The following is information regarding suction lipectomy surgery which is important to review, understand and discuss with family and/or friends before choosing to proceed with this surgery.
GOALS OF SUCTION LIPECTOMY: Suction lipectomy is a procedure that removes fat cells through small incisions utilizing surgical suction catheters. The goal of surgery is to improve body contour by removing localized accumulations of fat. This will establish more natural proportions between various areas of the body and improve the appearance both in and out of clothing. Suction lipectomy is not a treatment for generalized obesity, but rather is indicated for well-defined localized accumulations of fat. In any given patient, these goals may be only partially met.
LIMITATIONS TO THE PROCEDURE: This procedure will not improve body contour where diffuse obesity is the underlying problem. In addition, excess of loose skin will not be improved. Body contour irregularities, which are due to structures and tissues other than fat, are not improved by suction lipectomy (for example, muscle weakness or bony asymmetry). Skin dimpling (cellulite) which is present before surgery will remain after surgery. Skin elasticity is not improved by this procedure. The inability of the skin to expand over new contours from an area (i.e. stretch marks) the more difficult for the skin to shrink smoothly over the new contour after liposuction, regardless of age. This can result in skin laxity, rippling, dimpling, or other skin irregularities.
ALTERNATIVES TO THE PROCEDURE: Suction lipectomy is a purely elective procedure designed to alter body shape. Without surgery, the disproportion between various body parts will generally persist or increase. Diet and exercise may change body size, but the body shape itself is generally determined by familial traits and sexual (male vs. female) characteristics. In some instances, direct surgical removal through incisions can also alter body shape. In some patients, this may be a better choice than suction lipectomy.
SURGICAL TECHNIQUES/ ANESTHESIA/ RECOVERY: This procedure can be performed under either a general anesthetic or, if only lower body suctioning is performed, under a regional anesthetic (spinal/epidural). This is a decision that should be made after consultation with both the surgeon and the anesthesiologist. Depending upon the amount of suction to be performed, the procedure may be done as an outpatient or with an overnight stay. In certain patients, a “tumescent technique” with a pre-injection of fluids designed to decrease blood loss and bruising may be used. Multiple, short incisions are placed in the normal skin creases to allow access to the area to be suctioned. Through these incisions, suction catheters are passed and the fat accumulations noted preoperatively are reduced. The skin is generally closed with absorbable sutures and supportive steri-strips. A compression garment is placed at the end of the procedure to help reduce post-op swelling. It is generally recommended that such a garment be worn day and night for a minimum of two weeks following surgery and during the day for at least an additional two weeks. Some patients find it beneficial to wear the garment for up to six weeks. Most patients return to work within seven to ten days following surgery. You can expect to resume athletic activities such as treadmill walking and stationary cycling after 3 weeks. It is normal for body tissue, fluid, and blood to accumulate in the areas from which the fat is removed. This will result in swelling in the areas from which the fat is removed. This will result in swelling in the areas of suction for weeks to months following the procedure. Consequently, the final result of suction lipectomy may not be totally apparent for three to six months following surgery.
RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS: Due to excessive tunneling necessary to remove fat cells, significant bruising always accompanies this procedure. It may even extend beyond the areas of fat removal. Temporary, or in rare instances, permanent numbness may occur in the skin overlying the areas of suction. Serious infection is rare, but if it should occur hospitalization may be required for antibiotic treatment. In rare instances, severe infection has led to skin loss in the areas of suction. As noted above, skin dimpling, rippling, or other irregularities may result due to poor skin elasticity. Depending on the degree of skin shrinkage and swelling, there may be an asymmetry between areas of suction. The incisions utilized to insert the suction cannula usually heal well, but will leave small scars. In very rare instances pigmentation changes in the overlying skin may occur. Depending upon the amount of fat to be removed, blood loss may approach the point at which a blood transfusion is required. To prepare for this you can donate your own blood prior to surgery or blood will be provided from a blood bank if required. In rare patients, respiratory difficulties have occurred due to small amounts of suction fat leaking into the bloodstream and causing blockages within the pulmonary vessels. Even though the risk and complications cited above occur infrequently, they are the ones that are particular to the operation or of the greatest concern. Other risks and complications can occur but are uncommon.
Any and all of the risks and complications can result in additional surgery, time off work, hospitalization, and further expense to you.
The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science. Although good results are expected, there can be NO guarantee nor WARRANTY expressed or implied by anyone as to the results that may be obtained. Many factors beyond the control of the surgeon affect both short and long-term outcomes, including but not limited to each patient’s individual tendencies toward scarring, skin quality, genetic make-up, and other health factors. On occasion, secondary surgeries may be indicated or desired to obtain optimal results. If such procedures are performed, there may be additional charges incurred by you.
COMMENTS: If you are a smoker, you must quit smoking three weeks prior to surgery and after surgery. There is a much great risk of scarring, poor healing, hair loss, and skin loss in smokers. You must be off all aspirin-containing products for three weeks before and after surgery. All medications should be checked with us. You must stop all herbal medications 2 weeks prior to surgery.
If there is any item that you do not understand, please call the office. An explanation or additional information will be provided.