Getting rid of fat by sucking it all away

Tumescent liposuction, where the surgeon makes small cuts in the skin to insert a vaccum tube that will suck your fat away, is the most common type of liposuction. — vectorjuice/Freepik

When we last talked about cosmetic surgery, we talked about procedures I could have done on my face. But I think I am also rather overweight. I tried and tried to diet and exercise, but I keep putting the kilos back on. Is there any type of cosmetic procedure that can suck the fat out of my body?

Liposuction is a procedure that uses suction to remove fat from certain areas of your body.

Also called lipoplasty or body contouring, it can also shape or contour the areas that you choose.

Which areas of my body can I do liposuction on?

Liposuction can be done on the areas of your body that have not, and cannot, respond to your dieting and exercise methods, such as:

  • The abdomen
  • Upper arms
  • Buttocks
  • Chin and neck
  • Hips and thighs
  • Calves and ankles
  • Cheeks and back
  • Breasts (if you desire breast size reduction, which is not that common among Asian women, or for treatment of gynaecomastia or male breast growth).
Great! I have been having huge upper arms for the longest time. I can’t wait to get them liposuctioned.

Before you think liposuction is the do-all, cure-all method for your overweight issues, think again.

You are more likely to lose weight through determined and strict dieting and exercise.

You should also consider gastric bypass surgery (a bariatric procedure) that renders your stomach volume smaller if you are morbidly obese.

You will then feel full faster while eating and won’t be inclined to eat so much.

Bariatric surgery as a procedure is far more effective than liposuction.

But don’t forget that if you cannot curb your eating habits, the fat is likely to all come back!

An ethical doctor won’t consider doing liposuction on you unless you have a stable body weight, and you only want to lose fat in certain areas that are resistant to your other methods.

Note that I said “ethical” doctor; some clinics are not ethical and are out to take your money at all costs.

What does liposuction actually do? Does it liquefy my fat and suck it out?

When you put on weight, your fat cells actually not only increase in volume, but also increase in size!

There are many types of liposuction procedures:

  • Tumescent liposuction

    This is the most common type.

    The surgeon injects a salt-and-water mixture, an anaesthetic and a drug that causes your blood vessels to constrict into the area that is being treated, causing the whole area to swell up.

    The surgeon then makes little cuts into your skin.

    He inserts a tube into the cuts and connects it to a vacuum, which sucks the fats and fluids out.

    Meanwhile, your body fluids will be replenished through an IV (intravenous) line.

  • Ultrasound-assisted liposuction

    The difference between this and the previous method is the use of ultrasound.

    A rod inserted under your skin emits ultrasonic waves, which breaks down the fat for easier removal.

  • Laser-assisted liposuction

    Similar to ultrasound-assisted liposuction, but this uses laser light instead.

  • Power-assisted liposuction

    The rod vibrates rapidly in this method, allowing the surgeon to pull the fat out more easily.

    This technique causes less pain and swelling.

    Surgeons usually select this technique if large volumes of fat need to be reduced.

After liposuction, will my fat loss in that area be permanent?

The contour changes are permanent most of the time, as long as your weight remains stable.

But if you keep on overeating, you may gain fat in other areas, especially the abdomen.

After the procedure, your skin moulds itself over the area of fat loss.

It will appear smooth if you have generally good skin tone and elasticity.

However, if your skin is aged and less elastic, then the skin may hang loose.

How long will I take to recover from liposuction?

Immediately after the procedure, you will have some pain, swelling and bruising.

You will be given pain medications, and possibly antibiotics.

Your surgeon may place a temporary drainage device to drain the affected area.

You may need to wear tight compression clothing to reduce the swelling for a few weeks.

You will not usually be given a medical certificate (MC) for this procedure because it is cosmetic, so you may need to take a few days off work on your own.

You should be able to resume exercising after a few weeks.

It will take several months for the results to be visible.

Dr YLM graduated as a medical doctor, and has been writing for many years on various subjects such as medicine, health, computers and entertainment. For further information, email The information contained in this column is for general educational purposes only. Neither The Star nor the author gives any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to such information. The Star and the author disclaim all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.

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