San Diego Cosmetic Surgeon Dr. Tom Pousti Talks About Liposuction: Liposculpture
Pousti Plastic Surgery
article courtesy Tom Pousti, M.D., F.A.C.S.
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Liposuction surgery has now become the most commonly performed operation in Plastic Surgery. This procedure is used to improve your figure in either one specific area, or in several areas. Modern liposculpture is a both a scientific procedure and an artistic one, incorporating a concern for the patient's well-being and health during and after surgery with a genuine artistic sculpting of tissues.
Who Will Benefit From The Procedure?
Patients seeking liposuction for improvement of body contour have generally tried multiple diets and exercise programs, to no avail. Certain problem areas remain. It is important to realize that suction lipectomy is not a method of weight reduction in itself, as relatively little weight of fat is removed from the body when the surgery is performed safely. The procedure is designed specifically to improve body contour. Therefore, it is important for you to be at or close to your "set point" weight.
To be safe, the surgeon must not exceed the safe limits of fat removal or administration of local anesthetic, and always consider the health of the patient before proceeding with the procedure.
Liposuction will not change the appearance of the skin. Skin which is loose, dimpled, wrinkled, or having multiple depressions or waves prior to surgery, will not be improved following surgery. In general, patients with firm elastic skin with minimal wrinkling and redundancy, with well-controlled and stable weight, and with limited areas of fatty tissue excess, can expect the most favorable results. Localized deposits of excess fat in the hips and "saddle bag" areas, as well as inner and outer thigh areas, are usually quite improved following the procedure.
Given the same effort and diet as before the surgery, patients maintain a slightly lower weight, with much less trouble from the "trouble spots". It is the obligation of the patient to continue to watch their diet and exercise as much as possible.
The Surgical Procedure
The procedure varies between 1 and 3 hours, depending upon how much work is to be done in various areas of the body. Liposuction is generally performed in an outpatient operating suite. Incisions for the procedure are generally one quarter inch in length and are placed in inconspicuous skin folds with minimal or no shaving of hair. Modern liposculpture is nearly circumferential, rather than just in the problem areas.
What To Expect After Surgery
The initial week is the period during which any pain, swelling and bruising appear to be at their maximum. Between week one and week two, it is not uncommon to feel somewhat fatigued and during approximately the third week even mildly depressed.
Resumption Of Physical Activities
You will generally be able to begin resumption of your normal activities in three to six weeks. Patients are back to work in 3-6 days.
Potential risks and complications with Liposuction:
Skin re-draping problems: liposuction is not an exact science and so the skin may not re-drape exactly after surgery.
Asymmetry: differences between the areas treated may necessitate further surgery.
Scarring: small scars may form where the incisions are made to allow for the liposuctin cannula. Scar revision may be necessary after everything is healed.
Infection: rare and usually treatable with antibiotics.
Bleeding: rare but may require surgical intervention.
Deep Venous-Thrombosis/ Pulmonary Embolism: blood clots that form in the legs that may travel to the lungs causing difficulty with respiration and requiring hospitalization. Prevention is key using compression stockings and early ambulation.
Need for revisionary surgery: the above complications may necessitate further surgery.