What is Liposuction?
Liposuction (also known as liposculpture, lipoplasty ...) allows to radically and permanently remove localized fat.
- To all the evolutionary stages of cellulite, liposuction is the only treatment that directly addresses the fat cells for which there is a large decrease (30 years).
- More recently, injection lipolysis of phosphatidylcholine, an enzyme fat, is the first non-surgical technique to have achieved positive results in certain indications.
- The application of external ultrasound is being investigated currently with insufficient follow-up to say whether this technique is effective reproducible.
- All other techniques (lipotomy, mesotherapy, electrotherapy,...) provide modest or null results, and unsustainable.
- Using very fine cannulas of 2 to 5 millimeters in diameter, and after making all small skin incisions of the same size (generally hidden in a fold or a hair region), the surgeon removes the excess fat in order to refine the silhouette.
- The fat is then removed temporarily replaced by edema, until it disappears: it takes one to three months depending on the locations and skin types, after which we can judge the final result!
- Moreover, the ultrasonically assisted liposuction is a more recent technique used to emulsify and therefore liquefy the fat (with an emitting probe located at the end of the cannula) before aspirating the liquid fat.
- This technique is useful for treating areas where fat is more "hard" (supraumbilical abdomen, back, etc...), but it can involve additional risks specific to the use of ultrasound (burns, skin necrosis ...).
- Sport helps grow muscle and facilitates weight loss. However it does not help with cellulite removal or prevention of its recurrence.
- As for diet, the principal thing before and after the intervention is to be of a fairly stable weight (no more than 3-4 kg of fluctuation) to obtain a stable result. It is best to watch your diet before the procedure if there is notable overweight, and maintain satisfactory postoperative lifestyle and dietary habits.
Important note: liposuction does not make you lose weight.
It allows to reshape the silhouette and harmonize volumes (especially if there are differences in size between the upper and lower body). Liposuction is not intended to lose weight.
Finally, liposuction can be used alone or combined with other surgical procedures (abdominoplasty, facelift).
Why have liposuction?
Liposuction is cosmetic surgery that removes the excess fat. It allows you to redraw your silhouette.
- Cellulite refers to fat accumulation in depth under the skin in certain areas of the body. It results in a distortion of the silhouette: bumps on the outer thighs, "saddlebags", and on the hips, “love handles”, burdened drooping buttocks, etc.
- Fat can accumulate in other areas of the body, which can also be treated by liposuction, although this is not strictly cellulite: the inner arms, neck (diffuse clusters or double chin), cheeks (facial oval), breasts, etc…
- Unlike the fat present throughout the body just under the skin, cellulite fat is very sensitive to diet and exercise. Various medical treatments to mitigate the consequences of cellulite at an early stage, especially when edema is involved with deformation of the silhouette. When cellulite is installed, dimpling appear on the skin (orange peel phenomenon) caused by the first nip and then spontaneously. Medical procedures are so ineffective on fat, but specific massage (endermologie) sometimes used to reduce skin irregularities.
At the first consultation, your surgeon becomes aware of your desires, and after having examined you, he informs you of different options to suit your case (depending on the amount of fat to be removed and the quality of your skin).
Photographs will be made in order to follow the evolution of the treated areas.
What happens during a liposuction?
- Duration of intervention: 30 minutes to 3 hours
- Hospitalization: outpatient (you go in and then out the same day)
- Type of anesthesia: local or general, depending on the amount of areas to be treated.
Before the intervention:
- Some drugs favoring the bleeding should not be taken during the 10 days preceding the intervention: aspirin, anti-inflammatory, anti-coagulants, etc...
- Some drugs can be taken before surgery to reduce swelling and post-operative bruising.
- A preoperative assessment is carried out according to regulations. The anesthesiologist will be seen in consultation at the latest 48 hours before surgery.
- Hospitalization takes place the morning of surgery while fasting.
- The hospital stay varies with the amount of fat to remove.
A full day is usually necessary to leave the clinic, but one day hospitalization (outpatient) is possible when some areas are treated. It is preferable for someone to pick you up from the clinic. Indeed, driving can be difficult after aspiration of the thighs or legs. Sometimes the intervention takes place externally (the patient leaves immediately after surgery) when one or two areas are treated under local anesthesia.
The procedure is performed under general anesthesia or spinal anesthesia. However, very localized aspirations can be performed under local anesthesia. The operating time depends on the number of locations to be processed, between 30 minutes and 3 hours.
It is best to treat in one intervention for all affected locations not create disharmony silhouette.
Following the intervention:
- The time required to retrieve and recover from liposuction is higher the more the amount of fat removed is great.
- There is usually edema (swelling) on the aspirated areas, which is maximum to the 2nd or 3rd day, and can be asymmetrical. Edema then decreases gradually but may last up to 3 months or 6 months for some areas. To reduce this edema, it is helpful to elevate the legs when lying or sitting during the first days. Furthermore, skin massage and lymphatic drainage can be initiated one month after the intervention. Finally, taking Arnica montana (homeopathic granules) before and after the intervention reduces edema.
- Bruising (bruises) present on the treated areas disappear after 2 to 3 weeks. During this period, it is better not to expose the skin to the sun or UV to avoid leaving traces of pigmented (brown) on the skin.
- Fatigue can be felt the first day, especially in cases of severe aspiration.
- It is recommended to take 3-7 days off after the intervention depending on the volume of the removed fat and type of work. However, normal activity is quickly possible.
- Finally, it is compulsory to wear day and night a lipopanthy (elastic compression garment for compressing the aspirated areas) for one month after surgery, during which the practice of violent sports is prohibited.
The risks of liposuction:
- The results may be insufficient, unbalanced, or reveal some surface irregularities (bumps, waves) due to excessive suction. These imperfections can be corrected secondarily, usually under local anesthesia.
The scars from liposuction:
- Scars will be very small and located in a bend or in a hair region from 2 to 5 mm in diameter, which corresponds to the size of the suction cannula. A scar will never disappear, but it becomes all fine and color close to the surrounding skin, which allows it to almost invisible.
- In general, the scars are never a problem for liposuction, since they are only a few millimeters and are usually hidden in natural folds. Two factors are however crucial to obtain the best possible result: a good quality skin and a competent surgeon.
- The results are visible 1-3 months after surgery, according to the aspirated zones and the quality of the skin.
- Any surface irregularities present before surgery will also be present after liposuction. However, due to superficial liposuction techniques can be performed aspirations close to the skin with very fine cannulas This technique reduces the cellulite appearance of the skin (orange peel, hollow, cellulite ...) without removing it entirely. Residual skin irregularities are then improved through endermologie techniques.
- The reappearance of fat from areas operated on can happen on two occasions: in cases of significant weight gain (> 5 kg), or in case of pregnancy. Apart from these situations, the disappearance of cellulite is final after liposuction.
Information Sheet SoFCPRE (Société Française de Chirurgie Plastique Reconstructrice et Esthétique)
Last update of this page : 06-06-2019