Liposuction, Here's What You Should Know

Liposuction or liposuction is a surgical procedure to remove unwanted body fat. This procedure is usually done to get the ideal body shape, but sometimes it is also used to treat certain diseases.

Liposuction can be used to remove excess fat in various parts of the body. Usually, patients undergoing liposuction want to get rid of fat on the cheeks, neck, under the chin, upper arms, stomach, buttocks, thighs, or calves.

Please note, the requirement to undergo liposuction procedure is to have a body weight of approximately 30 percent above the ideal body weight. Prospective patients must also have firm and elastic skin, do not have a smoking habit, and do not suffer from dangerous diseases that can affect the recovery process.

Types of Techniques Liposuction

Liposuction is performed using a thin tube (cannulla) connected to the suction device. There are several techniques that can be used in the liposuction procedure, namely:

  • Tumescent liposuction

    This technique is done by injecting a solution tumescent to body fat to be sucked up in large quantities. Solution tumescent is a mixture of solutions saline or salt water, epinephrine and lidocaine. This solution serves to facilitate liposuction, and reduce pain and bleeding.

  • Super-wet technique

    This technique is similar to tumescent liposuction, only solution tumescent injected will be adjusted to the amount of fat to be suctioned. This technique is faster, but requires administration of anesthesia or general anesthesia.

  • Ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL)

    This technique uses sound wave energy to break down fat walls. After the fat melts, the fat will be sucked out.

  • Laser-assisted liposuction (LAL)

    This technique uses a laser beam to melt the fat, making it easier to suck out the fat.

  • Power-assisted liposuction

    This technique uses cannulla special function to destroy fat with fast vibration. The advantage of this technique is that the incision is quite small and does not damage the surrounding tissue.

Indications for Liposuction

Some of the purposes of liposuction are to:

  • Improve body shape, namely by eliminating fat deposits that cannot be lost with diet and exercise
  • Improve sexual function, namely by reducing fat accumulation in the inner thighs, making it easier for the penis to enter the vagina
  • Remove fat on the chin (double chin) or other cosmetic reasons

Liposuction procedures can also be used to treat the following conditions:

  • Axillary bromhidrosis, namely body odor that arises due to the interaction between sweat glands and bacteria in the armpits
  • Axillary hyperhidrosis, namely sweat that comes out excessively from the armpits
  • Hematoma, which is blood that collects outside the blood vessels and is not absorbed by body cells
  • Lipoma, which is a fat lump that grows under the skin
  • Madelung disease, which is a disorder characterized by symmetrical fat deposits on both sides of the upper body, neck, arms, and legs due to genetic disorders
  • Pseudogynecomastia, namely breast enlargement in men caused by fat accumulation, not due to enlarged breast glands

Liposuction Contraindications

Liposuction procedure is not recommended in patients with the following conditions:

  • Are taking anticoagulant drugs, such as aspirin, and taking these drugs should not be stopped temporarily, for example in patients with heart rhythm disorders (atrial fibrillation), deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and patients who have had heart valve replacement
  • Suffer from coronary heart disease, diabetes, cancer, liver disease, blood flow disorders, blood clotting disorders, immune system disorders, or multiple sclerosis
  • Using a pacemaker

Liposuction Warning

Before deciding to undergo a liposuction procedure, there are several things you should know, namely:

  • Liposuction is not the main treatment for overweight, without undergoing regular diet and exercise settings.
  • Liposuction does not treat cellulite, stretch marks, and uneven skin surface.
  • Liposuction cannot remove fat in certain body parts, such as on the edge of the breast.
  • Liposuction generally can only remove a maximum of 5 kilograms of fat from the body.
  • Liposuction can improve your appearance and increase your self-confidence, but it may not give you the ideal body shape.

Before Liposuction

Before undergoing a liposuction procedure, the patient must first consult a doctor. At this stage, there are several things the patient must do, namely:

  • Tell your doctor if you have any allergies to medications.
  • Tell your doctor about any medications, supplements, and herbal products you are currently taking. Patients who are taking blood thinning drugs will be advised to stop taking the drug 2 weeks before undergoing the liposuction procedure.
  • Tell your doctor if you have a history of lung disease, coronary heart disease, heart attack, diabetes, high blood pressure, impaired blood flow, or if you have a weak immune system.
  • Tell your doctor if you smoke and drink alcohol or if you have a history of drug abuse.

Based on the results of the consultation above, the doctor may advise the patient to adjust his diet, stop consuming alcoholic beverages, or stop taking drugs for a while.

The day before the liposuction procedure, the doctor will examine the patient's blood and urine samples to determine the risk of complications that may occur.

Shortly before the procedure, the part of the body that will be liposuction will be marked and photographed. This is done to compare body shape before and after the action.

Liposuction Procedure

The liposuction procedure depends on the technique used and the amount of fat to be removed. The following are the steps taken:

  • The doctor will give an injection of local or general anesthetic, according to the technique chosen and the amount of fat to be removed.
  • The doctor will break down the fat using a solution tumescent, sound waves, or lasers.
  • The doctor will make a small incision to insert cannulla into the skin which contains fat deposits. This fat collection is aspirated with a special pump or a large syringe.
  • The doctor may perform a number of punctures in the skin to aspirate fat over a larger area. The doctor will also insert the suction device from different directions or different angles to obtain an effective suction path.
  • The doctor will place a small tube in the part of the body that has just been aspirated. This tube is used to drain fluid and blood that has accumulated a few days after the procedure.
  • The doctor will close the incision with stitches.

The length of the liposuction procedure varies, depending on the technique used. However, this procedure generally lasts 1–3 hours. After liposuction, the patient usually has to stay in the hospital for 1 night.

Patients under general anesthesia need to be taken home by friends or family after liposuction surgery.

After Liposuction

The doctor will place an elastic corset on the part of the body that has just been aspirated. In addition to reducing swelling and bruising, the use of this corset also aims to maintain body shape. The corset must be worn for 2 weeks, but can be removed when bathing.

After undergoing liposuction, the patient is advised to walk lightly to prevent blood clots from forming in the legs. Patients can return to activities a few days after surgery, but should avoid strenuous activities for at least 1 month.

The patient will feel pain, tingling, or numbness in the newly aspirated body part. Bruising and swelling may also appear in the area. To overcome this, the doctor will prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics to prevent infection.

Bruises and swelling usually heal after 3 weeks, but the body part that has been removed will not fully heal after 6 months. For this reason, patients are advised to undergo regular check-ups, so that doctors can monitor the recovery process.

Liposuction Side Effects

Side effects that may arise from the liposuction procedure include:

  • Bleeding
  • Uneven skin surface
  • Side effects and allergic reactions from anesthesia
  • Bacterial infection Streptococcus or Staphylococcus
  • Damage to nerves, blood vessels, and internal organs
  • The skin in the liposuction area is numb and discolored
  • Hypovolemic shock, due to lack of fluids during surgery
  • Pulmonary embolism, which is blockage of blood vessels in the lungs
  • Fat embolism, which is fat that blocks blood flow
  • Formation of a fluid-filled sac under the skin