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Liposuction is a surgical technique to remove fat. It is not an alternative to weight loss; it is a method for removing fat that does not respond to a healthy diet and regular exercise. The abdomen, buttocks, thighs, flanks, hips, knees, calves and upper arms are commonly treated areas.
Liposuction can be performed under local anesthesia, along with intravenous sedation, or general anesthesia depending on your health and the extent of the procedure.
Normally, during the procedure, a hollow suction tube, or "cannula," is passed through small skin incisions and manipulated to break-up unwanted fat. It is then transferred through the tube by the attached vacuum machine.
While fat is removed by suctioning it through small tunnels, the skin remains connected to the underlying muscles. This helps preserve the nerves and blood vessels supplying the skin and also helps to decrease the laxity of the skin. The surgeon also leaves a thin blanket of fat attached to the skin to prevent the cannula from getting too close to the skin and causing excessive rippling or other irregularities.
The extent of the post-operative swelling and bruising is dependent on whether you tend to bruise or swell easily. The amount you can expect varies for each individual but past surgeries or injuries should be a good indication. Keep the treated area elevated, above the level of your heart. Applying cold compresses, or small ice packs will reduce swelling and relieve discomfort. Many patients use a water-tight plastic sandwich bag filled with frozen berries or peas. Regular icing is the key to relieving swelling and the resulting pain.
You will feel tender and sore for a few days to several weeks after surgery. Some fluid may drain from your incisions post surgery. To prevent fluid build-up, a small drainage tube may be inserted beneath your skin for a few days. Antibiotics to prevent infection may also be prescribed. To control swelling and to help your skin adjust to its new contours, you will be fitted with a snug, elastic garment to wear over the treated area for a few weeks. Your surgeon will likely request follow-up visits to review your progress.
Recovery is individual and varies from person to person. After liposuction, however, you will begin to see a noticeable difference in the shape of your body almost immediately with additional differences occurring during the following 4 to 6 weeks as the swelling subsides.
Although you may not feel like it, you should try to walk as soon as possible to reduce swelling and prevent blood clots from forming in your legs. Strenuous activity should be avoided for 4 to 6 weeks. Although most bruising and swelling will disappear within 3 weeks, some swelling may remain for 6 months and up to a year.
1.- Liposuction patient shown before surgery with bulging hips, thighs and buttocks.
2.- Short incisions are made through the skin to introduce the instrument that will remove fat in the shaded areas.
3.- A long, hollow tube with an opening at one end is inserted. At the tube's opposite end, a pressure unit suctions off fat.
4.- The postoperative patient with slimmed lower body contour.
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