What Is Liposculpture?
We’ve all heard of liposuction, but now there is a new way to remove the excess fatty tissues and deposits from under your skin. Known as liposculpture, this procedure produces the same results as liposuction, but is less invasive. Liposculpture does not use large incisions to suck the fat out of your body, nor does it require general anesthesia, which is responsible for the majority of health complications. It should be known that it contours specific parts of the body instead of completely resculpting it. Liposculpture is relatively new, having been introduced in the 1970s. It’s been gaining popularity in the last few years, but most people have no idea what it is. Here is a quick overview of the entire process to help you better understand the procedure.
Tumescent Liposculpture Technique
Liposculpture mainly differs from traditional liposuction in that it uses a tumescent solution. This is a mixture of lidocaine (a local anesthetic) and epinephrine (a saline solution). It’s injected under the skin by the problem areas. This causes the fat to expand and loosen as it increases in liquid content. The softened fat is then suctioned out using a syringe or metal tube. The lidocaine numbs the treated area, while the epinephrine minimizes blood loss as it shrinks the capillaries.
General Liposculpture Procedure
Before surgery, the doctor identifies which areas will be treated. Tiny incisions are then made (an 1/8 inch long) where the tumescent solution will be injected. After this is done, the fat is suctioned out with a tool called a microcannula, using a to-and-fro motion. The process only takes about an hour, depending on what’s treated. The incisions though are not closed when everything’s done in order to allow the body’s natural healing process to begin. Instead they are tape sealed with a compression garment. After a few days, the tape is removed, but the garment can be kept on for as much as six weeks – this helps sculpt the areas further.
Body Areas Commonly Treated with Liposculpture
These include the neckline, backs of arms, male breasts, abdomen, mid and lower back, waist, love handles, hips, buttocks and knees. Unlike liposuction, liposculpture can also tighten or firm areas of loose skin. There are many areas that can be treated with this technique, but it is important to realize that there are some areas that are better suited for other techniques, ask your surgeon what would be best if you have any questions about body areas to treat.
The Days Following Surgery
The majority of people are up and about the next day, resuming normal activities. Clearance to return to work is given after three days. It normally takes a few days after this to start performing limited exercise. You should consult with your doctor about this. Liposculpture recovery is not easy for everyone, but for the most part, people make a pretty quick recovery and are able to partake in normal activities very quickly after their surgery.
Liposculpture Results Vary from Person to Person
There is a limit to the amount of fat that can be safely removed in one operation. Usually five liters of fat is considered the upper limit. Heavier-set people can remove more, although it needs to be done over several sessions. Liposculpture reduces the chances of developing scarring or bumpy, uneven skin texture, caused by removing too little or too much fat. If it does happen, no matter – a lesser operation can remedy this. Results do vary, but some report noticing differences as early as six weeks after the procedure. Full results can take up to six months. Weight loss may occur, but surprisingly fat is actually light, so you won’t notice much of a difference on the scale. Usually it’s the change in shape that most patients look for.
Liposculpture Side Effects
Patients may experience mild discomfort after the procedure. In the days immediately following, there might be soreness or discomfort. Depending on the amount of work done and your personal pain tolerance, you could feel a slight twinge for a few weeks afterwards. Bruising and other skin discoloration lasts up to three weeks. There could also be temporary swelling of the treated areas, particularly in thighs and knees. Also, if you feel numbness, it will disappear after a few months. Doctors advise patients walk to increase circulation.
Although rare, you should beware of the following complications which could occur as a result to this type of surgery:
-Allergic reactions to medications – If you develop an itch or a rash, notify your doctor immediately. This could be a sign of anaphylaxis, a common reaction to medication, but one that can be deadly if not addressed.
-Blood collections or watery fluid in the treated areas
-Deep vein thrombosis – This is an infrequent complication of any surgery. But if you develop deep clots, they can travel to your lungs and be fatal.
The Ideal Liposculpture Candidate
Liposculpting is seen as a last resort for when fat deposits will not go away, even with diet and exercise. Genetics also plays a role as these tissues only respond to cosmetic surgery. Doctors look for patients with the following qualifications:
-being in good health
-within ten or twenty pounds of their goal weight
-having realistic expectations before and after treatment
Convenience of Liposculpture Surgery
The main appeal of liposculpture is that it’s an outpatient procedure. It can be performed within an hour in most cases (thus earning it the nickname “lunch time lipo”). More importantly, patients can drive themselves home afterwards because there are no pain-killing drugs administered by the doctor except the tumescent solution. Since it is a less invasive alternative to liposuction, many people choose it to restore their proportions. Then, they can “start over” with a healthier lifestyle.
What to Keep in Mind Regarding Liposculture
Bear in mind that the purpose of this kind of procedure is improvement, not perfection. Doctors cannot guarantee results because they vary based on the fat composition of each individual. Those with a genetic predisposition to highly fibrous fat might not see much of a reduction. Also, older patients and those with low collagen levels could experience skin sagging over treated areas since skin can reform over contours. It’s also important to maintain the results through diet and exercise.
Before undergoing liposculpture or any similar procedure, it’s essential to do your research, both on the process as well as the physician who will be performing the surgery. Take note that liposculpture is not considered plastic surgery. Therefore, if a doctor offers it, he may or may not be licensed in cosmetic procedures. To see if liposculpture is right for you, consult a professional to learn more.