What is Liposuction?
The first step towards liposuction surgery is a consultation with Dr. Ortega in Melbourne. You will have the opportunity to talk about your problem areas and what your ideal outcome for the procedure would be. Dr. Ortega will then examine you and evaluate the extent of the fat deposits as well as your skin elasticity to determine what can be accomplished. He will explain the procedure to you in detail and help you choose between the various options available.
There are a number of different liposuction techniques available, and many of them can be combined. In addition to the tumescent liposuction, which is the standard form and involves injecting a solution to constrict blood vessels to minimize bleeding, you may be a candidate for ultrasound-assisted liposuction, or UAL. This uses a special handpiece to transmit ultrasound waves that help to break up fat and make it easier to remove. UAL allows larger quantities of thick, dense fat to be removed, so it is a good option for patients with larger fat deposits and for male patients who tend to have denser fat.
Laser-assisted liposuction such as Smartlipo is also a popular option. The use of lasers during the procedure also helps to break up fat, and it can help to tighten the skin while the fat is being removed. This makes it a good option for patients with lower skin elasticity who wish to avoid a tummy tuck if possible.
Once you’ve gone over your options, Dr. Ortega will also discuss the steps you can take to minimize risks of the procedure beforehand, as well as the aftercare that will be necessary post-surgery.
Liposuction is normally done under either general anesthesia or local anesthesia with a sedative, but it can occasionally be done with just a local anesthetic if the procedure will be very minimal.
After the anesthesia is complete, Dr. Ortega will draw on your skin to diagram the exact steps of the procedure. She will make tiny incisions according to the diagram. These typically heal well, but they will still be placed in hidden locations as much as possible. Once the incisions are made, a long, slender tube called a cannula will be inserted and used to suction out the fat. Once the fat has been removed, the incisions will be closed, and a compression garment will be applied.
Benefits of Liposuction
Following liposuction, you can expect to have a smoother, more proportionate body with better definition and sleeker lines. You will look slimmer, and clothes will likely fit better. The procedure leaves minimal scarring, and the recovery time is brief.
Liposuction is an outpatient procedure, but you will need to wear a compression garment for a minimum of four weeks to support your body while it heals. You should be up and about immediately, and your discomfort will be easily alleviated with prescribed medication. There will be some swelling and possibly bruising as well, but the majority of this will be gone within 7-10 days. The swelling may take longer, but it should be gone within six weeks. You can return to work within a week, but you should avoid strenuous activity such as heavy lifting for 2-3 weeks.
Possible Risks and Complications
Liposuction is a very safe procedure, but it does have the normal surgical risks of bleeding and infection. More specifically, there is a chance of indentation and of contour irregularities. Many patients experience these in the first few days or weeks after surgery due to the compression garment, but they will normally go away within 4 months. If the indentations remain longer than that, a revision procedure may be necessary to fix the problem.
Q. Will liposuction help me lose weight?
A. The purpose of liposuction is not weight-loss but rather correction of uneven weight distribution. It is a tool to improve problem spots that are resistant to correct diet and exercise, so removing larger amounts of fat through liposuction is not realistic. Patients will typically lose no more than 5 pounds or so following the procedure. It can, however, be very helpful to even out the body once you’ve already reached a comfortable weight.
Q. I’m planning on having a baby in a few years. Should I wait until afterward to get liposuction?
A. If you intend to get pregnant soon, you’ll need to count on that changing your body drastically, so it’s easiest to think of the liposuction as a short-term procedure and ask yourself if it’s worth it to you to have an improved body for those years between the procedure and the pregnancy. If your answer is yes, then you should go ahead and schedule your consultation with Dr. Ortega.
Q. How do I know if I need liposuction or a tummy tuck?
A. Liposuction removes fat while a tummy tuck removes excess skin. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult at times to tell which is the problem on an overly bulky stomach. Usually excess skin will be thinner and may be accompanied by stretch marks. The safest bet is to be professionally evaluated to determine which procedure or combination of procedures will resolve your problem.
Q. Can facial liposuction help with prominent cheeks?
A. It is possible, but in many cases, fuller cheeks are caused by prominent cheekbones or other underlying structures that cannot be changed. In addition, facial liposuction is significantly more risky because of the amount of nerves in the area and the increased chance of dimpling or other irregularities. During your consultation, Dr. Ortega can let you know if anything can be done safely, but in many situations, facial liposuction is not worth the risk.
Q. Will my liposuction leave me with loose skin?
A. It depends on the amount of fat to be removed and on your skin elasticity. If there is a high chance that you will have loose skin after your liposuction, Dr. Ortega can advise you on corrective options such as adding lasers to the liposuction or combining it with a tummy tuck or other surgery to remove loose skin.