What is Liposuction?
Liposuction is a cosmetic procedure which removes localized or regional excess of fatty tissue.
Despite exercising some individuals are left with disproportionate accumulations of fat in certain areas the most common areas being the hips and thighs in women and “love handles” in men. The lower abdomen is also another common area affecting both women and men. Liposuction reshapes the affected areas with minimal scarring. It improves the contour of the treated areas and overall improves the body image. There are different ways of performing liposuction:
• the classical or traditional liposuction in which the fatty tissue is suctioned out
• the tumescent technique (super-wet technique) which requires infusion of large amounts of solution to facilitate the extraction of fat
• the ultrasound-assisted liposuction in which ultrasonic energy is used to liquefy the fat before suctioning it out
The classical or traditional liposuction technique has stood the test of time and is considered by most to be the safest procedure. Liposuction may be used to reduce excessive fat from many areas seen below:
• lateral and medial thighs
• hip areas
• waist (“love handles”)
• upper arms
• inner knees
• chest area
Sometimes liposuction is used in combination with other procedures such as the “tummy tuck” or breast reduction in which case this technique minimizes the scar length of the primary procedures. Provided one does not gain weight, overall the results of the procedure are permanent.
This operation is ideal for those individuals who:
• have no medical problems
• are not smokers (and if they are must be willing to stop around the time of surgery)
• have realistic expectations, positive outlook, and specific goals to improve their body image
You must understand that liposuction is not a weight reduction surgery. If excess weight is the problem, you need to consult your family doctor to refer you to a legitimate weight reduction clinic and/or consult a dietician to improve the quality of your diet. Liposuction is meant to be a reshaping procedure in small areas where exercise and diet do not alter the contour such as the thighs or hips which is usually an inherited problem.
Where do I start?
An initial consultation with Dr. Thoma is a good point to start. In this consultation you will be informed about the procedure, and how this will enhance your appearance. The consultation will include:
• a discussion of your expectations and an assessment of the areas you are concerned about
• a discussion of the various techniques available for liposuction and approaches to your problem
• the expected outcome from this type of surgery and the possible complications
• the general plan for the surgery
At this consult you will be given the opportunity to ask any relevant questions regarding the procedure.
The Evaluation Process
The success of the surgery will depend to a great degree on your outlook of life and your physical health. These will be assessed during the initial consultation and in subsequent visits. The overall success of the surgery will also depend on the following:
• the extent of sharing your expectations honestly with Dr. Thoma
• you fully disclose your medical and surgical history, and any prescribed or “off the shelf” medications you take including herbal or vitamin supplements, alcohol, smoking or other drugs
• your commitment to listen and follow Dr. Thoma’s recommendations and advice
Safety in Liposuction
If you follow Dr. Thoma’s instructions, then you will have taken an important step to ensure a safe procedure. Dr. Thoma is a certified plastic surgeon by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. This certification designates surgeons who have trained in plastic and cosmetic surgery
Dr. Thoma will discuss with you the technique of liposuction used. Together you will identify and agree on the areas of your body you are mostly concerned about and are amenable to this type of surgery. This surgery can have very dramatic improvement in your appearance. The scarring is expected to be minimal after this surgery.
Preparation for Liposuction
Dr.Thoma will explain the operation that you and he have agreed will most likely provide you with the best cosmetic result. You will be given a prescription of an antibiotic and pain medications so you don’t have to worry about it on the day of the surgery. You will be told which activities are permissible and which are not after the surgery and for how long. You will also be educated on the care of the areas which underwent liposuction until you recover. Instructions will be given to you on what to do in the event of an unlikely complication, such as infection or bleeding.
Expectation after Liposuction
The surgery will take place at St. Joseph’s Hospital. You will be going home the same day after recovering from surgery. This procedure is usually done under general anesthesia. A compression garment will be applied immediately after the surgery which must be worn for the first 72 hours to minimize bruising, swelling, and help reshape the contour of the area which underwent liposuction. There is some bruising after the surgery which may last anywhere between 1 – 3 weeks. The compression garment may be removed to be washed but needs to be re-applied for up to 6 weeks for the best cosmetic outcome.
After surgery a compression garment will be applied as explained above. You will be accompanied home by one of your relatives or friends. You will be given an appointment for the next office visit, usually within one week. You are expected to sponge bathe and leave the dressings dry for the first 72 hours.
The recovery and healing process is a gradual one. You are expected to be up walking around the same day as the surgery. You need to avoid strenuous activities until you recover. Full unrestricted sports activities usually resume within 4 – 6 weeks.
It is anticipated that you will notice immediate improvement in the specific area where you underwent liposuction. The final result will be evident to you within 1 – 2 months after the surgery and once all the swelling has subsided.