How Much Fat Can Be Removed by Liposuction?
Liposuction is one of the most popular aesthetic procedures worldwide and of course in Singapore. It is one procedure that has advanced exponentially because it quickly and permanently alters a patient’s appearance. One day can literally change the rest of a person’s life.
Men and women dissatisfied with body appearance – whether genetic or altered – often find that diet and exercise alone don’t give them the shape and definition they desire.
The number of procedures has risen steadily over the past 15 years. Increasing numbers of physicians from various specialities are adding this procedure to their range of treatments.
Liposuction gently removes a portion of fat cells from localized areas of the body, while preserving nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. A blunt-tipped cannula attached to a suction device removes the cells, which are then vacuumed out of the tissue, suspended in a sterile solution. The procedure is usually done on your hips, belly, thighs, buttocks, back, arms, or face to improve their shape.
Liposuction via tumescent local anaesthesia is currently the method of choice. The high safety standard using this technique has been confirmed during the past 15 years in large numbers of patients.
According to DreamPlasticSurgery liposuction should not be viewed purely as a fat-removing procedure. Its role is more in the harmonization of body contours through liposculpture or ‘body-shaping’, which has brought about a considerable change in the meaning and understanding of liposuction since the beginning of modern liposuction surgery.
The Problem of Weight Gain
With age, metabolism decreases, so it’s necessary to either increase exercise and/or decrease dietary intake to maintain a healthy weight. It’s a myth that fat cells increase when a significant amount of weight is gained. The amount of cells remains constant. Weight gain simply enlarges those cells. After liposuction, fat cells in other areas can expand, but the patient won’t grow new cells where liposuction was performed.
The tumescent technique of liposuction introduces fluid into the target area. This fluid has several components, including:
- A saline solution which aids in fat removal
- Lidocaine, an anaesthetic medication that reduces pain during and after a procedure. A patient’s weight determines how much lidocaine is used
- Epinephrine, a medication which constricts blood vessels to inhibit bleeding
The use of these medications limits blood and body-fluid loss, making liposuction safer and less painful than ever before. Bruising is minimized in the liposuction target area, resulting in a quicker return to normal for the patient.
A surgeon must limit the area and amount of fat suctioned in one session. As safe as the tumescent technique is, it still causes some blood loss and carries the possibility of lidocaine toxicity.
Drastic fat and fluid removal can trigger blood chemistry to change, causing it to fall to unsafe levels, threatening the patient’s safety. When liposuction is performed correctly, there should be no significant blood loss or anaesthetic toxicity. In fact, the blood loss when the lab specimen is drawn is usually greater than what’s lost during the entire surgical procedure.
Maximum Volume of Fat Removed Through Liposuction
In many states, the amount of pure fat considered safe to remove (sometimes up to 6 litres) is controlled by law. The greater the volume of fat removed during a surgical session the greater the risk of serious complications. If a patient has more than 4-5 litres of fat to be removed, the surgeon should split the liposuction into separate procedures or stages.
If 6 litres of fat or more are to be removed, the procedure is considered “Mega-Lipo” and must be performed in a hospital setting. Some surgeons feel more comfortable keeping the volume they remove to under 4 litres, although this is by no means an industry standard.
Pre-Operative Lab Work
Prior to surgery, you’ll have lab tests, including one that shows levels of haemoglobin (the protein in red blood cells) and hematocrit (the proportion of red blood cells present). These tests help determine if you have anaemia or an active infection.
Some surgeons also request a coagulation panel. This test shows the ability of your blood to clot normally. That’s an important factor in reducing intra and post-operative bleeding and bruising. Finally, many surgeons require an HIV test prior to surgery.
Surgeon for Liposuction
Physicians who practice cosmetic surgery completed medical school and residency, usually focusing on a surgical speciality: general surgery, otolaryngology (head and neck surgery), dermatology, or plastic surgery.
After receiving board certification, these physicians continue specific postresidency training in cosmetic surgery, through fellowship programs (one-on-one training with an experienced cosmetic surgeon) or by attending cosmetic surgery workshops, seminars, and lectures.
Best Candidates for Liposuction
Generally speaking, the best prospective patients want to improve – and be more confident in – the appearance they present. It’s not age but health and maturity that determine if a patient is a suitable candidate for a cosmetic procedure.
Young, physically-fit people generally get better results following liposuction since their skin is more resilient and heals quickly. But every person is different. In fact, many older patients have excellent skin resiliency and obtain outstanding results.
On the other hand, patients who have lost a significant amount of weight or have poor skin tone aren’t good candidates for liposuction. A thorough physical exam including a diagnosis of the patient’s skin condition and elasticity must be done prior to any surgical procedure.
Liposuction and Weight Loss
Patients shouldn’t expect dramatic weight loss with liposuction. However, because the fat is removed from specific areas for cosmetic reasons, liposuction can produce a significant improvement.
Liposuction is body-sculpting performed in localized areas. It will reduce the size of the areas but may not produce weight loss. For every two litres of fat removed, a person can lose roughly 4 pounds. Larger patients who have significant liposuction of the abdomen, waist, and lower body report a visible reduction in inches as well as a loss of weight. However, remember that liposuction isn’t a substitute for a medically-approved weight loss program.
Permanent Results of Liposuction
If a patient doesn’t gain an excessive amount of weight, the new silhouette is permanent. It’s important to note here that after a liposuction procedure the body will go through the normal changes associated with the ageing process (sagging, for example). Nevertheless, the benefits of liposuction will always be apparent. Be aware that even moderate weight gain after liposuction will cause fat to build in other areas of the body. The body will retain its overall shape, although larger.
Recovery After Liposuction
Depending on what type of liposuction was performed, expect to be up and around in anywhere from a few days to a week. Allow more time for recovery if multiple areas are treated. The swelling diminishes over the following weeks, with final results seen after several months. Recovery time varies from person to person and technique to technique, but many individuals can have surgery on Friday and go back to work on Monday.
This doesn’t mean they’re completely back to normal. There will still be some swelling, bruising, and mild discomfort but not enough to interfere with work. The exception to this is any activity that is strenuous or requires substantial exertion. Your doctor will let you know when you can safely return to a normal workout routine.
Liposuction technology has advanced at a dizzying rate since the first crude cannulas were used to extract fat. The procedure left unsightly scars was extremely painful and required extensive recovery.
But the exciting possibilities of liposuction made it impossible to ignore, and once the procedure became affordable for more than just the “rich and famous”, it took off like wildfire, and in every country in the world.
Dream Plastic Surgery
Address: 290 Orchard Road #17-03/04 Paragon, Singapore 238859
Phone: 65 6871 8888