Liposuction: What To Expect And The Potential Complications

Find out about the liposuction procedure and potential complications

When you’ve committed to a healthier lifestyle to get in shape, sometimes you still need a little extra help to shift stubborn fat from areas around the abdomen or hips. Dr Tim Papadopoulos, Specialist Plastic Surgeon and Immediate Past President of the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), explains how body sculpting procedures like liposuction can help.

Liposuction Procedure

This effective procedure sculpts the body by removing small pockets of fat from specified areas. Advances in procedural techniques have made liposuction, which is also known as ‘lipoplasty’ or ‘suction lipectomy,’ more precise and with less downtime.

Women and men choose liposuction to treat many different areas on the body, including the abdomen, hips, buttocks, thighs, knees, upper arms, chin, cheeks and neck. This procedure, if performed by a Specialist Plastic Surgeon, is safe and effective and can help people with a wide range of cosmetic needs to remove stubborn areas of fat that appear to be resistant to traditional weight loss methods.

What To Expect

Having liposuction requires patients to be anaesthetised. Therefore your surgery should take place in a hospital setting with the services of a Specialist Anaesthetist present to ensure you are in safe hands.

The duration of the surgery will depend on the amount of liposuction being performed, i.e. are you having just your stomach done, or are you having your love handles and thighs operated on as well?

One of the biggest concerns for patients wanting liposuction is ending up with a smooth result. While there have been many improvements in techniques and the tools available to surgeons, this is the main reason why you should seek out the services of a Specialist Plastic Surgeon to have this procedure performed. A Specialist Plastic Surgeon will take the time to ensure the procedure is performed properly, using the latest surgical techniques to provide the best outcome, and any potential risks are minimised.

Potential Complications

While complications are uncommon if you have sought the services of a Specialist Plastic Surgeon, some risks are associated with liposuction include infection, bleeding, nerve injury or temporary numbness and in rare cases, superficial thrombophlebitis which is where veins become palpable, reddish and tender. Occasionally, irregularities or grooves in the skin of the hips and thighs may be exacerbated on a background of cellulite.

It’s important to remember there are risks associated with any surgery and your Specialist Plastic Surgeon should go over these thoroughly with you during your consultation.

Post-Liposuction Surgery

Bruising and swelling are common following liposuction surgery and usually disappear after two or three weeks.

Depending on the amount of fat extracted you may also be left with excess skin. It’s important to give yourself an appropriate amount of time to heal following your surgery and for your skin texture to naturally bounce back before judging whether or not the procedure has been successful.

Following the procedure, you will be required to wear some form of compression garment to reduce swelling and help the overall healing process. This will also help assist with your physical discomfort as the garment does restrict your movement somewhat.

Most patients return to work in five to ten days, depending on the extent of the procedure. The final results will be apparent over the longer-term, however, most patients will start to see visible results in four to eight weeks. The duration of these results will vary from patient to patient as changes in weight and the continued ageing process come into play.



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