Why is Liposuction So Popular for Body Contouring? Plus: Tummy Tuck vs Liposuction: What do you really need?
Liposuction remains one of the most frequently requested cosmetic surgery procedures in Melbourne and in many other parts of the world. That’s because it has some benefits in body contouring when there are exercise-resistant areas of body fat in certain locations of the body. Sometimes, however, you may think you need Liposuction alone, but will be best off having a combined Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) with Liposuction for additional contouring of the waist, hips or thighs (ask about combined procedures).
Let’s Begin With Some Definitions about Liposuction (Types) and How it’s Done
Liposuction is a procedure that is often performed under a general anaesthetic (i.e. the patient is not awake during the procedure). Then fat is removed by their Surgeon through suction technology using a long, hollow cylindrical instrument called a cannula.
Most liposuction procedures use a ‘tumescent technique’ to minimise blood loss and bruising.
- First, a diluted fluid of local anaesthetic and epinephrine (capillary constrictor) is injected into the fat being treated.
- Thin metallic tubes called cannulas are then inserted into the body through tiny incisions in the skin.
Cannulas for Liposuction vary in diameter, length and hole structures.
- Many different types of cannulas are used in liposuction and your Surgeon may use different sizes and types of cannulas during your procedure.
- The cannula is attached to a vacuum-type device that collects the fat.
- There are different diameters and different types of holes that allow for suctioning of the excess fat.
- Using the cannula, the surgeon makes controlled motions to dislodge the fat, which is suctioned out with a surgical vacuum or syringe.
- The process takes away excess fat from under the skin.
You’ll typically have Liposuction under General Anaesthesia but not all Surgeons perform liposuction the same way.
- Occasionally some surgeons undertake small areas of liposuction using local anaesthesia, with or without oral sedation.
- Larger areas of fat reduction via liposuction are often best performed under General Anaesthesia.
Typically NO overnight Stay in a Hospital is required for Liposuction (Melbourne)
- The procedure rarely requires an overnight stay at a hospital, unless a large amount of fat is being removed.
- Ask your Surgeon about the duration of your procedure and which hospital facilities you can choose from.
Combined surgical excisions and Liposuction are often performed to improve results of cosmetic surgery procedures
Examples: Breast Reduction with Liposuction OR a Tummy Tuck with additional contouring using Liposuction techniques
- Liposuction is often combined with other procedures that involve incisions and excisions of excess fat and skin (such as breast reduction combined with liposuction).
- Sometimes the suctioned fat is then transferred to a different area (breasts or face).
- This is known as FAT grafting.
In fat grafting, FAT is removed from one area via tumescent liposuction.
It is then purified and transferred to other areas as desired; and can help restore volume loss to the face or help create an improved breast shape (such as might be done to enhance a breast augmentation or improve cleavage by a small amount).
Liposuction and Body Contouring are commonly performed in areas including the abdomen, thighs and buttocks, as well as sometimes on the breast area, arms, neck, chin, or upper back.
It can be an effective way to help gain the smoother, less bulky contours you are seeking through a surgical procedure, but it is not appropriate for everyone.
Liposculpture is a form of Liposuction that uses smaller (finer) diameter Cannulas than typically used in broader fat removal Liposuction procedures
- Liposculpture also involves the removal of fat via cannulas (surgical tubes).
- However, in sculpture, the cannulas are much, much finer, sometimes only 1 or 2mm in diameter, and the fat is removed much more slowly, and the amounts of fat in each passing swipe of the cannula is much smaller.
- Often, sculpture surgeons will infiltrate the region with a solution of local anaesthetic and adrenaline to minimize pain and trauma to the surrounding tissues.
- As the name suggest, liposculpture is not as concerned with taking away fat as moulding and shaping regions of the body.
Liposculpture Surgeons occasionally operate with their patients awake (but under ‘twilight’ anaesthetic) and local numbing agents. This enables them to have their patients sit up/stand up or walk around so they can view the body contouring results in other positions. Ask your Surgeon for details.
Liposuction is not the inferior procedure, but it does have different applications to liposculpture.
In surgery such as abdominoplasty (a tummy tuck) or a breast reduction, tumescent Liposuction can aid in removing fat from areas in and around the operative site. This may greatly improve the final result of a cosmetic body contouring procedure such as a Tummy Tuck, Arm Reduction (Brachioplasty) or Breast Reduction.
For the patient wanting a smaller area reshaped or ‘de-bulged’, however, and who is NOT needing other surgery, then liposculpture may be a better option.
It should be noted the purpose of any Liposuction based procedure is NOT to aid in weight management, but only to help reshape certain parts of the body by reducing excess fat.
Summary of the difference between Liposuction and Liposculpture
Both liposuction and liposculpture, sometimes referred to as “lipo” by patients, slims and reshapes specific areas of the body by removing excess fat deposits and improving your body contours and proportion. Liposculpture is done with smaller rods (cannulas) and with more attention to smaller areas.
The procedure also works best with fit, healthy patients who maintain a steady BMI and healthy lifestyle. Read more about how to optimise your chances of getting a good result from Liposuction on our Liposuction page – and be sure you understand the surgery risks, and have a chance to ask any and all questions that you have, before you proceed to Liposuction Surgery.
At our Melbourne Clinics, Liposuction or Liposculpture surgery bookings are preceded by an extensive consultation in which you’ll be given honest advice from our highly respected Surgeons. You’ll also have a chance to ask any and all questions about the surgery and recovery time.
What happens during a LIPOSUCTION consultation:
Detailed medical histories are taken, areas of concern and patient desires are discussed in depth.
BEFORE Photos will be taken for discussion or comparison (so be sure to wear something you are happy to keep in your wardrobe cupboard AND that you are happy to be photographed in, such as a favourite under garment or a bikini bottom). This helps if you proceed with surgery; as you can wear it in the BEFORE & AFTER photographs and see your results more clearly than if you wear something different after surgery.
Day of Surgery
On the day of the procedure, the regions to be sculpted are marked carefully, you meet with your Surgeon and Anaesthetist and you have the procedure performed; then you wake up in the recovery area and if appropriate, you will be released from the hospital later that day (someone needs to drive you home). Depending on the surgery, you may end up needing to stay overnight – ask your Surgeon for details but this is typically an unlikely requirement for most Liposuction procedures.
Advances in Liposuction and Body Contouring
There are numerous different procedures that claim to sculpt the body and help reduce body fat.
These include fat reduction without surgery (fat elimination through warming technologies), and fat cooling methods such as Coolsculpting.
Liposuction and Body Contouring have been around a lot longer than most other aesthetic surgical techniques.
With the longer development history worldwide recent advances in Liposuction and Body Contouring techniques, including cannula size, suction technologies and strategies, liposuction MAY give more predictable results than ‘fat-cooling’ or ‘heating’ methods.
Combined Surgeries & Body Contouring Procedures using Liposuction: Breast Reduction with Liposuction, Tummy Tuck with Liposuction, Neck Lift with Liposuction and Surgical Excisions
Sometimes you think you need LIPOSUCTION on it’s own, but really need a TUMMY TUCK to reduce the excess fat AND sagging skin from the abdominal areas.
Liposuction can be performed alone or in conjunction with other plastic surgery procedures, such as a facelift, male breast reduction (for ‘man boobs’), a Tummy Tuck, Body Lift, Arm Lift (Brachioplasty) or Thigh Lift surgery.
Patients also combine liposuction with facial rejuvenation procedures, including a face lift, neck lift, chin augmentation, nose reshaping and non-surgical skin revitalisation treatments such as injectables or dermal fillers to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
Liposuction is also commonly used in some Breast Surgery procedures to best shape the breasts, such as during a Breast Reduction or Uplift Surgery.
- Although Liposuction (and Liposculpture, which is a slightly different approach to Liposuction) is a relatively common procedure, and has evolved over recent decades.
- It is considered to be a semi-invasive procedure but it is still surgery and all surgery is serious and can have associated risks.
- Like all significant surgery procedures, Liposuction is best performed under strict guidelines in an accredited hospital or day surgery facility for best-practice patient care.
What Results Can I Expect From Liposuction?
As with all cosmetic procedures, results will vary from person to person. It takes several months, and sometimes up to a year, to see final results. If your weight changes (e.g., your BMI changes) this will impact your results. So will changes such as pregnancy or taking new medication that have hormonal and weight gain side effects.
For some contouring surgeries, it can take up to 12 months to see the final results and for the scars to fully settle. This is why many doctors recommend waiting at least 12 months before considering any revision.
How Long Do Liposuction Results Typically Last?
Ask your Surgeon for his or her expert opinion on the duration of surgery results and WHAT YOU CAN DO to sustain your results over time.
In terms of reduced fat cells, our bodies typically do NOT produce new fat cells or get rid of existing ones naturally.
However, remaining fat cells can grow or shrink as our weight changes, even after liposuction.
So Liposuction or Liposculpture works BEST when you are at a stable and maintainable weight.
Fat cells: how they change.
Diet and exercise will shrink the size of our cells but they don’t typically reduce them.
The number of fat cells removed during liposuction is often believed to be long-term or to accomplish a permanent reduction in the NUMBER of fat cells in that area of the body. This is also being researched further.
Factors like weight gain and pregnancy, or medication side effects, however, may still increase the size of remaining cells. And some data suggests that some body types may gain new fat cells from time to time. Like all surgeries to contour the body and reduce excess fat, sustaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial.
The Limits of Liposuction Treatments for Weight-Loss Patients and Skin Concerns
- Liposuction is not a solution for excess or loose saggy skin
- Liposuction is not a treatment for obesity or weight loss
- Liposuction is not an effective treatment for cellulite (dimpled skin)
For loose skin after weight loss, ask about Body Contouring and Body Lift surgery with one of our Plastic Surgery experts at skin reduction surgery.
Please contact us using the Contact Form to arrange to book a consultation with one of our expert Specialist Plastic Surgeons or to speak with our Patient Care Coordinator.
Send an enquiry form today or phone (03) 8849 1444.