Liposuction is an amazing procedure and can produce dramatic effects in terms of body contouring and leaves little, if any, visible scars. However, there are limitations and not everybody is a good candidate for it. The image is of the lottery winner who decides to have a new body, and so goes to the cosmetic clinic to have whole body liposuction, and unfortunately we still see some people who are overweight or have a certain distribution of fat and may not be a good candidate for liposuction but they feel they should be able to transform their bodies, because this is what they have been led to believe.
Whilst liposuction is an excellent way to remove fat while leaving very small scars, it does have its limitations.
Am I a good candidate for liposuction if I am overweight?
It is not really an operation that is suitable for people who are overweight. In fact, cosmetic surgery and body contouring in general is not really for people who are overweight. If you are overweight and are unhappy about it, then the best thing to do is to lose weight and cosmetic surgery is not a way of losing weight. Cosmetic surgery is something that can be done to help shape and contour your body if you are unhappy with your shape once you have lost weight, or perhaps you have always had a certain distribution of fat on your body that you are unhappy with, rather than just having a global problem with your weight. You really need to be happy and stable with your weight before having any body contouring, and this includes liposuction. So first of all the ideal candidate for liposuction is someone who is happy with their weight, but unhappy with the shape of their body and is looking for some contouring or sculpturing.
Does liposuction tighten the skin?
One of the main limitations of liposuction is that it only removes fat and does not remove skin, and for this reason it is often used in combination with other types of body contouring surgery to help shape and fine tune the final result. Probably the best example of this is a tummy tuck where the skin is removed by the tummy tuck surgery, and then liposuction can be used to the sides around the hips and flanks to help contour these areas. There are certain areas of the body where the skin does recoil better than others, and the hips and flanks, outer thighs, and the male chest are well suited to liposuction and patients with excess fat in these areas are good candidates for liposuction alone. Those areas where the skin does not recoil so well once the fat is removed, then liposuction alone is more limited, for instance, the central abdomen and the inner thighs.
Will the fat come back after being removed by liposuction?
Patients often ask me if the fat will come back following the procedure and the answer is no. Once the fat has been removed by whatever means, whether it be cut out or removed by liposuction, it has gone forever. However, there is always some fat left behind which is why it is so important that you are stable with your weight, because if you put on weight after having it, then the fat that remains will expand and so you can still put on weight in the same areas. It is not the fat that has been removed coming back, but it is the fat that is left behind getting bigger because you are putting on weight.
Do I need to be put to sleep for liposuction?
It is not essential that you are put to sleep for this procedure and certainly small areas can be performed under local anaesthetic. However, the constant moving can be a little bit uncomfortable and larger areas can be difficult to adequately anaesthetise with local anaesthetic, and so we often prefer to put patients to sleep for comfort during most liposuction surgery, although this is something we can discuss with you to decide what is best.
If you have questions please contact us or join Jonathan for a live Q&A every Tuesday evening at 7pm on Facebook.