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July 2012
Liposuction:Weigh Your Options
Dr Kaushik Nandy
 
Liposuction, the surgical removal of fat deposits, can be an effective procedure at any age. But when you choose it as your option, be fully aware that liposuction is neither an effective remedy for weight loss, nor is it a substitute for healthy diet and lifestyle.
Liposuction is the most popular cosmetic surgical procedure carried out throughout the world today. Liposuction, also called lipoplasty, liposculpturing or suction-assisted lipectomy, is best seen as the surgical process of removing localised deposits of unwanted fat from various parts of the body. In fact, it is a superb method of body contouring or improving the shape and outline of the body.

Where Does Liposuction Come Into Play?
  • It is most effective in removing fat deposits from areas that are difficult to tackle or cannot be tackled with just diet and exercise. Some of these areas are submental region (double chin), upper arms, waist, hips, abdomen, buttocks, thighs and around the knees.
  • It is a very useful adjunct in breast reduction surgery and abdominoplasty or tummy tuck.
  • It helps to reduce the bulk of skin flaps used in reconstructive surgery.
  • One of its least highlighted uses but one that yields excellent results is male breast reduction (gynecomastia).
  • It is usually done in combination with open surgery, but it can be done alone too.
If you are considering liposuction as an option, you must also be fully aware that in itself liposuction is not an effective remedy for weight loss, nor is it a substitute for a healthy diet and lifestyle. It is essential to continue with a balanced diet and regular exercise, post liposuction, to avoid gaining weight.

In general, liposuction can be an effective procedure at any age. Older patients whose skin has become less elastic may require additional skin tightening procedures for optimum results. Health complications like diabetes or hypertension are not necessarily contra-indications for liposuction. These patients can undergo liposuction safely, provided their complications are well controlled under the supervision of a physician, before, during and after the procedure.

Recovery After Liposuction
Recovery from liposuction depends on which area of the body was subject to.the procedure and how extensive the procedure was. Pressure garments, which are specially made firmly fitting garments, have to be worn at all times for about three to six weeks after a liposuction. There may be a certain amount of pain, swelling and bruise – it will all settle and heal with time.
Liposuction, when carried out for the right indicators, with proper counselling to the patient on his/her expectations from it, can deliver highly satisfactory results with a high degree of safety.

Procedural Aspects Of Liposuction
  • Liposuction is carried out like any other surgical procedure in a fully equipped operation theatre with precautions to ensure asepsis. Therefore, it requires hospitalisation.
  • Before surgery, the areas of the body from which fat is sought to be removed are marked out carefully and clearly.
  • Most patients will require general anaesthesia. In simple terms, a specially prepared fluid is injected into the areas marked out for the procedure. With it, the removal of fat becomes easier and it also reduces loss of blood.
  • In the next step, small cuts are made at chosen points on the skin. The long and thin liposuction cannula is introduced into the skin fold through these cuts. The cannula is repeatedly moved around under the skin in a to-and-fro motion to remove excess fat. (The liposuction cannula is a hollow tube with holes close to its tip and it comes attached to an aspirator which generates negative pressure. The cannula is used in such a way that important structures such as blood vessels and nerves remain untouched and are safe from any damage.)
  • What is extracted is termed as lipoaspirate and it is generally 70 per cent fat.
Conventional liposuction is as described above. Other variants of liposuction include the use of different types of apparatus such as PAL (power assisted liposuction) or UAL (ultrasound assisted liposuction). They are variations in equipment only; the results - desired and achieved - remain the same.
Dr Kaushik Nandy is Consultant Cosmetic Surgeon,Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals,Kolkata.

    
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