I feel compelled to write this blog to demystify liposuction, more importantly to stress that liposuction is a serious procedure that commands safety and artistry.
Many believe liposuction is a simple procedure – small incisions, aspirating fat, close the incisions – and because of that, many will be guided perhaps by cost-only and will not do the appropriate search to find the optimal plastic surgeon to perform their procedure; worse, many will travel to lesser safe countries for their procedures, the so-called medical tourism. Medical Tourism comes with many additional health concerns.
Liposuction has the highest complication rate of all our aesthetic procedures, in part because NON-plastic surgeons often will also offer liposuction. Make sure you visit the Royal College of Canada to see which speciality your chosen surgeon was trained in. In Canada, plastic surgeons get 5 years of plastic surgery training and this assures he/she has better qualifications than a 3-day course in Cancun…
It is true that liposuction involves tiny incisions, which contribute to the dangerous feelings that liposuction is a relatively benign procedure. Yet, 1. the surgical surface area is usually the largest of all our plastic surgery procedures, think of it for a minute: liposuction is often performed in multiple areas such as abdomen, love handles back rolls, arms, neck, legs, etc. Also, 2. liposuction involves a large amount of fluid shift, with blood loss (100s of milliliters), the administration of intravenous fluid (2-3-4 litres) and the tumescence solution the surgeon injects (2-3 litres) to minimize your risk of serious bleeding. 3. The cannula is also a long rigid narrow instrument that can become a weapon if not used by experienced hands.
Liposuction is also an ART. And not everyone has an artistic eye. Creating the perfect female hourglass shape, the ideal triangular torso in males, the creation of a sexy shaped buttock, the right amount of liposuction to be done to upper arms, inner thighs, the proper ratio upper legs to lower legs to buttocks (important for everyone but even more so in patients suffering from lipedema), the necessary differences between a man and a woman, etc.
The time taken to perform the liposuction is also a determinant factor for your results. A liposuction done too fast is not only dangerous with higher risk of deeper injury but there is also a higher chance of permanent tracks in the surface skin. It is important for your surgeon to take the appropriate time to perform your procedure, to use smaller and shorter cannula when required and to turn your body completely (we call it “flipping”) during aesthesia to reach the back areas properly.
S.A.F.E. Liposuction is a newer and brilliant concept that I apply on all my patients. SAFE liposuction is a multistep process approach to body contouring consisting of 1. fat separation, 2. lipoaspiration, and 3. fat equalization. It is a process approach to body contouring that minimizes injury to surrounding structures and very importantly, minimizes surface imperfections seen sometimes after liposuction surgery. It requires more time in surgery but it is safer and it minimizes returns to surgery for a revision.
In summary, choose your aesthetic plastic surgeon carefully, one who has a good reputation and with a good team that will accompany you during your journey, a surgeon with an artistic eye, who performs unrushed surgery and who understands the final body shape you are dreaming of.
Dr Marc DuPéré, aesthetic plastic surgeon, body sculptor and artist.