LIPOSUCTION

What is liposuction?
This a body contouring procedure. Ideally, the areas of contour defects should be well localised. Diffuse fatty areas are not well served by this technique. It is important to stress that this technique is in no way a substitute for weight loss or exercise.

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Areas that can be improved by liposuction are:

" face (chin and neck);
" breast enlargement in men;
" waist area;
" buttocks

" outer thighs;
" inner thighs;
" knees, calves and ankles; and
"
post-surgical or post-traumatic fat deposits

 

With liposuction alone the skin is not tightened surgically. Therefore, it is best suited for people who are in good physical shape and have 'youthful' skin qualities. There are specific cases in which excess skin may be present following this procedure and surgical removal of the skin may be necessary to achieve a good cosmetic result.

How is the procedure performed?
With the liposuction method, localised fat deposits can be removed through tubes or cannulas which are passed into small incisions. A vacuum apparatus applies a negative pressure and the fat is literally sucked out from the area of involvement.

Surgery is usually done on a day stay basis.

What should I expect after surgery?
Most patients experience discomfort and at times pain which may last from several days to one week. Naturally this is a highly personal experience, based on multiple factors such as the extent of the procedure and each patient's individual tolerance.

After the surgery you will be wearing a garment to provide support and pressure to the liposuctioned areas. This garment is worn for 4-8 weeks after surgery.

Following surgery, patients normally rests for 24-72 hours. Normal bathing activities can usually be resumed approximately one week after surgery. A gentle massage program may be commenced 10-14 days after surgery.

Bruising and swelling can last up to three weeks or longer in some cases. In some cases lumpy areas may last much longer and these can be improved with massage.

When can I return to normal activities?
Generally patients are able to return to work 5-7 days after surgery. Gentle exercise can be resumed after approximately two weeks, however, vigorous exercise should be avoided for six weeks.

Is there anything I should do before surgery?

"

Avoid taking aspirin for two weeks before surgery.

"
Do not smoke for three weeks before and after surgery as this will delay the healing process.
"
The oral contraceptive should be ceased from the time you decide to proceed with surgery.

Are there any risks?
As with any surgical procedure, there is a small risk of complications. Surgery and anaesthesia are very safe and it is most unlikely you will experience any difficulty. However, there are areas of potential problems you need to understand before proceeding with your surgery. You can reduce your risk of complications by closely following Dr Drielsma's instructions after surgery.

Bleeding: It is most likely to occur immediately following surgery or that evening. It is possible in cases of persistent problematical bleeding that return to the operating theatre will be required.

The collection of blood (a haematoma) or fluid (seroma), may arise.

Infection: Infection is an infrequent occurrence. If infection occurs it will usually become evident within one week of surgery and may delay the healing process. This may require treatment with antibiotics. In the unlikely event of infection, the ultimate result of the surgery may be adversely affected.

Sensation: Areas of numbness may occur and usually disappear after some months, however, these may be permanent.

Anaesthesia: You will be receiving a general anaesthetic and your anaesthetist will be discussing with you possible discomforts following anaesthesia. Again, anaesthesia today is very safe and no major problems should be concerning you. Any questions you have regarding your anaesthetic would be best answered by your anaesthetist at the time of surgery.

Contour: The most difficult aspect of liposuction is knowing when the correct amount of fat has been removed. Removal of 'just the right amount' and a nice flat result cannot be guaranteed. Too much, too little or removal of the fat in an uneven manner may occur and may leave a contour defect such as rippling or dimpling. If this occurs, a second operation may be necessary.

Patients who are also overweight or over 35 must be willing to accept a greater possibility of these contour irregularities and poor skin redraping in exchange for looking better in clothing.

Circulation: Although rare, there is a risk of clotting in the veins of the legs. This can be reduced by flexing your calves after surgery to maintain leg circulation and moving around as soon as possible. Pulmonary emboli (clots in veins which can travel to the lungs) can also occur.

An area of skin loss can occur and has been reported in literature. Fortunately, this has been an infrequent occurrence.

Bruising and swelling: Naturally, swelling occurs and when the knees or inner thighs are treated, ankle swelling can occur and last a number of weeks. This can be helped by elevating the legs each day.

Important points to remember before proceeding with surgery:
There can be no absolute guarantee with any surgery. In the hands of even the most experienced surgeon, a secondary operation to correct a minor irregularity may be needed.

It often takes up to six to eight weeks before the benefits of the procedure are visible. It usually takes 6 months to see the final result, so don't lose heart if you can see no improvement for the first few weeks.

Should there be any questions regarding liposuction, be sure they are answered in advance by Dr Drielsma. Well meaning friends are not a good source of information. Find out everything before the operation - a well informed patient is a happy one.

The best candidates for cosmetic surgery are those who want to enhance or improve their appearance, not those who seek perfection. You will be satisfied with the results of surgery if you have realistic expectations. It is important that you make the decision to proceed with surgery for yourself, not anyone else.

The next step when considering cosmetic surgery is a consultation with Dr Drielsma. You will be shown before and after photos and will be given the opportunity to discuss the procedure with previous patients.

The above information mentions only some of the benefits and complications of liposuction. This information should not be regarded as a substitute for information and advice provided by Dr Drielsma during consultation.