The traditional technique of liposuction was performed by inserting a cannula, or tube, into an incision under the skin. The cannula has a vacuum appliance attached to it. The plastic surgeon proceeds to push and pull the cannula through the fat layers under the skin, breaking down the fat cells and extracting them.
More often now, surgeons inject a small amount of liquid into the area before they insert the cannula. This liquid contains an anesthetic, epinephrine to reduce bleeding, and a saline solution to make the fat more like our body fluids. This loosens the fat and also minimizes bruising and other complications.
Some surgeons use a technique known as tumescent or swollen liposuction, which is similar to the basic procedure mentioned above, except that a larger amount of liquid is injected into the area. The larger amount of liquid gives the surgeon more room to remove the fat, further reducing bruising.
Side effects and potential risks of liposuction
As with any invasive surgical procedure, there are potential side effects and risks involved with liposuction. All of them might not occur with every patient, and recovery time varies, depending on health and heredity. These side effects generally subside within a few weeks.
The side effects of liposuction include:
- Localized swelling
- Minimal scarring
- Numbness of the area
The following risks may occure with liposuction:
- Allergic reaction to anesthesia
- Damage to internal organs (punctures from the cannula)
- Skin necrosis (death)
- Fluid imbalance
- Skin damage
- Burns (due to friction of the cannula with the skin or nerves)
Liposuction is not a remedy for being overweight. It should only be considered when every step has been taken to lose excess fat through healthy diet and exercise! The decision to have liposuction is an important one, and all considerations for risks should be taken into account. The best person to consult is a reputable plastic surgeon. Ask any and every question and express every concern. Always get a second opinion!