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Risks and benefits of Liposuction

Liposuction, also called lipoplasty, liposculpture suction, lipectomy, or lipo, is a type of cosmetic surgery that breaks up and “sucks” fat from the body.

It is often used on the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, neck, chin, upper and backs of the arms, calves, and back.

The fat is removed through a hollow instrument, known as a cannula. This is inserted under the skin. A powerful, high-pressure vacuum is applied to the cannula

Liposuction is the most common cosmetic operation in the United States. More than 300,000 procedures are carried out in the United States each year with costs ranging from roughly $2,000-3,500.

Uses

Liposuction is mainly used to improve appearance, rather than providing any physical health benefits. Most people would probably achieve the same or better results by adopting a healthful lifestyle, with a balanced diet, regular exercise, and a healthy sleep schedule.

Liposuction is normally advised only if lifestyle changes have not achieved the desired results. It can treat areas of fat that are resistant to exercise and diet.

When an individual gains weight, each fat cell increases in size and volume. Liposuction reduces the number of fat cells in isolated areas.

People should discuss the pros and cons of liposuction with their doctor before deciding on whether to proceed. Liposuction should only be carried out after careful consideration.

Results are subtle rather than dramatic.

The following body areas are commonly targeted for liposuction treatment:

  • abdomen
  • back
  • buttocks
  • chest
  • inner knees
  • hips
  • flanks (love handles)
  • neckline and the area under the chin
  • thighs, both “saddlebags,” or outer thighs, and inner thighs
  • upper arms

Liposuction works best for people with good skin tone and elasticity, where the skin molds itself into new contours.

People whose skin lacks elasticity may end up with loose-looking skin in areas where the procedure was done.

The person needs to be over 18 years of age and in good health. Those with circulation or blood flow problems, such as coronary artery disease, diabetes, or a weakened immune systems should not undergo liposuction.

Benefits

Liposuction is normally done for cosmetic purposes, but it is sometimes used to treat certain conditions.

These include:

Lymphedema: A chronic, or long-term, condition in which excess fluid known as lymph collects in tissues, causing edema, or swelling. The edema commonly occurs in the arms or legs. Liposuction is sometimes used to reduce swelling, discomfort, and pain.

Gynecomastia: Sometimes fat accumulates under a man’s breasts.

Lipodystrophy syndrome: Fat accumulates in one part of the body and is lost in another. Liposuction can improve the patient’s appearance by providing a more natural looking body fat distribution.

Extreme weight loss after obesity: A person with morbid obesity who loses at least 40 percent of their BMI may need treatment to remove excess skin and other abnormalities.

Lipomas: These are benign, fatty tumors.

The operation

Before the operation, patients will need to undergo some health tests to ensure they are fit for surgery.

The following recommendations may be made.

People who use regular aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs should stop taking them at least 2 weeks before surgery.

Women may be asked to stop taking the contraceptive pill.

Patients with anemia may be asked to take iron supplements.

The individual will need to sign a consent form. This confirms that they are fully aware of the risks, benefits, and possible alternatives to the procedure

Risks

Any major surgery carries a risk of bleeding, infection, and an adverse reaction to anesthesia.

The risk of complications is usually associated with how large the procedure is, as well as the surgeon’s skills and specific training.

The following risks, unpleasant side effects, or complications are possible:

  • Severe bruising: This can last for several weeks.
  • Inflammation: The swelling may take up to 6 months to settle, and fluid may continue to ooze from the incisions.
  • Thrombophlebitis: A blood clot forms in a vein, causing inflammation and further complications.
  • Contour irregularities: If there is poor skin elasticity, if the wound heals in an unusual way, or if fat removal has been uneven, the skin may appear withered, wavy, or bumpy.
  • Numbness: The affected area may feel numb for a while, but this is usually temporary.
  • Infections: Rarely, a skin infection may occur after liposuction surgery. Sometimes this needs to be treated surgically, with the risk of scarring.
  • Internal organ punctures: This is very rare.
  • Death: Anesthesia involves a small risk of death.
  • Kidney or heart problems: As fluids are being injected and or suctioned, the change in the body’s fluid levels may cause kidney or heart problems.
  • Pulmonary embolism: Fat gets into the blood vessels and travels to the lungs, blocking the circulation in the lungs. This can be life-threatening.
  • Pulmonary edema: Sometimes, when fluid is injected into the body, it accumulates in the lungs.
  • Allergic reaction: The patient may be allergic to medications or materials used during surgery.
  • Skin burns: The cannula movement may cause friction burns to the skin or nerves

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