Are you considering Liposuction?

The decision to have cosmetic surgery is a personal one and often comes with careful thought, research and a desire to change something about you.

Although you exercise regularly and eat healthy, you can often still have problems getting rid of unwanted pockets of fat or you may just want to improve your body contour.

Liposuction could be the answer for you!

Liposuction, also known as lipoplasty, liposculpture suction lipectomy, or lipo is a type of cosmetic surgery which breaks up and “sucks” fat from the problem area and helps to reshape the male or female body. Areas that can be treated range from the abdomen, thighs and buttocks, to the neck and backs of the arms.

Liposuction is a particularly good solution for people who experience localised fat deposits that do not respond to regular diet and exercise or areas of the body they may appear disproportionate.

Liposuction can also be offered in conjunction with abdominoplasty surgery for people who have skin laxity in the abdominal area. At Cosmetic Image Clinics we offer both of these procedures and also provide several non-surgical solutions to help reduce fat. These include BodyFX™ (fat busting electroporation); or Lipodissolve™; or CoolSculpting®, which is becoming increasingly popular.

Liposuction can help to enhance your overall body shape and often helps to improve your self-esteem. Setting realistic body goals and ensuring that you get all the information required to make an informed decision is imperative.

So if you are considering Liposuction and want expert advice, then contact us at Cosmetic Image Clinics to make an appointment to talk to one of our highly qualified and skilled surgeons.

Frequently Asked Questions

More information on Liposuction

Why choose Cosmetic Image Clinics for Liposuction surgery?

At Cosmetic Image Clinics, we pride ourselves on delivering the highest levels of personal care while providing both surgical and non-surgical options for people seeking cosmetic rejuvenation and cosmetic plastic surgery.

Our selected team of doctors, plastic and cosmetic surgeons, clinical nurses and administrative team, have a wealth of experience caring for men and women undergoing cosmetic treatments.

By selecting our multi-award winning Cosmetic Image Clinics in Aquarius Health and Medispa, you can be assured that your comfort and satisfaction is our highest priority.

Your consultation will be conducted in the strictest of confidence and you will receive professional care and expert advice from our highly trained team.

Do you offer any non-surgical options to remove fatty deposits and reshape your body?

Yes, at Cosmetic Image Clinics we offer several non-surgical options, such as BodyFX™; or Lipodissolve™; or CoolSculpting®.

BodyFX is a non-invasive innovative treatment which combines clinically proven radiofrequency energy with vacuum suction and focal high voltage electrical impulses to shape and contour the body and permanently remove unwanted fat. Studies have also shown it to be effective in reducing cellulite.

Click here to read more about BodyFX.

Lipodissolve is a relatively quick and simple and economical procedure involving small injections of various vitamins and compounds into the fat which dissolves the fat cells and removes them permanently from the body.

Click here to read more about Lipodissolve.

CoolSculpting with the Zeltiq Procedure® (also known as ‘Cryolipolysis’ or’ fat freezing’) is a fat reduction technique in which the fat cells are frozen in order to destroy the fat cell.

This procedure is becoming increasingly popular and we are proud to be among one of the first in the Brisbane CBD to offer this revolutionary body contouring treatment.

Click here to read more about CoolSculpting.


What is involved with Liposuction Surgery?

Liposuction is often performed in a day surgery facility, using twilight sedation and occasionally in hospital under general anaesthetic. The procedure takes about 1 to 1½ hours for a single area to be treated with time increasing according to the mass and number of areas to be treated. For patients with large areas to be treated general anaesthesia within a hospital facility is the preferred option.

With the tumescent technique, areas of excess fat are injected with a large amount of anaesthetic liquid before liposuction is performed. The liquid causes the compartments of fat to become swollen and softened. The expanded fat compartments allow the liposuction cannula to travel smoothly beneath the skin as the fat is removed by suctioning.

Patients are usually able to see a noticeable difference almost immediately after surgery. However, more improvement can be seen after three weeks, when most of the swelling has subsided. After about 3-6 months, any persistent mild swelling will disappear and the final contour will be visible.

What is involved in planning your Liposuction Surgery?

In your initial consultation, the doctor will evaluate your health and decide if this procedure is the most appropriate for you.

You may discuss surgical and non-surgical alternatives, such as BodyFX™ (fat busting electroporation); or Lipodissolve™; or CoolSculpting®, or a combination of liposuction and surgery. You may be shown before and after photos of other patients similar to you and the results which they have achieved from liposuction.

What areas are suitable for Liposuction?

Liposuction is indicated for abnormal or disproportionate fat deposits. These deposits are genetically pre-determined and for this reason are resistant to diet and exercise. Weight loss will make such areas smaller with the overall reduction of body fat but the disproportion will still be present.

Basically, any area of disproportion due to fat excess can be corrected by liposuction. Common areas in women include the abdomen, hips, inner and outer thighs, around the knees and under the chin. Calves, ankles and arms can also be treated provided the disproportion is due to an excess of fat as opposed to excessive muscle mass. Men, on the other hand, tend to develop excess fat deposits on the flanks (‘love handles’) abdomen, breasts and under the chin.

Liposuction should be regarded primarily as a body reshaping procedure and not a way of losing weight.  It is ideally suitable for people who are at or close to their normal weight yet have areas of disproportion as described above. It is not suitable for people who are grossly overweight.

Liposuction may improve ‘cellulite’ irregularities which are due to contraction of the fibrous bands that extend from the under-surface of the skin to the underlying muscle.

Will the abnormal fatty areas return after Liposuction?

No. In adult life, no further fat cells are formed.

The reason liposuction can remove abnormal fat deposits permanently is that it removes the fat cells that contain the fat. As the fat cells remaining in the liposuctioned area do not have the ability to multiply and replace those that have been removed, the deposit cannot return as before. Therefore, if you do not gain weight after liposuction you will retain your new shape.

If, on the other hand, you allow yourself to gain weight after liposuction, the remaining fat cells in the liposuctioned area, even though they cannot multiply, can still accumulate new fat and the area can again increase in size. However, the amount of this increase is limited by the reduced numbers of fat cells present and therefore the former degree of disproportion cannot reappear.

Accordingly, you should try to maintain your weight after liposuction in order to keep your improved shape. If however you do gain weight after liposuction and you wish to further reduce the previously treated area, the liposuction can simply be repeated.

What can you expect after Liposuction?

Even though you will notice an improved shape immediately after your procedure the remaining fat in the liposuctioned area is still swollen from the procedure. This swelling will settle over the ensuing three weeks and you will then notice a further reduction in size of the area concerned. Thereafter, your skin and the tunnels created in the fat will continue to contract down over the next 3 or 4 months.  Therefore, your final shape may not be apparent until 3, or even 6 months, after your procedure.

Discomfort after tumescent liposuction is usually only mild and most patients are up and about the very next day. Any discomfort in the first few days can usually be relieved by Panadol, Panadeine or Digesic tablets. Rarely are stronger analgesics requested.

Bruising after tumescent liposuction is much less than with the earlier techniques and in most people largely disappears within three weeks.

Minor swelling of the treated area can last up to about three weeks.

Areas of induration (hardness) under the skin may become apparent after the first week. They are due to deep bruising, NOT residual fat, and will slowly smooth out and disappear as the body’s healing process absorbs the bruising.  In abdominal liposuction, a band of temporary induration across the lower abdomen is commonly seen.  It comes about from gravitational seepage of a small amount of blood and fluid to the lowest point of your abdomen.  It disappears over the ensuing weeks.

Minor irregularities in the remaining fat of the abdominal wall can sometimes be felt on passing the fingers over the abdomen.  These usually disappear over the next six months or so.

Want to read more about Liposuction?

Liposuction was first invented by Italian doctors in 1975, subsequently improved and refined by French surgeons, and adopted by American cosmetic surgeons in the early 1980’s. Apart from minor improvements in instrumentation and technique this original method continued until its replacement in 1987 by the tumescent technique of liposuction.

Liposuction basically involves the introduction of a thin metal tube called a cannula into the area to be treated via a tiny incision. This cannula is attached by plastic tubing to a suction machine and by working the cannula back and forth through the area; the fat is broken down and sucked out.

The original method of liposuction had, however, its drawbacks and limitations.  Associated blood and fluid loss limited the amount of fat that could be aspirated at any one session and it could only be done under a general anaesthetic.

In 1987 Dr Jeffrey Klein, an American dermatologist, invented tumescent liposuction. Dr Klein’s revolutionary tumescent technique rapidly spread and to this day it remains the standard technique for liposuction worldwide. The technique involves infiltrating a local anaesthetic-adrenalin-saline solution into the area prior to the fat removal. The local anaesthetic in the solution not only enables some cases to be done without a general anaesthetic, it also provides extended post-operative pain relief. In addition the adrenalin in the solution constricts the blood vessels in the fat and thereby allows the removal of more fat with negligible blood loss. The latter benefit not only enables more areas to be treated at a single session than was possible with the original technique, it also made it a safer procedure.

In the mid 1990’s, ultrasonic liposuction was developed.  In ultrasonic liposuction, the tip of the metal tube emits ultra-high frequency sound waves that ‘melt’ the fat prior to it being sucked out. However, the absence of better results in any given surgeon’s hands combined with an increased risk of complications such as seromas and ultrasonic ‘burns’ of the skin and deeper tissues soon brought about the demise of ultrasonic liposuction and nowadays very few surgeons use it.

What is Liposuction?

Liposuction is a procedure designed to re-shape the male or female body by removing pockets of fat from the body. The tumescent liposuction method has been widely used since 1989. Almost any area of the body can be treated with tumescent liposuction (also known as Ultrafine Liposculpture).

Liposuction delivers permanent results. We have a fixed number of fat cells determined by the end of puberty. We usually follow the shape set by our genes. While fat cells change size as we gain or lose weight, their numbers don’t change. Liposuction directly targets the problem areas by reducing the number of fat cells in that area. The change in body proportion is permanent, even with subsequent weight gain.

Who is suitable for Liposuction?

It should be emphasised that liposuction is not a good substitute for weight loss by proper diet and exercise. It is intended for changing body shape where fat deposits are unable to be shifted by conventional methods.

The ideal candidate will be close to their ideal weight. A patient needs to be in good medical condition to heal and resist infection.

Young patients with moderate amounts of fat and good skin tone, or texture, achieve excellent results with liposculpture, as their skin readily retracts when the fat is removed.

Older patients with diminished skin elasticity need to weigh up the benefits of the procedure against the possibility that the skin may not entirely retract. Your doctor will advise you of the appropriate volume of fat which can be removed to minimise unsightly sagging skin. A better outcome may be achieved with smaller multiple procedures over time.

Individuals who have large areas of excess fat may be good candidates for tumescent liposuction due to the reduced trauma compared with traditional liposuction. However, a further procedure may be needed to deal with the redundant loose skin, such as a tummy tuck, body lift or jowl lift.

What are the risk factors for Liposuction?

Although the anaesthesia requirements are lessened and blood loss is minimised with tumescent liposuction, patients undergoing the procedure still face the same risks associated with any surgery. A minimal risk of infection is possible; however this is decreased by the anti-bacterial action of the tumescent fluid and the antibiotics which are administered during the surgery.

A temporary loss of feeling may occur in the skin of the treated area until the swelling subsides.

Dimpling and unevenness may occur. After the area has settled down, a further small touch up procedure may be required to address this.

What is involved in Liposuction post-operative care?

The long-acting effects of the anaesthetic solution help to provide pain relief after the procedure and decrease the need for initial pain medication. The pain with liposuction varies from person to person and might be described as generalised soreness. We will ensure you have adequate pain medication but we find our patients cope very well and the procedure is well tolerated.

You will be required to wear a compression garment for a period of usually 4-6 weeks following your procedure. This garment will be customised to fit you. You must wear this garment for the first 48 hours, after which it may be removed for showering. After this time the garment must be worn day and night, but may be removed for one hour morning and night for showering or bathing purposes

For the first week or two after surgery, most patients experience swelling and bruising in the treated areas, as well as some fluid drainage from the incision sites during the first few days.

You will be advised to start walking around as soon as possible to reduce swelling and prevent blood clots from forming in your legs. Light activity is usually resumed within the first few days after tumescent liposuction. You will begin to feel better after about a week or two and you could be back at work within a few days following your surgery, dependent upon the extent of your surgery. Normal activity can be resumed after 2 weeks.

Activity that is more strenuous should be avoided for about 4-6 weeks as your body continues to heal. Although most of the bruising and swelling usually disappears within three weeks, some swelling may remain for six months or more.

It is highly recommended that you have regular lymphatic drainage massage from week two after your procedure, to promote healing and accelerate recovery. Lymphatic drainage aids in the elimination of toxins, excess fluids, and waste by stimulating lymph movement.

Marks from the puncture sights will gradually heal and fade, in most cases so that they are barely noticeable.

You will be reassessed in our clinic 7 days after surgery when your sutures are removed. You will subsequently be seen at our clinic 6 weeks and 3 months after surgery.

Patients are usually very pleased with the results of the procedure. By eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise, you can help to maintain your slimmer figure or leaner physique.

Why do abnormal fat deposits develop?

Other than in special circumstances such as in some eating disorders or diabetes, we do not form any more fat cells after birth. All the fat cells we will ever have as adults are already present at birth, their numbers and distribution pre-determined by genetic factors. This is why members of the one family often have similar shapes.

The more fat cells that are laid down in any given area, the larger will be the fatty deposit later in life. In childhood and adolescence these fat cells are relatively ‘empty’ of fat and consequently the disproportion is not yet evident. As we get older the formerly ‘empty’ fat cells progressively store more fat and the disproportionate deposits start to manifest themselves.

What is the Liposuction procedure?

Tumescent Liposuction can be done under either general anaesthesia or intravenous (twilight) sedation. As a general rule, minor cases can be done under intravenous sedation, either in our own clinic or in hospital.  For those patients with large or multiple deposits, general anaesthesia in hospital is preferred. In either situation, stay in hospital is not necessary. You can go home 1-2 hours after your procedure.

Regardless of the type of anaesthesia you have, you must not drive or go home alone. You must be accompanied by an adult and you should also have someone at home to look after you for the first 24 hours.

What are the possible complications of Liposuction?

Excessive Bruising
Some degree of bruising occurs in everyone but it largely clears within three weeks. In some people however, deep bruising may take up to six weeks to disappear.

Contour Irregularities
These are visible contour deformities of the skin due to irregularities of the underlying fatty tissue. They may not appear until some months after the procedure. The use of small diameter cannulas and a planned, evenly spaced network of tunnelling reduce this possibility.

 Loose Skin
This can occur when liposuction is performed on a patient with poor skin elasticity and the skin does not have the elasticity to shrink to the new shape. Generally, younger people have good skin elasticity and the skin shrinks successfully, whereas in older people the skin can end up a little loose after liposuction. The doctor will assess your skin elasticity at your initial consultation and advise if this could be a concern for you.

As the liposuction cannula has to be introduced through one or more tiny skin incisions, each of these small entry points will leave a small scar. However, they are usually not very noticeable and tend to become even less so over time. Whenever possible, they are placed in inconspicuous locations.

This is rare after liposuction. In addition, the routine use of antibiotics before and after the procedure further lessens this possibility.

This is very uncommon after liposuction. It is a localised collection of lymphatic fluid under the skin of the treated area from traumatised lymphatic vessels. Treatment involves fortnightly aspirations of the fluid until it dries up.

Numbness of the treated area can occur. However, it is usually temporary and should disappear over the ensuing 6 months.

This term describes an altered sensation of the skin presumably due to injury of the sensory nerves supplying the skin. It is very uncommon and reported to be a greater risk with ultrasonic liposuction. It should settle over time. To date we have not encountered this complication.

Brown Staining
Brown discolouration of the skin in the area of liposuction can occasionally occur. It is due to iron from the sub-surface bruising remaining in the skin. It usually disappears over time as specific body cells transport the iron away.

Serious, potentially fatal complications e.g. Fat Embolism Syndrome, Necrotising Fasciitis, Deep Venous Thrombosis (Leg Clots), Pulmonary Embolism, Peritonitis from Abdominal Wall Perforation.

Complications can occur after any surgical procedure or anaesthesia but in reality fatalities due to liposuction when performed in accordance with established safety guidelines are very rare.

Fat Embolism Syndrome occurs when numerous tiny fat globules enter the bloodstream and lodge in the lungs and/or brain. It is more often seen after major fractures or crush injuries involving injury to the bone marrow than after liposuction.

Similarly, Necrotising Fasciitis, an inflammation and breakdown of the fascia (the enveloping sheath) of the underlying muscles is also very rare and is not unique to liposuction.

Deep Venous Thrombosis and the possibility that the clot could dislodge and travel to the lungs can be potentially fatal.

Pulmonary Embolisms are risks associated with any surgery.

Peritonitis can ensue from accidental perforation of a hidden abdominal wall hernia or the abdominal wall itself.

These risks are rare however it is important to be informed of risks of any surgical procedure.

Adverse Reactions to Anaesthesia or Medications

The safety of anaesthesia nowadays in Australia is well established. Nevertheless, potential risks exist with any operation and unexpected reactions can occur. These include nausea, vomiting, allergic reactions with skin rash and itching, or more severe reactions producing convulsions, coma or death. Respiratory and heart failure are unusual complications of anaesthesia. They are, however, documented risks. Heart attack and stroke are additional rare risks.

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