Liposuction, also known as liposculpture, is a surgical procedure used to remove fat deposits from certain areas of the body including the cheeks and neck, arms and breasts, abdomen, buttocks, hips and thighs, and knees and ankles. Liposuction is not a substitute for weight loss, but a method to remove localized fat accumulations that do not respond to diet or exercise.
If the amount of fat to be removed does not exceed the amount, body size and surgery, the patient may be under local anaesthesia with sedation or epidural anaesthesia in some cases. If liposuction is performed in large areas or several different areas are going to be treated, general anaesthesia is used.
A small incision is made in order to introduce a 2mm-hollow tube, called liposuction cannula. The opposite end of the cannula is attached to a suction device or special syringe that will extract the fat. The surgeon moves the cannula among the fat deposits under the skin, breaking up the fat and suctioning it.
After the surgery a bandage on the treated area is placed to control the swelling and the bleeding and to help the skin to adapt to the new contour. It is recommended to wear it for 2 or 3 weeks, and then only during the day for one more week, depending on each case. Antibiotics may also be administered to prevent infection. The areas of the liposuction will be swollen and with hematomas and the patient might have a burning sensation. The pain can be relieved with medication. The patient may lose sensitivity in the treated area; it is something not to worry about since it will be recovered.
Healing is a gradual process. It is advisable to start walking as soon as possible (to prevent the appearance of venous thrombosis), but heightened activities cannot be carried out for 2-4 weeks. The stitches are removed within 5-10 days, and it is possible to return to work within 2 or 3 days, or at most, 2 weeks after the intervention. The swelling and the hematomas will disappear in the first or second month after liposuction; however, minimal inflammation may continue for about 6 or more months.