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Suction assisted lipoplasty: [Better known as Liposculpture]
This operation involves the removal of deposits of fat in certain areas of the body, which cannot be removed by any other means such as dieting. These might include saddlebags on the outside of the thighs, excess fat deposits on the hip rolls, inside of the thighs or knees or the abdomen.

Liposculpture is not intended as an alternative to dieting or an alteration in lifestyle which overweight people need to make in order to achieve their goal of improved health and appearance.




Who should have this operation?
Liposculpture is ideally intended for the correction of localised contour deformities (lumps) in people who are otherwise not particularly overweight. It is not intended to be used as an alternative to dieting for weight loss and control




How is the operation done?
The operation is carried out by inserting a fine cannula via a small incision into the area being treated. The cannula is attached to a purpose built, very powerful suction machine.
As the cannula is moved in and out of the area being treated, the excess fatty tissue is removed.

In order to keep blood loss during this operation to an absolute minimum, the tumescent technique is used. This involves injecting a large volume of fluid containing adrenalin into the area to be treated prior to staring the suction. This causes constriction of the small blood vessels and, in so doing, decreases blood loss.

Suction is continued until the desired amount of fat is removed or until the removed tissue starts to become bloody.

At the end of the procedure, the small (1cm) incisions are sutured and the wounds are dressed and a compression bandage or garment is applied to the treated area. The patient will wear the garment for at least three to four weeks after the operation. This will provide support and increase the patient's comfort while assisting with minimising postoperative swelling.




What sort of anaesthesia is required?
It is well described in the lay press that this operation may be performed under local anaesthesia on an outpatient basis. In my experience this is only possible or advisable for very small areas which may be performed as office procedures.

Liposculpture is a perfectly safe operation, which can produce wonderful results if well indicated and well performed. It is, nevertheless, an operation, which can produce significant changes in fluid balance in the patient.
For this reason Liposculpture should, in my opinion, be carried out under general anaesthesia, in an operating theatre and the patient should remain in hospital overnight if the volume removed exceeds 1- 1 ½ L of fat.




How long will the operation take?
This depends on how large an area is being treated and can be anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 or 2½ hours.




Is the operation very painful?
There is certainly some pain and a bruised feeling after this operation. You will be given an injection for pain after waking from the anaesthetic and a combination of anti-inflammatories and oral analgesics should see to it that your pain is kept to a minimum.




How long will I remain in hospital?
If the area treated has been less than 1½ L, you will probably be able to go home the same day. If not, you will remain in hospital overnight.



How long will I be incapacitated?
For two to three days unless the areas treated are very large.




Will I be very bruised or swollen?
Once again this depends on the extent of the area which has been treated but a certain amount of bruising and swelling is to be expected. The bruising has usually gone by 7 to 10 days.




When will I be able to start exercising?
One week after the operation it will be possible to start walking or riding an exercise bicycle gently. It is inadvisable to get back into vigorous exercise before two to three weeks as this might precipitate unnecessary swelling and discomfort.




Are there any complications associated with this operation?
Provided that the operation is well indicated and not overdone in the sense of treating too large an area at one sitting, it is a relatively uncomplicated procedure.

The biggest concern is of uneveness or dents which are the result of overtreating an area.
This is avoided by utilising good operating technique and employing caution in one's approach. Fortunately, these problems are rare in the hands of an experienced surgeon.




How long will the effects of the operation last?
Provided that the patient does not put on a great deal of weight following the operation, the results are long lasting. Fat removed by this technique does not return.