patients should expect that their skin will have approximately the same degree of dimpling and irregularities as existed before tumescent liposculpture surgery. Ultimately, after liposuction the skin texture should be within normal limits. A casual observer should not notice any evidence of surgical irregularities of the skin. However, it is possible that a noticeable skin irregularity may result and require a little touch-up liposculpture.
Any surgery involves the risk of thrombo-embolism (blood clots), infection, bleeding, scarring, or serious injury; however, tumescent liposuction has an amazingly good safety record. One of the reasons that tumescent liposculpture is so safe is that general anaesthesia is not required. A recent survey (in the USA) involving over 15,000 patients who had tumescent liposculpture without general anaesthesia, revealed no serious complications, no serious infections, no hospitalisations, no blood transfusions, and no deaths. The greatest risks of liposculpture are those associated with general anaesthesia, so by eliminating general anaesthesia, the risks of liposculpture are dramatically reduced. Patients can minimise the risk of surgical complications by not taking medications or over-the-counter preparations that might adversely affect the surgery. Patients should inform Dr Oates of any medications being taken either regularly, or occasionally, including herbal remedies.
Scarring of the skin
Incisions for liposuction may result in scarring, however the incision made for inserting the cannulas are usually less than 2 to 3 mm in length and are virtually invisible once healed. Although you may be able to find them on close examination, most other people would not be able to see them. Some patients may experience temporary hyper-pigmentation (darkening), which usually fades after several months. Some patients may have a genetic pre disposition for persistent discolouration at the incision sites. Patients that have experienced hyper-pigmentation or hypo-pigmentation (pale or light-coloured scars) in the past might expect also to experience it with these incisions. Certain areas of the body, such as the back or upper flanks, may be more likely to have pigmentation changes.
Liposculpture of the thighs, while improving the silhouette does not necessarily eliminate the subtle puckering of the skin, often called cellulite. Cellulite results from the pull of fibrous tissue that connects skin to underlying muscle. Although tumescent liposuction may reduce the degree of cellulite, it is unlikely to eliminate it. Liposculpture should not worsen cellulite.
Although the results of Liposuction are often quite spectacular, it is not realistic to expect perfection. It is impossible to guarantee the precise amount of improvement that will result from liposuction. Patients should not have unrealistic expectations. Although patients can usually expect to achieve at least 50% improvement, it is unreasonable to expect 95% improvement or near perfection. For the perfectionist or for liposuction of a very large area, maximum improvement may require a second procedure, for which there would be an additional fee.
Patients who are satisfied with a 50% improvement would be reasonably good candidates for liposculpture. The 50% improvement is intentionally a vague measurement. It indicates a definite perceptible improvement, but something short of perfection. If a 50% improvement makes a patient happy, it is likely that these expectations will be met. Our patients generally achieve more than a 50% improvement.
Longevity of results
The fat cells that are removed by liposculpture do not grow back. If the patient later gains or loses weight, the change tends to be distributed proportionately over the entire body. Although one can expect some changes with ageing, provided that the patient does not gain large amounts of weight, the patient’s new, more pleasing silhouette is relatively permanent. If there is a large weight gain after liposuction surgery, new fat cells may be created.
I’m interested, what’s the next step?
Your first step is an initial consultation with Dr Oates. If you have a referral you will be able to claim some of the cost of the consultation from Medicare. If Dr Oates decides you are a suitable candidate for Liposuction and you want to go ahead, a booking for surgery and the pre operative assessment is scheduled. The usual waiting time is three to four weeks.
You may wish to speak with our Nurse Consultant prior to seeing Dr Oates. During this complimentary consultation, both surgical and non surgical options will be discussed to treat your concern(s).