Our team of experts over at Cosmos Clinic have put a guide for our readers to understand more about liposuction.
At the end of this guide, you’ll have a better understanding of what liposuction is and you’ll be able to make a more informed decision in the future.
How liposuction works in removing fat cells from the body
The human body stores fat (or glycogen) in places such as your neck, thighs, and arms as a result of excess calories. Historically, proper dieting and frequent exercise was, and still is the recommended technique to lose stubborn body fat.
Liposuction was introduced to the medical world as a cosmetic procedure. The primary purpose of liposuction is to reshape certain areas of the body (also known as body contouring) as well as to remove fat cells from the problem areas.
Over the past decade or so, technological advances in the liposuction industry have seen the safety and efficiency of the procedure rapidly improve. Modern liposuction procedures are extremely safe and are minimally invasive (procedures performed with tiny incisions rather than large cuts).
In this article, we’re going to cover the essentials of liposuction and the things that you need to know about the procedure.
The topics that will be covered today include:
- How liposuction works – a look into the basics of liposuction surgery
- What can liposuction do?
- What liposuction cannot achieve
- How much is the average cost of liposuction?
- Preparation for the surgery
- What happens during the actual surgery
- Post-surgery recovery and treatment
- Taking care of your body after the surgery
How liposuction works – A look into the basics of liposuction surgery
At its very core, liposuction works this way:
- A form of solution is injected into the target area to liquefy the pockets of fat
- Small, thin, and blunt tubes called cannula is inserted through tiny cuts in the target area.
- These tubes suction the liquefied fat from the skin, essentially removing excess fat from the area.
The bullet points above are a very simplified description of liposuction. There are 2 main types of liposuction procedures performed.
The tumescent technique – The tumescent technique starts off with injections of large volumes of very dilute lidocaine (local anaesthesia), epinephrine (a type of drug that shrinks blood capillaries), and other medications into the target area.
Due to the large amounts of local anaesthesia injected, the target area becomes very swollen and firm. The area becomes numb for a long period of time which then allows traditional liposuction to take place, minimising pain and bleeding.
Ultrasound-assisted technique – The area to be treated is filled with an essential saline solution. This causes the fatty layer in the target area to expand while also shrinking the blood vessels around it.
A fine ultrasound probe is passed under the skin. This causes the previously expanded fatty layer to dissolve and liquefy. A gentle suction is introduced to the target area to remove the now liquefied fatty layer.
Due to its very gentle procedure, there is minimal discomfort during the surgery while blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues will not be significantly damaged. Bruising and pain are minimal in ultrasound procedures which lead to faster recovery post-surgery.
An example of an ultrasound-assisted liposuction surgery
To have a better understanding of how liposuction works, we are going to use VASER liposuction, an ultrasound-assisted technique as an example.
What is VASER liposuction?
VASER (which stands for “Vibration Amplification of Sound Energy at Resonance”) liposuction is a form of liposuction treatment that utilises ultrasound technology and is minimally invasive.
Minimally invasive means that the operation is performed with tiny incisions rather than large cuts or openings which bring several advantages to patients.
VASER has been in operation for over a decade in providing liposuction treatment to patients. In comparison to traditional liposuction procedures, VASER liposuction is less painful and allows for patients to recover faster after the operation.
How does VASER liposuction work in eliminating stubborn body fat?
Determining if liposuction is the right choice for your needs
The graphic below will help you in determining if liposuction is a good fit for you.
What liposuction can and cannot achieve
- Improve body contouring – Liposuction can help you sculpt an attractive body by removing fat from otherwise hard-to-lose fatty areas such as the underarm.
- Spot reduction of fatty areas – Liposuction is extremely effective in laser-targeting areas to remove fat from stubborn areas such as the lower belly, underarms, and love handles.
- Immediate results after surgery – For those who want to achieve results quickly, liposuction may be an option. The results of liposuction surgery will show in 1-3 months which can be further improved by proper care of the body after the procedure.
- Remove fat with minimal pain, bruises, and scars – Modern liposuction procedures have advanced to the point where they are minimally invasive. This means that procedures are performed with tiny incisions rather than big cuts. Hence, there will be little discomfort or pain during and after the procedure. Bruises, scars, and damage to the body tissues are also drastically reduced as a byproduct of minimally invasive procedures.
- Tighten the skin. VASER liposuction can tighten the skin as the heat in uniform rather than focused (which is the case in laser liposuction) in small areas like the neck.
- Help you reduce weight – Liposuction is not a weight-loss procedure. Liposuction patients are usually already at or near their ideal body weight. This allows for smoother body contouring as well as reducing the risks of the already safe procedure.Obese patients are generally discouraged from performing liposuction. However, people who are obese may look into options such as mega liposuction which are procedures that are specially designed for overweight individuals.
- Prevent weight gain – Massive amounts of fat are removed from your body after liposuction surgery, however, it cannot prevent you from gaining weight in the future.The only way to prevent is that to live a healthy lifestyle in terms of exercise and diet. Quitting harmful habits such as smoking or constant snacking will also help in preventing weight gain.
How much is the average cost of liposuction?
In Australia, the average cost of liposuction starts from $5,000 AUD.
The average liposuction costs will vary depending on factors such as location, the experience of your surgeon, and the type of procedure itself.
It is important to note however that you should be wary particularly if you are seeking out the cheapest deals for liposuction.
In specialised industries like cosmetic surgery, cost generally equals quality. You are paying for the safety and expertise of highly-trained surgeons with plenty of experience.
You should also understand that reputable cosmetic surgery providers are not price gouging; they actually want to change your life for the better – and that does not come at a budget price.
If budget is really a cause for concern, compile a list of liposuction providers that is within your budget and conduct extensive research through online reviews, forums, and consultations to make sure that the procedure goes as well as possible.
Preparation for the surgery
Before any surgery is done, you will go through an initial series of consultations to determine if you are a good fit for the procedure.
These consultations will also help you with understanding what will be done during the surgery, what to do before and after the surgery, as well as establishing realistic goals and expectations.
You will also be given a consent form as a final step before the procedure which is a standard practice among medical providers worldwide.
The checklist below will help you determine if you are well-prepared for the surgery:
What happens during the actual surgery
Depending on the type of procedure that you took, there will be some variance in how your doctor administers your liposuction surgery. However, the basics of every liposuction treatment are the same.
Step 1 – Administering anaesthesia
Anesthesia is used by doctors to numb the treated area as well as eliminating pain. Anesthesia comes in three types:
- Local anaesthesia – The numbing agent is only administered to only the targeted area
- Local anaesthesia with sedation – A sedative agent is administered along with local anaesthesia to keep you relaxed and calm throughout the procedure.
- General anaesthesia – You will be put to sleep and be unconscious throughout the whole procedure.
The anaesthesia of choice will be decided during your consultations with your doctor.
Step 2 – Tiny incisions are made
Incisions made in the target area are usually very, very small.
The incisions are done to allow the entry of the cannula which will be used in the suction of fat.
Step 3 – Breaking down and removing fat cells
In this step, fat cells are usually broken down or liquefied for easy removal. In the case of VASER liposuction, the fat cells are liquefied with the help of ultrasound technology.
A gentle suction is then inserted which removes the liquefied fat from the target area. Blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues are not significantly harmed in VASER liposuction procedures.
Step 4 – The surgery is done and incisions are taken care of
In most cases, the incision is so small that doctors choose to leave it open instead of sealing it. Leaving the incisions open also leads to reduced swelling and scarring after the surgery.
You can ask your doctor for the exact breakdown of the liposuction technique of your choice during your initial consultations to have a better understanding of what is going on.
This will allow for a better experience during the actual surgery due to less nervousness.
Post-surgery recovery and treatment
The length of the recovery period for your treatment will last in between several days to a few months at most. Your doctor will provide you with the information you need in regards to recovery periods.
The infographic below will assist you in understanding what to do to recover after the surgery.
Taking care of your body after the surgery
Taking care of your body after liposuction is one of the most important aspects of the procedure.
Improper care of your body post-ops can lead to weight gain even after the surgery.
Fat will still be stored in the areas that were targeted for liposuction albeit in a drastically smaller magnitude as compared to before.
However, the excess fat that you take in post-surgery will be stored in other areas that have not had its fat cells removed by liposuction. Removing fat cells from an area is not going to grant you immunity from gaining weight in the future.
Hence, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle after the surgery. Liposuction aids you by removing the fat cells as safely and efficiently as possible, but it is your responsibility to maintain that through:
- Living a healthy lifestyle – Take in plenty of lean protein, whole grains, and fresh fruits or vegetables.If you were previously a heavy smoker or drinker, try to cut that out if possible.
- Taking proper care of your scars – The scars that occur due to modern liposuction procedures are usually very small. However, that does not mean you should ignore it. Avoid exposing your scars to direct sunlight; that means no tanning or going to the beach without covering your scars adequately. Scars that are exposed to sunlight will harden and turn dark. Your doctors will most likely ask you to not touch your scars for some time. Touching your scars all the time will increase the likelihood of contracting infections as well as slowing down your recovery time.
For more information on liposuction, check out our resource page on our main website over here:
You can also have a look at before and after photos of our liposuction patients (and cosmetic surgery patients in general) over here:
If you would like to get in touch with our team of cosmetic surgery experts, feel free to drop an inquiry over at our contact page:
You can also reach us via phone by calling us at 1300 138 797.