Most likely, if you are considering liposuction, then you want to have fat removed from parts of your body, which may provide you with a more appealing, youthful look. This surgical procedure uses suction to remove fat from specific areas of the body, such as the abdomen, hips, thighs, buttocks, arms, or neck. Lipo may also shape or contour these areas. Other names for this procedure include lipoplasty and body contouring.
Liposuction isn’t usually considered an overall weight-loss method or a weight-loss alternative, but you may be a candidate for liposuction if you have too much body fat in specific spots but otherwise have stable body weight.
As with any surgical procedure, as much as you may want it, you must consider the risks involved very carefully. Bleeding, and reactions to the anesthesia can occur, but there are other risks to consider, such as:
- Contour irregularities – Your skin may appear bumpy, wavy, or have a withered look due to uneven fat removal, poor skin elasticity, or unusual healing. These changes could be permanent and may also include damage beneath the skin caused by the thin tube (cannula) that’s used during the lipo procedure.
- Fluid accumulation – Temporary pockets of fluid (or seromas) can form under the skin. This fluid can be drained and usually corrected.
- Numbness – You may feel temporary or permanent numbness at the site of the Lipo procedure. Temporary nerve irritation also is possible.
- Infection – Skin infections are usually rare but possible. A severe skin infection may be life-threatening.
- Internal puncture – Very rarely, a cannula (suction tube) penetrates too deeply and may puncture an internal organ. This could require immediate repair.
- Fat embolism – Pieces of loosened fat may break away and become trapped in a blood vessel and gather in the lungs or travel to the brain. This would be considered a medical emergency and be treated as such.
- Kidney and heart problems – Shifts in fluid levels as fluids are being injected and suctioned out can cause potentially life-threatening kidney, heart, and lung problems.
- Lidocaine toxicity – Lidocaine is an anesthetic often administered with fluids injected during liposuction to help manage pain. Again, in exceedingly rare circumstances, lidocaine toxicity can occur, causing serious heart and central nervous system problems.
It is important to note that most of these risks are rare, but can occur. By consulting with your Boston plastic surgeon, you can get all your questions answered, and your fears mitigated. Also, your surgeon will make sure to evaluate any specific underlying conditions that may contribute to any side effects.
If I Am Going to Have Lipo Done, How Can I Prepare for the Procedure?
Food and medications – Before proceeding, make sure to discuss with your surgeon exactly what to expect from the surgery. Your surgeon will carefully review your medical history, and thoroughly discuss any medical conditions you may have and any medications, supplements, or herbs you may be taking. Anything that concerns you should be discussed in detail at this time.
Your Boston, or Wellesley liposuction surgeon will recommend that you stop taking certain medications, such as blood thinners or NSAIDs, at least three weeks before surgery. Your surgeon may also have specific lab tests before your procedure.
Some patients are good candidates for liposuction, and others should avoid it. By talking to your doctor, you can get the professional advice you need to determine if liposuction is medically the right option to attain your goals.
What Can I Expect After the Lipo Procedure?
You can expect some pain, swelling, and bruising after the procedure. Your liposuction surgeon most likely will prescribe medication to help control the pain and antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection.
Your surgeon may leave your incisions open temporarily and insert temporary drains to promote fluid drainage. You usually will have to wear tight compression garments, which will help reduce swelling. This is also a temporary precaution that helps to heal and may last a few weeks.
It may be a few days, or a week before you should work, and possibly a few more weeks before resuming your normal activities, such as exercise.
During the healing period, you can expect some contour irregularities as the remaining fat settles into position. This again is usually a temporary medical situation.
Are There Any Long-Term Side Effects of Lipo I Should Know About?
There possibly can be long-term side effects of liposuction, and they can vary. Remember that liposuction permanently removes fat cells from targeted areas of the body. So, if you gain back the weight, the fat will still be stored but in different parts of the body. This new fat may be distributed deeper under the skin, and it can be dangerous if it grows around the liver or heart.
It is also possible, but rare, to experience permanent nerve damage and changes to the skin’s sensation. Other patients may develop depressions or indentations in the areas that were suctioned. They also may develop bumpy or wavy skin that doesn’t go away.
So, you must meet with a board-certified plastic Boston or Wellesley liposuction surgeon and discuss any, and all potential complications and risks before the surgery.
I am Seriously Considering Liposuction, What Should I Do First?
Liposuction is an elective, but common procedure that is performed thousands of times per year. It is an excellent procedure and will most often provide you with the look you desire, and the self-confidence that goes with it, but remember, with all the surgeries, there are risks.
Make an appointment for a consultation exam with a board-certified cosmetic surgeon and start on the most correct and safest medical path possible. Wellesley Cosmetic Surgery has performed a myriad of Lipo procedures with precise results and rapid recovery times. Consult with them, and they will be professional in making sure you get the results you want safely.