Liposuction: How does it work? Types and Benefits

Liposuction, commonly called Lipo, is a cosmetic surgery that removes fat from unwanted areas in the body. It is a minimally invasive surgery that is also called Body Contouring or Lipoplasty surgery. Liposuction is the second most common cosmetic surgery in the world with 1.5 million surgeries worldwide. India reports about seventy five thousand liposuction surgeries every year with a good number of liposuction surgeries in Kerala  and Southern India due to its affordable costs. The plastic surgery cost in Kerala is affordable and Kerala is known for one of the best healthcare systems in India.

But what is fat? Why does it cause obesity and obesity? Why is it important to lose this fat? Fat are macro nutrients such as carbohydrates and proteins made of fatty acids. The main functions of fat is to provide energy to the body, absorb vitamins such as A, B and D and provide insulation to the body. But when fat is not utilized by the body it starts building up in blood vessels and under the skin as adipose tissues. When body starts accumulating fat it gets obese or over-weight. Obesity and overweight are problems that may cause hypertension, diabetes, strokes, coronary heart disease and all together under performing and poor lifestyle. Therefore, it is important to lose excess fat from the body.

While diet and exercising are the best methods to remove excessive fat from the body, some people do not get preferred results even after trying long and hard. These people can opt for liposuction surgery. The zones or areas in the body where liposuction can be carried out are abdomen (lower, upper and side flanges), arms, thighs, chin, upper back and lower back.

Liposuction can be performed by plastic surgeons only. Before the surgery the surgeon and patient will discuss problem zones. Blood investigation and ultrasound will be done before the surgery in order to know any pre-existing medical condition of the patient.

After this the patient is admitted for the procedure. The patient is made to sign a consent form.  Before shifting the patient to the operation theater a pre anesthetic check is done. In the operation theater zone on the body for the surgery is marked by the surgeons. The patient is administered with anesthesia and then the surgical procedure is carried out. The incisions are then stitched. Some stitches are loose so that post surgery fluid can drain from it. There are different types of liposuction procedures according to the technology used. They are as follows-


  1. Tumescent Liposuction- In this procedure, the fat layer is injected with a large amount of liquid mixture of epinephrine and a vasoconstrictor. The area gets swollen and stiff which gives the surgeon better control. Then the surgeon makes small incisions and inserts a narrow and hollow tube which is called cannula. The cannula is attached to a vacuum like machine that sucks the fat out of the body. This is the most common method of Liposuction. It is simple and the recovery is quicker.
  2. Power assisted liposuction- This procedure is like Tumescent Liposuction with the only that the surgeon continuously moves the cannula in a to and fro motion for better and quicker suction of the fat.
  3. Ultrasound assisted or VASER liposuction- In this procedure, a skinny shaft is inserted that emits ultrasound waves at 36,000 kHz. This results in cavitation. Cavitation is when microscopic air pockets in the area expand and break fat cells. This allows solid fat to become liquid which is then sucked out from the cannula inserted through the incisions. Nowadays the cannula and the ultrasound emitter are combined. This method is safer than normal liposuction as it does not injure nerves and blood vessels.

Post-surgery the patient is shifted into recovery. IV fluids, antibiotics, and painkillers are administered to the patient as the doctor finds suitable. The patient is made to wear a compression garment for some time. The result of the liposuction can be seen from 6-8 weeks after surgery. The patient is asked not to take extreme physical strain but also asked to keep the body physically active. Keeping the body active is necessary because it helps in better skin toning and tightening.

Patients with body weight more than 30% of the ideal (according to BMI) body weight cannot undergo this surgery. Other factors also include unsatisfactory skin elasticity and toning. People with issues such as heart disease and diabetes should not undergo liposuction.

It should be understood that liposuction is not a weight loss method but a medical surgery and should be done only after proper consultation.

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