The tissues which maintain the energy balance in our bodies are the fat cells. These cells are located both under the skin and in the abdomen as protective buffers. In addition to their function of protecting the organs, they also secrete certain hormones. Over-enlarged fat tissue leads to negative impacts regarding health and beauty. While enlarged abdominal fat tissue causes heart and lung disorders, the fat tissue under the skin contributes to a improportionate physical appearance.
While the fat cells increase in number until adolescence, they only get enlarged during adulthood. As a person puts on and loses weight, the fat cells enlarge and shrink. With the method of liposuction, the fat tissues under the skin are decreased in number by vacuuming and the fat cells that you cannot get rid of by diets or exercise are permanently removed.
What is liposuction?
Liposuction is a procedure which permanently removes fat from the body by vacuuming. Although it cannot be considered as a substitute for dieting and exercising, liposuction can enable the removal of fat from the tough regions of the body which do not respond to classical methods of losing weight. Nowadays, liposuction is among those procedures most frequently performed by plastic surgeons.
I hear a number of words similar to liposuction such as lipolysis, liposhaping and laser liposuction. How do these methods differ?
Lipolysis is performed by using certain mesotherapy medications. As it breaks a very limited number of fat cells, it can never be a substitute for liposuction. With the method of liposhaping, an amount of fat abstracted from excessive-fat areas by liposuction is transferred to low-fat areas by fat injection. In this way, fat is removed and the body is recontoured by filling. Liposhaping is among the methods which yield the best results.
In laser liposuction, fat cells are broken by laser power and they are vacuumed out by the classical method. The most important advantage of this method is that it ensures tightening of loose skin in such patients.
Who are the best candidates for liposuction?
Those people of normal or 10% heavier than their normal weight and who have a firm and elastic skin structure but have too much fat accumulation in certain regions of their bodies, are the best candidates for liposuction. Anybody in good physical health is eligible for this procedure. Your age is not a significant issue; nevertheless, elasticity of the skin may decline with old age and the old patients may not achieve the same results as the young patients who have tighter skin.
On which regions of the body is liposuction performed?
Liposuction can be performed on any region with fat accumulation. Liposuction helps to contour many regions of the body including abdomen, hips, thighs, knees, upper arms, chin, cheeks and neck.
What is the maximum amount of fat that can be removed with liposuction?
The amount of fat removed with liposuction should not exceed 10% of the patient’s weight. For example, a person weighing 60 kilos should have a maximum of 6 liters removed. However, it should be noted that liposuction is not a method of losing weight. For this reason, we prefer not to go beyond the safe range of 2 to 5 liters.
Should I maintain a diet or exercise before undergoing liposuction?
Before undergoing liposuction, it is important that you reach the most convenient weight that you can maintain. If you have lost weight by maintaining a heavy exercise schedule and a diet, and worry that you will put on weight again, there will a negative impact on the results of liposuction if you put on weight.
Should I be cautious about anything before the operation?
If you have been taking anticoagulants before the operation, you should inform us about it on the first meeting and discontinue those medications. In order to accelerate the recovery process, you should quit smoking before the operation.
Is liposuction an operation? Will I have it in the surgery room?
Like any other aesthetic surgery operation, liposuction is performed in the surgery room at a general hospital.
Will I need to be anesthetized for liposuction?
If fat will be removed from limited regions in the body, local anesthesia can be used to anesthetize the affected region; besides, intravenous sedation (injection of a tranquilizer into the vein) can be applied in combination with local anesthesia in order to make you more relaxed during the procedure.
If high amounts of fat will be removed from more than 2 regions, the procedure is performed under general anesthesia.
Is liposuction a risky operation?
Although it is quite a simple procedure, liposuction bears certain risks like any other surgical operation. However, as long as the patient is eligible for the operation, the surgery room features the necessary equipment, and the physician has experience regarding the procedure, liposuction is a safe procedure.
How long does liposuction take?
The length of time necessary for liposuction varies significantly depending on the dimensions of the relevant region, the amount of fat abstracted, the type of anesthesia and the technique used. For instance, if fat is being removed from a small region, the procedure can be completed in half an hour. Otherwise, if liposuction is being performed from the whole abdomen, hips and back at the same time, it will take an average of 2 hours.
What kind of a procedure is performed during liposuction?
In liposuction, a small cannula (a hollow tube) is inserted in the body through a small incision of 1-2 mm made on the skin, and then the fat beneath the skin is abstracted through this cannula by vacuum power. The sucking power on the tip of the cannula may be supplied from a vacuum pump or a large injector. A medicated fluid is administered intravenously before the removal of fat. The mixture consisting of intravenous saline solution, lidocaine (a local anesthetic) and epinephrine (a medicine that causes the shrinking of blood vessels) enables the easier removal of the fat tissue, reduces bleeding and maintains the efficacy of anesthesia during and after the surgery. Fluid injection also contributes to less bruising after the surgery.
Will I need to stay in the hospital after the surgery?
Depending on the extent of the region from which fat will be removed, you may need to stay in the hospital for a night. However, patients generally feel good enough to leave the hospital in a few hours.
Is liposuction a painful procedure?
Thanks to the new techniques, we quite rarely encounter such conditions as pain, burning sensation, swelling, bleeding and temporary numbness.
Will I need to use a compression garment after the operation?
You need to wear an elastic compression garment that exactly fits the operation for a few weeks in order to prevent edema (tissue swelling) and to help your skin fit better with its new contours. In order to prevent infections, you will receive an antibiotic medicine and a pain killer.
Should I be cautious about anything after the operation?
During the days and weeks following the surgery, it is a normal situation if you feel a little nervous or depressed as a natural result of the operation you have undergone. But such negative feelings will disappear as you start to look and feel better.
How long will it take for me to resume my daily life after the operation?
Recovery is a gradual process. You will be recommended to walk as soon as possible in order to prevent swelling and clotting in your legs. You will start to feel better in a week and you will be able to work a few days after the surgery.
As your body will still be in the recovery process, you should avoid challenging activities for about 1 month. Bruises and swellings generally disappear in three weeks.
What kinds of adverse situations may I experience after the operation?
Although rare, complications may arise after the surgery. The risk increases if a high number of regions are treated in a single session or if the operation site is large. The length of time needed to remove a high amount of fat and fluid may be longer compared to a less extensive operation.
Will liposuction leave operation scars?
The operation scars caused by liposuction are minor in size and they are ensured to be in those sites of the body which are not easily visible.
Does fat reaccumulate in those regions of the body where liposuction is performed?
There are a definite number of fat cells in human body. The reason of the deformation of the body is the enlargement of fat cells rather than an increase in their number. The number of fat cells is decreased in the liposuction site and this site is rendered proportional with other parts of the body, therefore over-accumulation of fat is not possible in these sites.
May an undesirable appearance arise after liposuction in the region of fat removal?
Although rare, some defects in appearance may be encountered after liposuction. Skin surface may lose its regularity, there may be some asymmetries, and sagging may occur –especially in old patients. Loss of sensation and pigmentation (coloration) may arise. In some cases, an additional surgical intervention may be necessary for these problems.
What kind of a change will I achieve in my body with liposuction?
There will be a visible change in the shape of your body immediately after the operation. Since the swellings will disappear to a large extent in approximately 4 to 6 weeks, the improvement will actually be apparent after this period of time. Approximately after three months, the slight swellings generally disappear, too, and the final form (contour) is achieved only then.
How can I maintain the appearance I achieve with liposuction?
A healthy diet and regular exercise will help you maintain your new contour more easily. If you have realistic expectations, you will probably be highly satisfied with the result. You will realize that your clothes will look better on you and you will be happy with your body appearance.