It is a common and often hereditary problem to have small, localised pockets of fat that cling stubbornly to certain areas of the body. These fat deposits do not respond to diet and exercise, but can be effectively removed through a procedure known as liposuction. Our practice on the Gold Coast, Queensland offers this procedure alone or in combination with other services such as an abdominoplasty.
What is Liposuction?
Liposuction is an operation designed to smooth variations of the body shape that are not improved by diet and exercise. Narrow metal tubes are used to remove excess fat cells. These are inserted by our experienced plastic surgeon through small incisions and moved through the fat areas whilst a vacuum is applied to remove the fat. Tunnels are thus created and these are then collapsed by the use of a compression garment. This creates the new shape.
The operation is generally performed under general anaesthesia as a day case.
Liposuction can help improve the shape and sculpt areas of the body. It can be used in conjunction with other surgery to improve contours and bulky regions at the site of the surgery or trauma.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified practitioner.
Who is a candidate for Liposuction?
An ideal liposuction patient will have an initial consultation with Dr Craig Layt, where it will be determined whether the procedure is right for the individual. The best candidate is someone with reasonably good skin and is close to their ideal weight. They may have localised deposits of fat that cannot be shifted with diet and exercise. The most common areas are those of the outer thighs, lower abdomen and flanks.
Liposuction vs. Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)
Liposuction and tummy tuck procedures both offer patients effective treatment options for beautifully enhanced abdominal contouring. The main difference between the two is that liposuction is designed to reduce excess fat, while tummy tuck surgery (abdominoplasty) is primarily designed to remove excess skin and fat and address other abdominal conditions. Liposuction diminishes stubborn pockets of excess fat that are resistant to diet and exercise by removing the fat through long tubes called cannulas; it cannot tighten the skin and will not have any effect on underlying musculature. An abdominoplasty removes excess skin, repairs and tightens stretched abdominal muscles, and redrapes the remaining skin to create a flatter, firmer abdomen. These procedures can be performed together if the patient shares both of these concerns and the surgeon determines the patient is a good candidate for the combined surgery.
Liposuction vs. CoolSculpting®
Liposuction and CoolSculpting® each serve the purpose of reducing excess fat pockets from various regions of the body, including the abdominal area. What sets them apart is the actual procedure to create the body contours, as well as the degree of excess fat that the treatments are capable of addressing. Liposuction is a surgical procedure, usually performed under general anaesthesia, in which small incisions are made in the treatment area. Patients with larger and more significant amounts of excess fat may find liposuction to be more beneficial for their cosmetic goals; this can be evaluated during the initial assessment with our plastic surgeon, who can recommend the best treatment plan. Alternatively, CoolSculpting® is a non-surgical fat reduction treatment that works by cooling the fat cells to a point in which they break down. The targeted fat cells should then filter out of the body via natural metabolism over the next few months. Generally, patients with mild to moderate levels of excess fat can often find success with CoolSculpting®; however, liposuction may be more ideal in cases of more severe levels of excess fat. Our surgeon will evaluate your needs during the initial consultation and determine whether liposuction or CoolSculpting® can provide the best possible outcome.
These before-and-after photos are of patients who have had surgery performed by Dr Layt. These patients have consented to the photos being shown. These are actual photos and have not been altered or digitally enhanced. Every patient is an individual and therefore final surgical results will vary from patient to patient.
Is Liposuction Safe?
Liposuction continues to be a very well-researched and clinically supported surgery, with results showing it to be a generally safe and effective cosmetic procedure when performed by a qualified and experienced provider. However, as with any surgery, there are some possible risks to be aware of, including excessive bruising, infection, and immoderate bleeding. Choosing a highly qualified and board-certified plastic surgeon with proper knowledge and training for liposuction can greatly help to reduce these risks. Prior to the procedure, your surgeon should complete a comprehensive examination of your medical history and overall health to determine if you’re an appropriate candidate, which may help to minimise the risk of complications.
What Can You Expect After Liposuction Surgery?
After liposuction, you will wake up with tape and a girdle in place. This must remain in place for a week. When the fat tissue is suctioned from under the skin, it leaves small tunnels. By wearing a compression garment we are able to collapse these tunnels and allow healing to occur. This also decreases bruising and swelling and helps give a more even appearance by minimizing skin sagging and dimpling. The garments are usually worn for approximately 6 weeks. Liposuction is therefore best scheduled during the winter months.
Discomfort after liposuction is generally easily controlled by oral medication. Bruising and swelling are normal in the suctioned areas. The bruising will decrease over 3 – 4 weeks, but may last as long as six weeks. The swelling can be a little slower to completely disappear. The compression garment helps reduce the swelling, and the longer it is worn, the more quickly the process will proceed.
What are the Potential Risks of Liposuction?
Contemporary liposuction is safer and more effective than ever before. It is, however, a surgical procedure and all surgery carries some risk. By following the pre and post-operative instructions provided by Dr Craig Layt, you can minimise the chances of complication and speed healing.
Surgery is not an exact science. Incisions and scars are part of any surgery and the location and extent of the incisions will be discussed with you. Every effort is made by the surgeon to minimise scarring. Scars will fade over time, but they are permanent. They can also become hypertrophic or keloid. Scars vary from person to person and are related to each individual’s skin type, genetics and the ability of their skin to heal.
Every surgical procedure involves certain risks and complications (as per the ASPS brochure) including, but not limited to:
Asymmetry is evident physically in every person. No two sides of the body are ever exactly symmetrical in shape, position or size and the surgeon will make every effort to achieve as close to symmetry as possible but some asymmetry is normal.
Delayed Healing and Infection can all be possible healing issues and may require antibiotics or in some cases surgical exploration.
Bleeding, Haematoma or Seroma Collections may resolve themselves but, in some cases may require further surgery.
Loss of Sensation and Numbness may also be experienced. In most cases this will improve over time on its own. In some cases this can be permanent.
Bruising and Swelling may also be a short term effect from surgery and will usually settle in one to two weeks.
Allergies to dressings, medical lotions, sutures or other materials can occur with some patients. You will be advised to cease the use of the dressing, lotion or material that is causing the reaction. In some cases anti-inflammatory medication may be prescribed.
Pain thresholds vary from patient to patient. This may lead to different pain management and/or different recovery times to resume normal activities.
Achieving excellent results with minimal risk is a joint effort. It is important to disclosed to the surgeon and clinic and understand the following:
Full disclosure of your medical history including: allergies, personal, physical and mental history, previous surgeries, current medications and co-morbidities (including but not limited to, smoking, vaping, diabetes, prescription and illegal drug addictions, blood or heart disease, obesity or anorexia).
Co-morbidities may impact on outcome and healing post surgery.
Smoking, vaping, or taking recreational drugs must be ceased in the 6 weeks prior to some operations and during the healing phase. Failure to do so may increase the risk of complications, decrease your healing ability and affect your surgical outcome.
You should not take aspirin based prescription drugs 14 days prior to surgery and during the healing phase of the operation unless advised otherwise by the surgeon.
As per the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), all non-rebatable (cosmetic) procedures require a validated screening of Body Dysmorphia to be undertaken.
If Dr Layt is concerned about your mental state or physical state prior to the procedure, he may request evaluation by a psychologist, psychiatrist, general practitioner or other specialist. This referral is to assess your suitability, increased risks during surgery or any underlying physical or psychological problems which may affect your recovery or mental health.
In some cases this may require surgery to be postponed or cancelled by the doctor in his primary role to consider your care and personal well-being.
All surgery carries risks and it is important to understand these.
Every patient is an individual and therefore final surgical results will vary from patient to patient. Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified practitioner.
What are the Side Effects of Liposuction?
Similar to other surgical procedures, liposuction carries the same possibility of side effects during the patient’s recovery period. This may include temporary bruising, swelling, redness, numbness, and soreness around the treatment area. Depending on the complexities of the procedure, these symptoms typically ease within a few days to a few weeks following surgery. It is important for patients to adhere to all of their surgeon’s post-procedure recommendations in order to safely heal and achieve optimal treatment results. Dr Layt practices his clinic’s motto, “Restore Rejuvenate Respect,” by ensuring each of his patients receives thorough aftercare and follow-up instructions each step of the way.
How Noticeable are Liposuction Scars?
Generally, liposuction scars can be minimal and may even continue to visibly diminish over time. The incisions made for the liposuction procedure typically measure less than one inch long, which enables the size of the scars to be quite small. When possible, incisions are placed in the natural lines and contours of the body so that visible scarring may be at least partially concealed upon healing. Additionally, patients have benefitted from the use of sun protection and scar-lightening ointments on the treatment area once scars have fully developed to assist with the fading process.
Specific Pre-Operative Instructions
WASHING: Wash the evening prior to surgery and the day of surgery paying particular attention to the area to be operated on. This decreases the bacterial count and should decrease the risks of infection.
PRODUCTS: Do not apply moisturisers, make-up, perfume/deodorant, nail polish or hair products after washing. Remove all jewellery.
CLOTHING: Wear loose, comfortable clothing and footwear.
FASTING: You should have nothing to eat or drink for six hours before your operation. If you are required to take medication during this time please speak with your physician to check if this can be taken before the six hour fasting period or after your procedure.
MEDICATION: If you are having the operation as a day case, you will be given a script for antibiotics and pain relief tablets that you will need to purchase from the chemist and bring with you on the day of your procedure. Do not take these prior to surgery. The nursing staff will advise you and your carer after your procedure on how to administer them.
Certain over the counter products and prescription medicines can cause complications before and after surgery. They can reduce the ability of your blood to clot and could increase your tendency to bleed during and after surgery. Do not take any medication containing or related to aspirin two weeks prior to your procedure. This includes NSAIDs, anti-Inflammatory medications, blood thinning medication. Please see your doctor regarding if and when to cease medication. *This is not an all inclusive list*.
Also avoid Vitamin E supplements and red wine. Stop all herbal medications before surgery. The most common herbs used are Echinacea, Ephedra, Garlic, Ginseng, Ginkogo, Kava, St. John’s Wort, and Valerian. They may adversely affect anesthetic drugs, prolong bleeding and impair healing after surgery. Please consult your physician before ceasing any medication.
SMOKING: Smoking and vaping increases the risks of complications significantly and should be ceased 6 – 8 weeks prior to surgery.
ADMINISTRATION: Unfortunately, paperwork is a necessary evil. Each theatre complex has its own procedures. We have attempted to make it all easy by providing a simple series of steps to follow titled “THINGS TO DO FOR YOUR PROCEDURE” specific to the surgery center you are attending. Please follow these instructions. If you have any queries about this or anything else don’t hesitate to contact us on (07) 5597 4100.
Specific Post-Operative Instructions
TAPING: Dr Layt may decide to cover some or all of your suctioned areas with elastic tape. Please remove this prior to your 1st post-operative visit approximately 1 week after surgery. This is best done in the shower, wetting the tape and gradually removing. Bring your second garment to your appointment and we will fit it after you have been accessed.
COMPRESSION GARMENT: Dr Layt will place taping and a compression garment on you after surgery. The extra pressure this garment provides helps reduce swelling and discomfort. You can shower with the garment on, using a hairdryer to dry yourself or bird bath. You should not remove this garment at all until your appointment with Dr Layt, approximately one week after surgery. After that, you can remove the garment for showering and rotate your garments daily for laundering. We want you to have circumferential pressure for 4 to 6 weeks. In some cases, patients may also wear firm fitting workout wear. The fabric should be very firm fitting with consistent compression of the areas treated.
ICE PACKS: A significant amount of bruising accompanies liposuction. Ice packs can be helpful with both swelling and discomfort. After liposuction of the abdomen, it is not uncommon for the groin and genitalia to become markedly swollen and bruised. Do not be alarmed! The swelling and bruises will go away within several weeks. Ice packs will help the discomfort and swelling.
LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE: You may require Lymphatic drainage appointments depending on the size and area of liposuction. These appointments are complimentary treatments with our Para Medical Aesthetician or Nurse. Each appointment will take approximately one hour.
SUNLIGHT: Protect the bruised areas from the sun until the bruising fades completely.
ACTIVITY: You may start walking immediately. You may continue the activities of daily living as you feel able. Do not return to strenuous activities or aerobic exercise for 2 – 3 weeks.
TED STOCKINGS: You may be required to wear TED stockings for compression to prevent DVT (blood clotting) post-operatively. If required these will be fitted at the hospital on your admission day. The nursing staff will advise you on how long you need to wear these for.
MEDICATION: Take your pain relief and antibiotic medication as directed. Any medication you ceased prior to surgery must not be taken after your surgery until you are completely healed or as directed by your physician.
Liposuction is one of the many advanced plastic surgery procedures we offer here at The Layt Clinic. Other options include breast surgery, facelift, non-surgical cosmetic enhancement, and many others. Dr. Layt will be happy to talk with you about additional options if you are considering a more comprehensive cosmetic makeover.
For more information about liposuction, contact our Gold Coast practice in Queensland. We will do our best to answer all of your questions, or we can schedule a consultation for you with Dr Craig Layt. Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified practitioner.