1. What is liposuction? What is the difference between conventional liposuction and liposculpture?
Liposuction is a surgery that aims to reduce the volume of body fat in localized areas, providing the patient a better body contour. During surgery, fat is removed from the deeper cell layer, which does not change considerably with weight loss or gain. Thus, contrary to what many people think, liposuction is not indicated for losing weight, since the biggest change is in the body silhouette and not in the balance.
In liposculpture, as the name implies, the plastic surgeon sculpts the body, using part of the fat aspirated to fill other regions, such as the buttocks, hips, wrinkles in the face or any other region of the body that has depressions that can be corrected by liposculpture (also called fat grafting).
2. How to know if I have indication for liposuction?
To be able to perform liposuction, there are two basic indications, presented below:
a) Patients with localized fat and at or near their ideal weight, because liposuction has only the function of shaping the body silhouette.
b) Patients with good quality skin, without sagging and good elasticity, because liposuction removes excess fat and not skin. After surgery, you will depend on the shrinkage of the skin in the liposuction sites, so if you have great sagging, after the liposuction may remain excess skin that interferes with the end result of the surgery.
3. What type of anesthesia is used?
Local anesthesia, sedation, epidural or general anesthesia may be used, depending on the area to be operated on and the volume of fat to be aspirated.
4. What is the length of hospital stay?
Usually 12 to 24 hours, depending on the extent of liposuction and anesthesia used.
5. How long does the surgery last?
It basically depends on the extent of the area to be liposuctioned. Small liposuction can last 1 hour, while larger body surgery to be liposuction can last up to 5 hours.
6. Is there any fat limit to be liposuctioned in surgery?
Yes. Numerous research centers around the world have elucidated that the safe fat limit to be aspirated in surgery should not exceed 5-7% of the patient's body weight or 40% of the total body area. This means that if you weigh 60kg, the safe fat limit to be removed during surgery will be between 3 and 4kg.
This limit is important and should be followed in surgery for your safety, because larger volumes than specified bring more risks than benefits, and may cause problems such as anemia, postoperative dehydration, weakness and increased risk of surgical infection due to excessive duration of surgery. .
7. Are the liposuction scars big? Where are they located?
Liposuction scars are very small, measuring between 5 and 10 mm. Also, they are located in hidden areas of the body, such as the bikini area, the mammary fold, the navel, the buttock or the elbow crease, depending on the areas to be liposuctioned. As they are very small, they usually acquire good quality and hardly evolve with scar changes, such as keloids and hypertrophic scars.
8. In which regions of the body can liposuction be performed?
The goal of liposuction is the removal of localized fat, so it can be performed in a place with natural accumulation of it. The most frequently liposuctioned regions are abdomen, flanks (lateral fat of the abdomen), back, thighs, breeches, legs, arms, neck and face. Liposuction is not performed on joint regions such as elbows, shoulders, ankle and posterior knee.
9. Is the use of drains necessary after surgery?
Drain is not used in small liposuction. In larger liposuction, and especially if associated with other procedures, such as abdominoplasty, drains may be used for a short period (from 2 to 5 days), draining accumulated secretions in the liposuction sites and assisting in the regression of edema and postoperative bruising.
10. How long should I use the strap postoperatively?
The strap should be used for about 2 months after surgery. In the first month, it should be used 24 hours a day, only removing it for bath and personal hygiene. In the 2nd month, it is allowed to stay a few nights without using it, depending on the evaluation of the plastic surgeon. It is important to know that improper use of the brace will keep the liposuction areas swollen longer, compromising the end result and the quality of the surgery.
11. Will I feel a lot of pain after liposuction?
The pain threshold after surgery is extremely variable among patients. The most commonly reported sensation is a certain discomfort caused by the swelling and pain of the operated area, however it is easily treated with common pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs. The pain is more frequent in the first 3 to 5 days of surgery, then practically disappears and no longer needs to be treated with analgesics. Some recent technical innovations, such as the use of vibroliposuction, cause less postoperative liposuction pain, as explained earlier. Less pain means faster recovery for the patient and a quicker return to their professional and sporting activities. However, it is noteworthy that the greater the patient's rest, especially in the first week, the lower the pain.
12. What will the sensitivity of the operated area look like?
When the liposuction cannula aspirates the fat, despite the care and use of the proper technique of surgery, it scrapes on small nerves, which promotes the sensitivity of the region. Thus, there is a change in sensitivity in the place due to the surgical trauma caused by liposuction / liposculpture. This decrease in sensitivity tends to return gradually over time and the time to return varies among patients. This decreased sensitivity is sometimes referred to as local numbness or numbness.
13. How is the postoperative recovery of liposuction / liposculpture?
After surgery, the patient leaves the operating room with a new body profile, but this will be obscured by edema (swelling). Edema and ecchymoses (bruises) are more intense in the first two weeks and gradually disappear. Residual and mild edema is expected until the 6th month after surgery.
At the end of the first month, when the best absorption of postoperative edema begins (70-80% reduction in the first month), it is common for the appearance of hard areas and small nodules due to fibrosis (natural internal healing in any process). These hardened areas are gradually dissolved until the fourth postoperative month with the aid of lymphatic drainage.
Expected skin retraction after liposuction occurs from the 3rd to 6th month after liposuction and its intensity depends on the quality of the skin. This means that good quality skins, without streaking or sagging, have much greater shrinkage capacity, promoting better aesthetic results compared to streaking and sagging skins.