Deposits of fat build up in specific parts of the body whose cause is genetically determined and which are hard to break down by dieting and doing sport. The typical places are located on the outside and inside of the thighs, on the stomach and on the sides («love handles»). Liposuction is used to permanently remove the fat cells from the deep fatty tissue stores, which helps to correct the body shape or the figure; weight is not reduced, however. For liposuction to work, the skin must be very elastic.
The operation involves making 3mm incisions close to the problem zones. The fatty tissue is drawn off using a solution comprising a local anaesthetic filled with adrenalin added (tumescent technique). This facilitates pain-free liposuction and prevents both loss of blood and the formation of post-operative bruises. Fine cannulas (3-4mm diameter) are used to draw off the fat deposits. A liposuction device featuring oscillating cannula ends (power-assisted lipoplasty) makes it easier to penetrate the fatty tissue and hence to shape the tissue more precisely. Besides the regions mentioned above, liposuction is also used to correct the following problem zones: knee, lower leg, double chin, throat, neck, male chest enlargement, upper arms, and so on.
1-3 hours (depending on extent).
Local anaesthetic with sedation (half-sleep), regional anaesthetic (spinal/peridural) or general anaesthetic (depending on the extent and the patient’s wish).
Mostly day-patient (operation and recovery room, discharge on the same day); in-patient for extended liposuction procedures.
The use of a long-lasting local anaesthetic in the tumescent solution means that the sense of pain does not return until 12-24 hours later. Minor pain is felt (similar to stiff muscles or a burning sensation) that can be countered effectively using common painkillers. The compression garment is worn constantly for one week. Although swellings and bruises are still evident during the first check of the liposuction success, the change in shape is already visible. The compression clothing must be worn day and night for 4 weeks, by when the swelling and bruises have generally reduced. The definitive result is not achieved until 6-12 months after the operation, as the shape and the tissue can still stabilize up until then on account of scar formation in the fat tissue.
Cellulite (orange peel skin) cannot be corrected. Asymmetry, waves and dents: subsequent corrections are necessary in 5-10% of cases. Secondary bleeding, seroma (collection of tissue liquid that has to be drained off), scar problems, circulation problems caused by excess liquid and infections occur in rare cases.
Work: 1-2 weeks (office). Physical exertion: 2-3 weeks. Final result: after 6-12 months.
Permanent. Should weight be gained later on, the volume is distributed equally over the whole body and does not gather in isolation in the former problem zones.