Liposuction is a surgical technique to improve the body's contour by removing excess fat from deposits located between the skin and muscle.

It is achieved by inserting a small stainless steel tube, called a cannula into the fat through small incisions in the skin. This is connected to a powerful suction pump. Fat is removed as the suction through the cannula creates tiny tunnels through the fatty layers.

After the procedure, these tiny tunnels collapse and thus result in an improved body contour.

There are several liposuction techniques used today, based around pain management. These include:

  • Tumescent Liposuction
  • Modified Tumescent Liposuction
  • Ultrasonic Tumescent Liposuction




Tumescent Liposuction

Tumescent liposuction uses large volumes of very dilute local anesthesia injected into the fat causing the targeted areas to be come ‘tumescent’, or swollen and firm. The local anesthesia persists for many hours so is no need for pain medications after surgery.

Modified Tumescent Liposuction

Modified tumescent liposuction uses a combination of tumescent local anesthesia plus some form of systemic anesthesia [general anesthesia or heavy IV sedation].

Tumescent liposuction is regarded as the safest form due to the smaller ‘microcannula’ being used. The size of the liposuction cannula can influence the smoothness of the skin after liposuction. The use of large cannulas tend to create irregularities more commonly than microcannulas (outside diameter less than 3 millimeters). Surgeons who do total-body liposuction tend to use larger cannulas.


Ultrasonic Tumescent Liposuction

This is a blending of tumescent liposuction procedures with both non-ultrasonic as well as ultrasonic liposuction cannulae. The cannulae used are long, slender, and highly flexible, being gentler on the patient’s tissues. Older liposuction cannulae are rigid and stiff rods which tend to poke and jab at the surface skin because they cannot bend around the natural curvatures of the skin. The new third generation rods curve predictably beneath the skin and are easily manipulated by the surgeon.

Using a combination of rods gives good handling for firmer, denser fat using a stiffer ultrasonic rod, combined with the soft flexible rods in more delicate areas immediately under the skin. Using tiny cannulae is most beneficial in hard to access areas around the knees or some parts of the arms.


Liposuction Complications

Liposuction complications are often the direct result of poor physician practice, so extreme care should be taken in selecting a cosmetic surgeon.

  • Excessive liposuction where too much fat is aspirated. This surgical trauma causes complications.
  • Unrelated surgical procedures on the same day as liposuction resulting in prolonged exposure to anaesthesia.
  • Disfiguring skin irregularities and depressions are frequently the result of the surgeon's inattention to detail and the size of cannula used.


Liposuction After Care

After tumescent liposuction, there is a certain amount of blood-tinged local anaesthetic solution that remains under the skin. This excess fluid is either slowly absorbed over several weeks into the blood stream, or it can be rapidly removed by drainage.

Refer to specialist sites for before and after photos and treatment details:

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