Once the poster child for the cosmetic set, liposuction has being getting a bad rap of late. Considered by some as outdated, high risk and limited in its ability to achieve image overhaul, it is important to educate potential patients on the ins and outs of this once-pioneering procedure.
Despite all the negative press, liposuction has proven to stand the test of time and is still an effective body contouring procedure. Morris Ritz of the Melbourne Institute of Plastic Surgery gives us the lowdown…
Lies about liposuction
The most common misconception about liposuction is that it is a weight loss tool. Liposuction is effective in removing localised, stubborn pockets of fat that cannot be budged through diet and exercise to achieve improved body contours, however liposuction is not effective in achieving overall body weight loss.
Areas of little known liposuction
Surprisingly for some, liposuction can be performed on almost all areas of the body – and sometimes in places you wouldn’t expect. Aside from the commonly requested areas of tummy, butt and thighs, liposuction can also be performed on less obvious areas including arms, calves, ankles or neck and jowls (submental liposuction).
Results from liposuction are reliant upon good skin quality, and the procedure is most effective on younger individuals whose skin still has some elasticity, as the skin needs to properly redrape over a smaller area once the excess fat has been removed. So potential candidates should consider their own sag factor prior to undergoing the procedure.
It is also recommended patients wear a compression garment following any liposuction procedure to encourage an optimum outcome. The time frame for this varies but can be around three to six weeks fulltime and in some cases, up to six months at night.
Recent advances in liposuction, offered by the Melbourne Institute of Plastic Surgery, include the use of ultrasonic liposuction, which uses ultrasonic sound waves to help break up the fat, (very Dr. Who) and power-assisted liposuction, in which a motorised cannula vibrates in order to pass through the tissues more easily (more Top Gear). These techniques are among the latest in liposuction technology and offer patients first rate results.
Liposuction vs. tummy tuck
Often patients question if liposuction can be used to treat lower abdominal bulges. In short, the answer is no. Liposuction is ineffective in treating conditions such as excess stretched skin, loss of skin elasticity and changes to abdominal muscles. Liposuction isn’t appropriate in many of these circumstances as it only addresses fat content. In these cases, a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is often a more appropriate way of dealing with these problems.
Patients request liposuction, as it is associated with discreet scars that are usually unnoticeable once completely healed. It is understandable that this has a greater appeal than the prominent scar associated with a tummy tuck.
However, for some patients, liposuction can be combined with a tummy tuck, in order to reduce the length of the scar and obtain ‘the best of both worlds’ from the combined procedures.
Liposuction as buddy surgery
Liposuction is a great ‘buddy surgery’ and is often combined with other procedures to achieve maximum results.
Liposuction may be used in breast surgery, either on its own to reduce breast bulk, or as an additional part of breast reduction surgery to reduce lateral chest bulge. As mentioned earlier, it is often also used at the same time as an abdominoplasty to eliminate excess fat.
So that’s the lowdown on liposuction, however when considering any cosmetic procedure, it is important to consult with a skilled and experienced surgeon to decide which option is right for you and your body.