Lipoplasty in its many forms has for long been one of the most popular procedures in cosmetic surgery. It belongs to the group of body-contouring procedures, which also includes tummy tuck (abdominiplasty), skin-tightening procedures (arm, thigh and buttock lifts) and muscle enhancing procedures (calf, buttock and pectoral implants, and abdominal six-pack etching).
Lipoplasty is a term that can be applied to a group of operations that are intended, in broad terms, to suck out the excess fat in localized areas on a person’s body. In almost all cases, their purpose is to improve the contour or shape of the body.
In this sense, the term “lipoplasty” can be considered to encompass all the following operations:
- Liposuction. Liposuction is the original form of fat removal. It usually involves the use of much larger cannulae and conventional suction machines. The aim is typically to remove only the deeper layer of fat. As a result, it can often leave residual fat deposits.
- Liposculpture. Liposculpture is a more modern development of conventional liposuction. It uses much smaller cannulae and involves the plastic surgeon suctioning fat from areas much closer to the surface of the skin. As a result, it leaves far less residual fat, and in experienced hands will produce a much smoother aesthetically pleasing result. The suction may be applied either by machine or in a much gentler way employing a simple hand-held syringe (the latter procedure being known as “superficial syringe liposculpture”). By using such small instruments, the plastic surgeon is truly able to sculpt the body in a gentle controlled manner.
The plastic surgeon will adopt whichever technique, or combination of techniques, that he believes to be the most appropriate.
Why do patients request lipoplasty?
Many of our patients have battled for many years either to reduce localized deposits of fat, to improve the shape and tone of their body through exercise, to improve the appearance of cellulite, or with one of many possible fat-related issues affecting their self-image. For many of these problems, Lipoplasty is the only solution.
What to consider at this stage
Before you see the surgeon, it is important to consider exactly what you are trying to achieve from your surgery. In particular, you must understand that Lipoplasty is most definitely not a treatment for weight loss or obesity.
How is lipoplasty performed?
- Lipoplasty surgery may be carried out under either local anaesthetic, local anaesthetic with sedation, or general anaesthetic.
- Small (5mm) stab incisions are made in the skin.
- Anaesthetic fluid is injected throughout the area to be operated upon.
- The fat is aspirated through fine cannulae.
- The operation takes from 30 minutes to 2 hours or more depending upon on the volume of fat to be removed.
- Many patients return home the same day. Larger cases will require an overnite hospital stay for 1 night.
- Patients wear tight support dressings for several weeks.
- For those not engaged in physical work, expect to return to work after 7 to 10 days.
- Anticipate returning to normal physical exercise after 6 to 8 weeks.
At consultation, your surgeon will advise upon a highly personalised treatment plan.
After the operation
As with all surgery, you must expect to feel bruised and sore. The treated areas are likely to be swollen. It will be necessary for you to wear a tight support garment for several weeks. Most patients are able to fully return to their normal activities within 3 to 4 weeks.
As with the great majority of surgical wounds, those related to lipoplasty will continue to heal for more than one year. It is important to remember that the ‘wounds’ in question relate to the whole area operated upon, and not only to the small areas where the incisions were made.
Risks & Complications
Cosmetic surgery is amongst the safest of medical procedures. However, patients must understand and accept that no surgical procedure is totally without risk.
For further information concerning the risks and complications associated with Lipoplasty, please refer to Risks and Complications of Liposuction.
At Consultation, your surgeon will discuss these risks with you.
How long will the results of your lipoplasty surgery last?
Lipoplasty can produce considerable benefits, and these benefits last exceptionally well. The result is permanent, since the removed fat cells will not regenerate. By maintaining a sensible weight, and preferably also by exercising, the patient will be helping to both maintain and even improve the result of their surgery.