Liposuction

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Definition, principles and objectives

Liposuction is a procedure developed in 1977 by Yves-Gerard Illouz, allowing suction of excess of fat, via the introduction very small blunt, foam cannulae through minute incisions made in various parts of the body. These cannulae are connected to a closed circuit in which a negative pressure is created, causing the fat to be sucked out of the body. This is a non-traumatic suction of redundant fat in the fat cells such that it minimizes the ability of the fat cells (adipocyctes), to re-expand, or to overpopulate.

Contrary to popular myths, liposuction is not a treatment of obesity. Nor is it a weight loss method. It is not a procedure designed to control the weight of the patient. Liposuction is only resorted to, when the localized fat deposits in a patient’s body do not disappear, despite a diet or exercise. Therefore, liposuction will not serve the patient, unless followed by healthy changes in diet and lifestyle.

Liposuction can be performed on various body regions - "saddlebags" (on thigh and hip area), abdomen, thighs, knees, calves, ankles and arms. Modern technological advances now make it possible to extend liposuction to chin and face. A well-performed superficial liposuction technique, through the use of very fine cannulae, can not only avoid trauma to the skin, but also actually improve its appearance because of the retraction method it employs for the fat suction.  

However, despite the fact that it is now quite a common and well-established procedure, Liposuction is still a surgery requiring a competent and knowledgeable surgeon. Liposuction procedures are not covered by health insurance.

Before surgery

The surgeon makes a pre-surgical assessment. An anesthetist will be consulted at least 48 hours before surgery.

Tobacco, although not specifically contra-indicated, is best avoided given its adverse effect on the healing of wounds. Any medication containing aspirin should be stopped 10 days prior to surgery. Depending on the type of anesthesia that will be used, the patient may be prescribed fasting for 6 hours prior to surgery.

Anesthesia

Liposuction can be performed either under local anesthesia, partial anesthesia, regional anesthesia (epidural or spinal anesthesia) or general anesthesia.

The surgeon and the anesthetist, after discussing with the patient, will decide on the best type of anesthesia to be administered for the procedure.

Procedure

Each surgeon has his or her own unique technique designed to yield the best result under the circumstance, but in general, the following general framework is followed:

  • Short, discreet incisions (about 3 - 4 mm) – most often hidden in the natural creases of the skin.

  • Usage of cannulae, a lattice of fine tubes under the skin, which help avoid the blood vessels and nerves. (For both superficial and deep fat suctioning).

  • Adaption of the quantity of fat suctioned, to the quality of the skin overlay, which in turn determines the effectiveness of the treatment.

The duration of the procedure is a function of the amount of fat to be extracted and the number of locations to be treated. It can vary from 20 minutes to 3 hours (on an average 1 - 2 hours).

Recovery

The duration of hospitalization depends upon the amount of fat to be extracted. It may be very short – a few hours in case of very minor liposuction (carried out under local anesthesia), or even 1-2 days in more serious cases where the procedure is performed under general anesthesia. Post surgery, the patient’s body is wrapped in a modeling bandage, held in place by elastic bands (but not like the type used in a panty or a stocking).

Recovery time is proportional to the amount of fat extracted. There may be some ecchymosis (blue bruising) and edema (swelling) in the treated areas. These will subside within 10 to 20 days of surgery. Although the usage of fine cannulae ensures that the post-surgical pain is minimal, the actual level of pain experienced varies from person to person. The patient may experience fatigue in the first few days, especially in cases where a significant amount of fat is removed from the body. Wearing an elastic compression garment is recommended for 2 to 4 weeks. It’s best to avoid exposing the treated areas to sunlight and UV rays for at least 3 weeks. The changes are not fully visible until the first 2 to 3 weeks are up. This is because of the post-surgical edema in the early stages of recovery. Normal activity can be resumed 3-6 days after surgery, once again depending on the extent of liposuction and the rigor demanded by the activity.


Results

The full extent of results is tangible after about 6 months of the surgery. This procedure usually yields excellent results. An appreciable shrinkage of skin accompanies the actual reduction of fat, thereby recontouring and sculpting the body. It’s best to remember that the goal here is to expect improvements, not perfection. With realistic expectations, a patient is able to enjoy fantastic benefits from the treatment.

 

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Docteur Dany GZAÏEL - Cosmetic & Aesthetic Surgery

Doctor Dany GZAÏEL - Cosmetic & Aesthetic Surgery 

18, Rue de Magdebourg
 75116  PARIS - FRANCE
Tél : +33 1 45 05 26 16

Fax : +33 1 46 21 85 42-docteurgzaiel@free.fr