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It is a cosmetic procedure whereby excess fat is removed from under the skin from various body parts. A cannula and a suction device is used. The most common areas from where fat is removed using this technique are buttocks, arms, neck, thighs, and abdomen. This surgery is performed to remove stubborn fat pockets which do not go away from exercise and diet control. It is used for improving body shape and size and achieves a better appearance.
It is also referred to as body contouring and can be done on cheeks, necks, ankles, and breasts. Liposuction was performed for the first time in the early 1980’s and under general anesthesia. At that time, these surgeries were not very safe and led to life-threatening complications. New techniques and treatment revolutionized liposuction making them immensely popular and very safe.
- Can be performed as an outpatient or hospital.
- Liposuction of smaller volumes is done as outpatient.
- Larger volumes require hospitalization.
- Surgery time is 1-4 hours depending on areas to be treated.
A surgeon makes markings on the skin to earmark the areas to be treated. Anesthesia is administered depending on the method to be used.
A fluid which consists of salt solution or local anesthesia along with epinephrine is administered to the area which requires treatment. Small incisions are made and a cannula is inserted. The cannula is then attached to a vacuum pump which is used to suction out the fat cells when the surgeon moves it to and fro. Once the fat is removed, small drainage tubes are inserted to remove accumulated body fluid. Blood transfusion of IV fluid replacement may be needed if a lot of blood is lost.
Fat which is removed should not exceed 5 liters particularly in patients with comorbidities. Larger the volume of fat removed, higher the chances of complications. It arises from the fact that general anesthesia is used in large removal as compared to local anesthesia for small volume removal.
Bandages are applied to keep bleeding in check. They are left for two weeks. A patient stays in the hospital for a night depending on the volume of fat removed.
A surgeon will take a full history of the patient before going ahead with the procedure including prior surgeries and allergy from the medicines.