Maybe you are in good health and you have worked diligently to get into good shape and have seen some progress, but you still have some fat deposits on your body that no matter what you do you, you cannot get rid of them. If this sounds familiar, then you might want to look into either liposuction or liposculpture.
Liposuction versus Liposulpture
Liposuction is a procedure that removes medium to large portions of fat to lessen the mounds that give the appearance of sloppiness and heaviness. Typically these areas are under the chin, in the upper arms, the outer parts of the breasts, the lower abdomen, along the hips and the thighs. Liposculpture on the other hand removes small to medium fat deposits so that the features are sharpened, accentuating the muscles that lie beneath the fat and creating a sharper appearance along the neck, checks, upper abdomen, calves, buttocks and ankles.
Are you a good candidate?
If you have worked hard to obtain a trim and contoured appearance with exercise and diet and have been unsuccessful, then you might be a good candidate. Other things to consider are whether or not you still maintain good skin elasticity and you are not looking at the procedure as a means of losing a significant number of pounds. For patients who need to lose 30% to 50% of their body weight may not be a candidate for these procedures. And for those that need to lose over 50% should speak with their doctors about consulting a physician who is an expert in weight control.
Why is skin elasticity important?
Removing the fat does not necessarily tighten up the skin. The fact is that there are areas of the body where removing the fat can lead to more relaxed skin. There are new techniques being experimented with and developed that could have an effect of tightening the skin. Using ultrasound liposuction is one method being considered to help stimulate the skin to contract. It has also been suggested to apply laser energy to the area where the heat generated is believed to cause the contraction of the skin. However, if this heat, along with the stress of suction pressure, is too aggressive, there can actually be some skin injury.
Which method should I choose?
The doctor you meet with should discuss their experience with you and should thoroughly analyze and discuss your body type with you. Often a surgeon will recommend ultrasonic liposuction to be used in areas where there will be a large volume of fat removed such as the back, hips and flanks. This method was specifically designed for these are to extract areas. Often external ultrasonic is recommended and used either before or after regular liposuction. Ultrasonic liposuction is usually combined with regular liposuction in cases where the plan is to remove both deep fat and surface .
Where will the operation be done?
There are many places that the surgery can be performed. The operation can take place in a hospital, either as an inpatient or as an outpatient, depending upon your needs and your surgeons requirements. It can also be done at a qualified outpatient surgical center. For minor work, it an even be done in an office surgical center as long as it has the necessary facilities for anesthesia.
How is the operation done?
Depending upon the extent of the fat removal, the patient will be sedated with either a local anesthetic, a local along with some sedation, or perhaps even a general anesthetic. The surgeon makes small cuts at the places where the fat is going to be removed from and a solution is inserted into the area to provide some anesthesia, to minimize the bleeding and the help improve the extraction of the fat. If only a local anesthetic is being used, large volumes of the wetting solution with a high amount of local anesthesia so the surgeon can remove the fat with the least amount of discomfort to the patent and with almost no loss of blood. Since so much of the anesthesia is provided by the solution, it is very important that this be done by a person very experienced in local anesthesia so that the patient does not receive too much of the local. In the situation where sedation is used, and also with a general, less of the local anesthetic is in the wetting solution. For this type of surgery, the solution is used mainly for its ability to constrict the small blood vessels which helps to keep the level of blood loss low. A big advantage of general anesthetic is that it is possible to work on more than one area during the surgical session and therefore is less expensive.
The instruments used to remove the fat, called cannulaes, are carefully inserted just under the skin. It is moved side to side, and back and forth, within the fat while the fat is being vacuumed out of the body. The fat removed is measured so that no more than 3 to 5 liters is removed for most of the patients. The doctor will check the patient for symmetry and when a safe amount of fat is removed the procedure will be completed.
A tight binding garment is placed over the area where the fat was removed. Sometimes it is necessary to insert a drain but this is not common. In recovery the patient will be watched to ensure that they are not dehydrated and that they can pass clear urine. If the procedure is an outpatient, a friend or relative should take the patient home and even, if possible, stay with them overnight.
How do I find the right doctor?
Start your search for the right surgeon for you by asking your primary care physician. There is nothing wrong with asking for the names of two or three surgeons and setting up consultations with all three. During this consultation you will receive the surgeon’s opinion as to whether or not they feel you are a good candidate and they should also tell you whether or not they feel the operation should be done in a hospital or can be safely done in a surgical office. If the suggestion is to do the procedure in the office, be sure to check that the office where the surgery will be performed is accredited for the level of surgery and anesthesia that is being planned. Also, ask if the surgeon could perform the same type of surgery at the hospital. Having hospital privileges demonstrates that the doctor’s surgery has been reviewed and has been subject to oversight. During the consultation, discuss what will be done, how it will be done, and also talk about follow-up. At this time, fees should also be discussed.