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All you need to know about liposuction

What is liposuction?

First and foremost: liposuction is not an overall weight-loss method nor a treatment for obesity.

Liposuction is a surgical and cosmetic procedure that permanently removes fat that you can’t seem to get rid of through diet or exercise, and as a way to improve the shape or contours of the body.

However, if the patient does not lead a healthy lifestyle following the procedure, the remaining fat cells may grow bigger.

What is liposuction used for?

The procedure is used to remove unwanted fat from:

  • Hips and thighs

  • Buttocks

  • Back and chest

  • Arms

  • Face

  • Calves and ankles

  • Chin and neck

Also, liposuction can sometimes be combined with other procedures like a facelift, breast reduction, and a tummy tuck.

Although it is usually performed for cosmetic purposes, it may be used to treat certain conditions including, lymphedema, gynecomastia, lipodystrophy syndrome, and lipomas.

Liposuction doesn't improve cellulite dimpling or other skin surface irregularities or stretch marks.

Who is an ideal candidate for liposuction?

An ideal candidate for liposuction includes people who:

  • Have a good skin elasticity and muscle tone, essential for a great outcome.

  • Don’t have a lot of excess skin.

  • Healthy individuals who do not have a life-threatening illness or medical conditions that may impair proper healing.

  • Have realistic expectations.

  • Don’t smoke.

  • Have been unsuccessful in reducing fat deposits with diet or exercise.

  • Adults within 30% of your ideal weight.

Your plastic surgeon will not recommend the procedure if you have health problems like heart disease, diabetes, or a weak immune system.

What are the risks of liposuction?

Liposuction is considered as a major surgery and has multiple risks, including:

  • Blood clots

  • Excess fluids in the lungs

  • Fat clots

  • Infection

  • Seroma

  • Internal organ punctures: This is very rare.

  • Anesthesia complications

  • Skin burns. The cannula movement may cause friction burns to the skin or nerves.

  • Hematoma

  • Swelling

  • Death

  • Changes in skin sensation and feeling

  • Numbness in the affected area.

  • Kidney and heart problems. Shifts in fluid levels as fluids are being injected and suctioned out can cause potentially life-threatening kidney, heart and lung problems.

A 2017 study on “Strategies for Reducing Fatal Complications in Liposuction” published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Global Open says that the complication rate is 5% and deaths are about 1 in 5 thousand surgeries.

When liposuction is performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon with plenty of experience and reputation in the field, complications rarely occur.

How is the liposuction procedure like?

Liposuction is usually done under general anesthesia, which is administered either by injection, intravenous sedation, or a face gas mask.

Then, your plastic surgeon makes a small quarter to a third of an inch incision on targeted areas of the body to remove excess fat tissue. Diluted local anesthesia is infused to reduce bleeding and trauma.

After, a thin hollow tube, or cannula, is inserted through the incisions to loosen excess fat using a controlled back and forth motion.

This fat is simultaneously suctioned from your body through a slender vacuum attached to the cannula.

After the surgery, your plastic surgeon closes the incisions with either removable or dissolvable sutures. A drainage tube is placed beneath the skin to collect excess fluids.

Sutures and drains are usually removed in about seven to ten days.

What should I expect after liposuction?

You should expect mild pain or discomfort in the treated areas, as well as bruising, redness and swelling.

How is the liposuction recovery like?

Antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent infection and a compression garment is prompted to wear for up to eight weeks to help reduce swelling and promote healing.

After liposuction surgery, your skin accommodates to the new contour of the treated areas. If your skin is thin and has poor elasticity, the treated areas may appear loose.

You may return to work within a few days and you should follow the recommended lymphatic massages to help drain fluid and relieve swelling.

Your plastic surgery will provide specific instructions for taking care of the surgical site, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection, concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health, and when to follow up.

You will notice some swelling that eventually fades as you recover.

When should I see the liposuction results?

Most patients experience their ultimate liposuction results after a minimum of three months after surgery.

The swelling needs to go down for you to see the final results.

How long do liposuction results lasts?

How long it actually takes before you see the final results varies from person to person.

The most important thing is maintaining your results. Patients who follow their surgeon’s instructions and guidelines regarding exercising and proper dieting are the ones with the best results.

There might be a fat distribution change if you gain weight following liposuction surgery. Simply put, your liposuction results are long-lasting if you maintain a stable weight and general fitness.

How much do liposuction costs?

In the Dominican Republic, a liposuction procedure cost ranges 3,000 to 3,500 for a single area. The price is part of an all-inclusive package that covers hospital fees, recovery house, and transportation. 

Airfare, garment, massages, and insurance is not covered in the package. 

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