Liposculpture (Suction Assisted Lipoplasty)
Liposculpture is one of the most commonly performed cosmetic surgeries and involves the removal of fat deposits from the body. Among the most common parts of the body to undergo liposculpture are the thighs, buttocks, abdomen and calves.
Suction assisted liposculpture involves the use of a cannula – a small hollow tube – which is attached to a vacuum pressure unit and inserted into the body via a small incision. The cannula is manipulated around the layer of fat below the skin breaking up fat cells and sucking the fat from the body, resulting in significant weight loss and a leaner body shape.
Prior to the insertion of the cannula, a saline mixture consisting of lidocaine, epinephrine and an intravenous salt solution is injected into the targeted area to assist with the destabilization of the fatty tissue. The solution also assists in reducing blood loss, and acts as an anesthetizing agent. There are different methods available to the surgeon, including the tumescent, super-wet and ultrasound-assisted (UAL) techniques.
The tumescent technique is the most common and involves injecting a large dose the anesthetic solution to tumesce (swell) the fat, in turn allowing the cannula to move easily beneath the skin suctioning out fat deposits.
The super-wet technique employs similar methodology however the saline solution injected into the targeted area contains a combination of local anesthetic and adrenaline. The additional fluid assists with minimizing post-surgery pain, tissue trauma, swelling, and bleeding while on the operating table.
In ultrasound-assisted liposuction, larger amounts of fat may be removed. In this technique, the cannula emits ultrasonic energy liquefying the body fat before it is removed by suction pump, thus reducing trauma, blood loss and bruising.
Patients undergoing suction assisted liposculpture will usually be placed under a general anesthetic if significant amounts of fat are to be removed. If the surgery is treating only a small area then local anesthesia may be adequate. If a local anesthetic is applied then the patient may be allowed to return home the same day.
Post-procedure sutures are usually not inserted at the incision. This allows excess fluid to drain from the wound which in turn facilitates quicker healing. Some surgeons may opt for stitching part of the wound thus allowing fluid to drain, or may suture a couple of days after surgery. In all cases, the wound's dressings require regular changing and a compression girdle must be worn over the treated area for a number of weeks to reduce swelling and bruising.
Patients who have undergone suction assisted liposculpture may experience swelling, discomfort, bleeding and a numb sensation in the week to 10 days after their procedure. Side effects of liposculpture may include infection at the wound, blood clots, excessive loss of fluid, and skin necrosis.