Liposuction helps reduce excessively stubborn localised fatty areas, where dieting and exercise have failed. Liposuction can also be used in combination with other procedures such as abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) where specific fatty areas can also be contoured.
A small incision is made in the skin for each area to be treated. A narrow metal tube (cannula) is inserted through the incision into the fatty area and by working the tube back and forth; the fat is shaved off in tunnels and evacuated through attached tubing to a suction machine or suction syringe. The suctioned tunnels and spaces are then collapsed by the use of a compression garment to create the new contour.
When fat tissue is suctioned from under the skin, it leaves small tunnels and empty pockets.
The area treated with liposuction may be strapped with elastic tape or a girdle. The purpose of a compressive dressing or girdle is to collapse these spaces and allow healing to take place. It will minimise bruising and swelling, and provide a degree of support for the skin which will be relatively loose after the operation, particularly when the swelling settles down.
The elasticised material of the girdle helps to keep even pressure on the areas treated, minimise bruising and swelling and “even out the skin”. This process will help the skin to redistribute itself more evenly and minimises the risk of skin sagging and irregularities.
Following surgery you may be quite bruised and the areas can be discoloured and even purple. There can be swelling of the ankles, particularly if liposuction has been carried out in the abdomen or legs and a girdle is worn. This can be aggravated by hot weather. Minimise standing if there is swelling of the ankles and elevate your legs on a foot stool when sitting. The bruising tends to track down the leg or the abdomen and in some cases the patient can experience some swelling of the labia or scrotum. The bruising usually starts to settle after a week and is usually well faded by two weeks. It may, however, take six weeks for all the bruising to resolve. When a figure fault is sculpted away, the fullness in the area is temporarily replaced by swelling which resolves slowly. It is understandable, therefore, that the patient may underestimate the improvement in the first few weeks and wonder if the operation has been successful.
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