Does Liposuction Permanently Remove Fat?

Liposuction is a cosmetic procedure that is performed by a plastic surgeon to remove fat

Liposuction is a cosmetic procedure that is performed by a plastic surgeon to remove fat.

Liposuction is a cosmetic surgical procedure that permanently removes the existing fat cells but does not prevent the fat from accumulating again. Hence, the result must be maintained with an appropriate diet and exercise. If proper protocols are followed to keep the weight below the given target, as instructed by the surgeon, the fat may never come back.

What is liposuction?

Liposuction is a cosmetic procedure that is performed by a plastic surgeon to remove fat from the body, which is difficult to get rid of through diet or exercise. This can be performed on the hips, abdomen, chest, thighs, buttocks, back, arms, and under the chin or face to improve their shape. Liposuction can be combined with other plastic surgeries, such as breast reduction, tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), and facelifts. It is important to have realistic, aesthetic goals. The procedure can be done in men and women and it is one of the most popular surgeries to get rid of excess fat.

Who can undergo liposuction?

Ideal candidates for liposuction are:

  • People with body mass index (BMI) within normal limits or at least within 30% of their normal body weight
  • Have no plans for future pregnancies and only seek body contouring after weight loss
  • Have firm and elastic skin

When should liposuction not be done?

Liposuction is not recommended in those who have systemic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, or a weak immune system. The procedure is also contraindicated in smokers since smoking delays healing.

How is liposuction performed?

Before surgery:

  • The patient is advised to stop smoking
  • Perform exercises before the surgery for overall well-being
  • The patient is advised to be close to the desired weight
  • The surgeon would perform a detailed physical examination, blood, and radiological investigations
  • Consent for surgery would be obtained

During surgery:

The procedure is usually performed under intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. The incisions made during the surgery are very small. A thin hollow tube is inserted through the incisions that loosen the excess fat, the fat is then dislodged and suctioned out using a surgical vacuum or syringe. The patients can usually go home the same day after the surgery or after 24 hours of surgery.

After surgery:

Painkillers and antibiotics would be administered. Patients can experience pain, swelling, bruising, and fluid accumulation, which usually resolves in 2 weeks, and then the new body contour will be more apparent. A compression garment or elastic bandages may be used to cover the treated areas to help to reduce swelling and compress the excess skin to the new body contours. A small temporary surgical drain may be placed in the incisions made during the surgery to excess blood or fluid. It is usually removed in 24-48 hours. Patients can return to normal activities in 2 to 3 days and return to work when comfortable after consulting with the surgeon.

What are the complications of liposuction?

Liposuction is a relatively safe and commonly performed surgery with a low morbidity rate. It has a high success rate. It is important to be mindful of the contraindications, follow pre and postoperative advice, and have realistic, aesthetic goals. However, like any other surgery, there are complications. Some common complications are:

  • Poor wound healing
  • Dehiscence (the cut made during a surgical procedure separates or ruptures after it has been sutured together)
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clot formation
  • Infection
  • Unsightly scarring
  • Temporary or permanent numbness around the incision site


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