Most people who consider getting rid of fat cells by having liposuction are often scared off by the idea that they may be left with ugly liposuction scars. They have heard horror stories of terrible bruising and scarring that used to occur more frequently in older liposuction techniques. Fortunately, a lot of progress has been made in this field and you may be surprised to find out that you can have your fat removed without worrying about significant liposuction scars.
Of course, any cut in the skin can leave a scar, but those associated with modern liposuction are very tiny and essentially invisible. If he or she believes liposuction scars could occur, your competent plastic surgeon will try to locate the incision in a place where it will be difficult to see.
Liposuction today is far less invasive than it used to be, so here are some facts you need to know about potential liposuction scars to help alleviate some of your anxiety.
- Tumescent liposuction – In the old days, traditional liposuction involved making a rather large incision to accommodate a large cannula which was inserted into the skin and moved around vigorously to loosen and then suck out the excess fat with a powerful vacuum. Today surgeons most commonly perform tumescent liposuction. They use extremely small micro-cannulas which make tiny round incisions not much bigger than the tip of a toothpick. Tumescent liposuction also involves the injection of an anesthetic saline solution into the area to be treated which minimizes bleeding and makes the fat easier to remove using smaller tools. If liposuction scars occur, they will be very tiny, nearly invisible, and should fade quickly.
- Breast reduction and liposuction scars – Older liposuction techniques for breast reduction often included additional surgical incisions to remove large amounts of breast tissue. This frequently left the patient with large and unsightly wounds. Microscopic incisions now result in better results and far fewer liposuction scars. The tiny openings easily accommodate liposuction cannulas because breast skin is quite elastic. There is no need for large incisions. If large amounts of fat and tissue need to be removed, however, other liposuction techniques may be required.
- Arm liposuction scars – Similar to breast reduction surgery, older liposuction techniques often involved surgical incisions on the inner part of the arm to excise extra skin after fat removal. As you may imagine, this could leave some ugly and very visible scars. With tumescent liposuction using micro-cannulas, excision of skin is no longer necessary so the chances for any significant scarring in minimal.
- Face and chin liposuction – Because it is a minimally scarring technique, tumescent liposuction is very effective for removing fat from cheeks, chins and jowls. Again, the microscopic incisions leave behind microscopic scars. The incisions can be made in inconspicuous places and should fade easily, becoming virtually unnoticeable. Tumescent liposuction is a good alternative for altering the face because the results are sometimes far more natural looking than traditional facelifts. Many men opt for tumescent liposuction of the face because facelifts are not always as successful for men.
- Laser-assisted and ultrasound-assisted liposuction – When laser liposuction or ultrasound-assisted liposuction is done, fat cells are liquefied by heat, making them easier to remove. These procedures are usually less invasive and cause less bruising and scarring. However, some doctors are concerned that liposuction scars can come from possible burning of the skin due to the heat that is generated during the procedure. Since some of these procedures have not been approved for use by the U.S. FDA, they suggest that a safer option would nbe tumescent liposuction.
- Abdominal liposuction - This type of liposuction usually involves only one or two tiny incisions on the upper and lower stomach area. These liposuction scars heal very quickly and will fade quickly and blend into your skin’s natural color. Most surgeons will try to try to place the incisions in unobtrusive places. In fact, it’s very common today for incisions to be made in the belly button, making them virtually invisible. Abdominal scarring is, however, a big concern with older traditional liposuction and surgeries like the tummy tuck which can take months or even years to fade.
- Non-surgical liposuction – Liposuction without surgery is available using two primary techniques – chemical injection and thermal heat. They can be expensive and are best suited for small fat reductions. But, because they use either lasers or injections to “melt” the fat which is later eliminated by the body naturally and there is no surgical incision, there should be no liposuction scars whatsoever. Non-surgical liposuction alternatives may not be as effective though, so they are not for everyone.
- Skin with darker pigmentation - Patients who have darkly pigmented skin color have special issues to consider where liposuction scars are concerned. You may see tiny spots of darker pigmentation where the incisions are made. This “hyperpigmentation” may be caused by inflammation or excess friction from the movement in and out of the cannula. The darker the pigmentation, the darker the spots may be. These areas may take a long time to fade away. The risk of keloid scarring is also more prevalent in darker pigmented skin. A keloid is a raised or thickened scar that usually extends outward from the original wound. Time may help and steroid injections may soften them, but steroid use may also thin the skin and discolor it further. Both of these issues can also happen when darker pigmented skin is exposed to heat, so patients may want to carefully evaluate laser and ultrasound-assisted liposuction.
- Excessive liposuction – There are some other risks for people who undergo excessive liposuction. Stomach liposuction may cause the remaining fat to become fibrous. This could make it more difficult to remove a second time and subject you to additional bruising and scarring. It is also imperative to choose a skilled surgeon because overly aggressive liposuction in some areas of the body, such as the back, can cause permanent discoloration of the skin or it may cause the skin to die (necrosis), leaving some unsightly scars.
What makes procedures like tumescent liposuction so attractive is that the tiny incisions minimize any potential liposuction scars. However, genetics can be a factor along with your age, your weight, your skin’s elasticity, and even your surgeon’s liposuction skills. If you do end up with troubling liposuctions scars, laser treatments are available to help remove them or make them less prominent.
Finally, if you are thinking about liposuction but are afraid there may be scarring, be sure to discuss all of your options with your doctor. Most people will find a liposuction procedure to suit them which will result in very minimal scarring, a quick recovery, and will get rid of that unwanted fat.