Liposuction

Liposuction is a surgical procedure that’s performed to remove fat from under the skin’s surface. This procedure targets localized fatty deposits that are resistant to diet and exercise. For instance, patients who are at their ideal weight but have isolated areas of fat that won’t disappear no matter how much of a healthy lifestyle they maintain can greatly benefit from liposuction. Often, genetics play a role in stubborn fatty deposits and these deposits are often found in the abdomen, arms, hips, thighs, under the chin and calves. Liposuction is not an effective treatment for cellulite but it does create more pleasing contours and a lean physique.

Liposuction is not a weight loss tool; it is a body shaping method used to sculpt hard-to-target areas.

Who is a good candidate for liposuction?

Good candidates for liposuction are in good health. They are also non-smokers at their ideal weight. If you do smoke, you will need to quit two weeks prior to your liposuction procedure and remain smoke free as you heal. Smoking hinders the body’s natural healing process and inhibits oxygen intake.

Moreover, ideal liposuction candidates have some degree of skin elasticity. This is needed to ensure that the body can settle into it’s leaner contours. Also, anyone who has struggled with areas where they cannot seem to lose weight no matter how hard they try is a good candidate.

What is the recovery process like?

Following your liposuction procedure, you will be required to wear a compression garment on the treated area for anywhere between 2-6 weeks (depending on the area of the body that was attended to). This is done so the tissue around the fatty deposits that were excised can conform to its new shape.

Some people are able to return to work within 2-3 days while others prefer to recoup at home for longer. It depends on how much swelling and bruising you experience. You can resume your normal exercise routine in about two weeks following liposuction. However, it’s important to take short walks daily to keep your circulatory system moving properly. Some patients report lack of sensation in the treated area but that will subside as you heal.

What to look for in a surgeon

There is only one body recognized in the country and that body is the Canadian Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (CSAPS). Besides being a member of CSAPS, the surgeon you choose for your liposuction procedure must be certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Furthermore, your surgeon must be experienced and have excellent bedside manner. Your surgeon must make you feel at ease during before, during and after your procedure so it’s important that you find someone you trust.

Here are three questions to ask potential surgeons to get a sense of how much experience they have and if they’re a good fit for you:

1. Where did you train?

2. How long have you been practicing?

3. How many liposuction procedures have you performed?

What are the treatment options?

There are three liposuction techniques used. Your surgeon will determine which is right for you based on how much fat need to be removed.

Tumescent liposuction: During a tumescent procedure, large volumes of saline solution are injected beneath the skin, around the areas that need to be suctioned. The saline solution contains saltwater, local anesthetic and minute amounts of adrenaline. The adrenaline shrinks blood vessels while the rest of the solution numbs the tissues in the area, minimizing swelling and bruising. The fat also expands a little, making it easier for removal. Then, a cannula (a small surgical tube) is inserted through small incisions in the skin. The cannula is connected to a vacuum that the surgeon manipulates by moving his/her hand back and forth to remove the fat.

Ultrasonic liposuction (UAL): This technique requires the use of high-frequency sound waves that liquefy fat cells underneath the skin. The waves do not affect the surrounding tissues and are not harmful to the body. A cannula and vacuum are also used to remove fat during the UAL procedure. This type of liposuction can be done in tandem with tumescent liposuction or on its own. Generally, when a patient has stubborn fat deposits in harder to treat areas like the chin, neck, cheeks or calves, this method is used.

Power assisted liposuction (PAL): This liposuction technique uses a powered cannula with an electric motor to remove fat deposits. PAL is often combined with tumescent liposuction and less common than the UAL or tumescent procedure.

Liposuction is a fat removal process but it is not a weight loss procedure. It is designed to get rid of stubborn pockets of fat that do not respond to exercise or healthy eating so you will appear to lose weight but in fact you are only losing fat pockets.

Tummy tucks, breast reductions, face and neck lifts, thighplasty and other surgeries that require excess fat to be removed can be done in conjunction with liposuction.

It is possible to gain weight after having liposuction if you do not maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, most people are content with their new contours and remain active and eat well to avoid weight gain. Plus, once a fatty deposit is removed, it’s almost impossible for it to grow back.

Liposuction isn’t just a body contouring procedure. It can also be used to treat medical conditions like lipomas (benign fatty tumours), gynecomastia (enlargement of male breasts), lipodystrophy (fat metabolism issues) and axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating in the armpits).