The options for managing unsightly fat bumps and bulges has never been greater. Fat is present almost everywhere on the body. Certain areas of the body tend to collect and display these indiscreet deposits conspicuously limiting style choices. Fat deposits that can be reached by these treatments are limited to “subcutaneous” fat or fat that is just beneath the skin. This is revealed by the “pinch” test where fat deposits are pinched to show the extent of fat excess.
The available methods for treatment are broadly divided into invasive and non-invasive. The invasive treatment, liposuction, is the gold standard for body contour improvement with potentially dramatic change with a single session. Treatments can be performed from the neck to the calves depending on body type and the location of the fat deposits.
Liposuction requires some type of anesthesia, either local anesthesia or some type of anesthesia providing sedation for comfort. Local anesthesia involves injection of a large volume of saline solution with a “numbing” agent, i.e. Lidocaine. The solution “plumps” the fat making removal easier with less bruising and bleeding. Once the “wetting” solution has been instilled into the treatment area, multiple energy-based modalities (laser, ultrasound, RF) may be used to aid in the removal of the unwanted fat. This is followed by an “aspiration” phase, in which the fat is aspirated or “sucked out” of the site using long hollow tubes called “cannulas”.
As an invasive or surgical procedure, some form of recovery or downtime is to be expected. A brief period of drainage is to be expected, and the use of a compression garment customary to reduce post-treatment swelling. As the swelling gradually resolves over the course of the ensuing weeks to months, contour improvement progresses.
Liposuction is a relatively easy procedure, however “good” liposuction is a very intricate procedure. A thorough understanding of anatomy, aesthetics and body contour is essential. In the hands of a well trained and experienced Plastic Surgeon results can be outstanding.
The next blog will discuss the non-invasive or non-surgical treatment options now available.