Liposuction is a safe, healthy treatment used to reshape the human body. Technological advancements have allowed this treatment to become more accessible than ever before, meaning it is no longer a surgery reserved for the rich and famous alone.
Patients of the enRich Clinic have come from all over Australia to seek Dr. Michael Rich’s expertise in liposuction. Dr. Rich is widely regarded as one of liposuction’s pioneers, being amongst the first surgeons to perform the surgery in the country. With a long and respected history in the medical field, Dr. Rich’s safe and reliable treatments have been coupled with consistently excellent results. This impeccable track record has provided Dr. Rich with a reputation he is proud of, and his practice has come to be considered one of the best in Melbourne. Having performed liposuction for over 20 years, Dr. Rich has a wealth of expertise to offer patients considering liposuction.
If you are considering undergoing liposuction yourself, it is important to keep in mind the practical nature of the procedure. Liposuction is not a means of drastic weight loss, instead, it is most appropriate and effective for people who have tried and failed to ‘trim down’ via natural means – through the use of diet and exercise.
Liposuction is also widely used for treatment of an additional condition; hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis is a condition marked by excessive sweating, which can not only be uncomfortable, but is often also embarrassing. Instead of removing fat cells, the application of liposuction treatments to patients experiencing hyperhidrosis involves the removal of sweat glands.
For patients of the enRich Clinic, it is a great advantage that Dr. Rich prefers to use the ‘tumescent’ liposuction technique. While some physicians are incapable of performing this treatment, Dr. Rich is highly skilled in this form liposuction and a great believer of its benefits, with the tumescent approach having far more predictable results and fewer risks for patients.
The amount of treatments required to achieve the desired results varies from patient to patient. While in most instances the liposuction can be completed in a single treatment session, cases requiring more comprehensive treatment and the elimination of large amounts of fat may require multiple appointments. Single treatment sessions that involve the removal of very minor amounts of fat are often termed ‘liposculpture’, rather than liposuction. These two terms are actually interchangeable, yet liposculpture generally refers to less intensive treatments applied to the outer thighs or chin.
In tumescent liposuction, a tumescent fluid is applied to fatty pockets residing in the area from which fat is to be removed. This fluid is actually an anaesthetic solution composed of a dilute local anaesthetic (called lignocaine), adrenaline and sodium bicarbonate. The use of aenesthetic numbs the treatment area, preventing the patient from experiencing discomfort during liposuction. Adrenaline is another important ingredient in this anesthetic solution as it causes temporary shrinkage of blood vessels, which reduces excessive bleeding. Finally, the incorporation of sodium bicarbonate encourages softening of the fat intended to be removed, increasing the amount of fat that can be easily extracted during surgery. This tumescent fluid gives great advantage to liposuction over alternative forms of fat removal as it not only reduces trauma to the body, but also the recovery time required to heal following surgery.
It is natural to feel apprehension prior to any form of surgery, and feelings of unease before undergoing liposuction are not only common, they’re expected. In order to reduce these concerns, it is valuable for patients to familiarize themselves with the precise details of their treatment. These details are likely to change between patients in order for doctors to address the unique and specific needs of each individual. However, we have constructed a brief, general outline in order to help patients familiarise themselves with the tumescent liposuction procedure. These precise elements are subject to change, and are best understood in consultation with your doctor.
The following is a brief outline of the tumescent liposuction procedure.
- Dr Rich in conjunction with the patient maps the areas to be suctioned
- Some patients require more powerful forms of sedation. If so, they will meet with a professional anesthetist upon their admission to enRich’s day surgery clinic. Patients who do not require this sedation are generally undergoing less intensive, smaller of liposuctions. Their treatment is performed in the enRich Theatre located at the Armadale rooms.
- Treatment begins with the injection of local anesthetic in the areas from which fat is to be removed.
- Tumescent fluid is then applied to the treatment sites. To do this, Dr. Rich uses a fine infiltrating instrument to tunnel into the fatty areas of concern.
- Sensation in the treatment area will then retreat, becoming numb. Following this, an instrument powered by an aspirator machine will be used to suck the fat globules into a canister.
- During this suctioning process, Dr. Rich will use his expertise to shape and contour your body in order to maximise the aesthetic benefits of treatment. It is this stage of liposuction where the advantage of having a skilled surgeon is immeasurable.
Every liposuction treatment begins with a pre-procedure consultation. During this time, a specialist nurse will discuss the liposuction procedure with the prospective patient in order to ensure they understand the exact nature of treatment. This is also an opportunity for the patient to examine photos of the results of previous clients of the enRich clinic, and to develop a realistic understanding of the changes liposuction can provide. It is vital that patients understand liposuction as a medical procedure, and as such they must consider both the benefits and risks of treatment. Consultation allows discussion of these factors and is intended to make sure patients have made their decision to undergo surgery with appropriate consideration of its realities.
Should the consultation be successful, Dr. Rich will then examine the areas of the body to be treated, following which he will discuss the details of liposuction with the prospective patient, as well as what this procedure can achieve. Before leaving the clinic, a nurse will provide a variety of information sheets that patients should take their time to review before making their final decision. At this time the nurse will also provide a quotation for the costs of the procedure.
All patients who then decide to undertake the liposuction procedure at the enRich Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery Centre will attend an additional appointment prior to their procedure. This meeting is an opportunity to discuss additional details of their procedure, to have their own pre-procedure photographs taken and their full medical history reviewed. This will include blood tests and the like. Patients will also be advised of any medications they may need to stop taking prior to the procedure in order to avoid complications any possible complications.
Before Your Liposuction Procedure
Before surgery, a complete medical history is taken and a careful examination is conducted in order to evaluate your condition. During the consultation, Dr Rich and his nurse will describe the procedure and what results you might realistically expect. They will also explain any alternative treatment options and explain the possible risks and complications that may occur.
Photographs are taken before and after the liposuction procedure to help evaluate the improvement.
The Liposuction Recovery Process
Immediately following the liposuction procedure, your attending physician will apply dressings and a specialized compression garment to the treatment area. The firm applications of these help your body’s removal of any remaining tumescent fluid and provide support in order to accelerate the healing process. It is important for patients to be aware that this residual tumescent fluid can continue to leak from treatment areas for between 24 and 72 hours following surgery. This fluid appears to have a pink tinge, and should not be cause for concern.
Fortunately, due to the local anesthetic used in tumescent liposuction treatments, post-operative discomfort is greatly reduced. This anesthetic is likely to continue having effects for 12 – 24 hours following liposuction surgery, and during this time patients can be expect to be relatively pain free. Patients are also likely to be drowsy during this time period, although the extent of this experience varies depending on the incorporation of sedation in treatment.
In regards to the healing process, the tumescent liposuction treatment has great advantages over other forms of liposuction. Aside from minimal bruising, there should be relatively few side effects. In fact, in most cases, post-operative pain relief medication is not even required. Furthermore, most patients find they are able to return to work within two days of treatment, and minor physical exercise can be undergone immediately. Strenuous exercise should be avoided until the patient feels comfortable, which will typically be within 72 hours of treatment.
Recovery is usually fast. Some patients return to a desk-type job within 48 hours. Generally patients return to work after a few days rest, however this does vary according to the individual.
Physical exercise can normally be resumed when the patient feels comfortable doing so. Light exercise immediately following the procedure, such as a walk is beneficial and encouraged to gain quick mobility.
Finally, it is vital for liposuction patients to understand that this recovery period will vary from person to person. Paying attention to your body is the best way of determining your capabilities, and should you be uncertain it is best to consult with your doctor. Furthermore, the results of liposuction can take from weeks to months to become apparent. This depends on the individual circumstances of the patient, as well as the specific treatment area. Improvements as a result of treatment have also been commonly known to improve for as long as six months following liposuction.
Considerations, Risks and Complication
Liposuction does not replace a healthy lifestyle. Sensible eating and exercise is necessary to maintain your weight, which is the foundation of good liposuction results.
As is the case for any medical procedure, liposuction is accompanied by a number of risks that must be considered prior to undergoing treatment. These risks primarily take the form of infection, which can occur either at incision sites or as a case of seroma, in which the residual tumescent fluid becomes infected. These risks are reduced by the utilisation of antibiotics both before and after the liposuction procedure.
Patients must also understand that liposuction is not an alternative to a healthy lifestyle. A regime of healthy eating and exercise are also necessary in order to retain the improved aesthetic appearance it provides.
For patients who have been overweight for an extensive period of time, and those who have borne several children, it is worth noting an increased potential for poor skin elasticity. This can affect the appearance of the final results of liposuction. These problems can be overcome with the inclusion of additional forms of cosmetic surgery alongside liposuction treatment. To understand if this should be a cause for concern, it is vital to undergo consultation with a medical professional.
Serious complications are a rarely occur as a result of liposuction, yet it is important to mention their possibility to ensure patients are fully informed prior to undertaking treatment. Remember, many of these serious complications are exactly the same for all types of surgery, both medical and cosmetic, and for all people. Knowledge of these risks, hence, should not act as a deterrent for undergoing surgery. Instead this information should emphasise the importance of a patient’s choice of surgeon. By choosing an experienced physician with a successful history of performing liposuction, such as Dr. Rich, the likelihood of being exposed to these risks is greatly reduced. These risks include:
- Poor, unskilled and misguided use of the cannula (which is used to suction fat in the liposuction procedure) can cause damage to bodily tissue. When this occurs, skin in the surrounding area can often retain a spotted appearance.
- Dying skin, or skin necrosis, has been seen as an unwanted side effect of liposuction. Instances of this ailment are few and far between, but cases have been reported.
- Injury to internal organs. This is an incredibly rare occurrence and is generally the result of a surgeon’s misguided use of the canulla. As this problem only occurs as a result of significant surgeon error, the choice of an experienced medical professional serves as the best guarantee of such injury occurring.
- Much in the way that misuse of the cannula can damage internal organs, there have also been instances in which there has been contact between the device and a patient’s nerves. In these cases, patients often contract friction burns. Fortunately advancing technologies have reduced these risks by incorporating ultrasound into the liposuction process.
- Asymmetric body contours are also the result of surgeon error, and are the mark of amateur liposuction. The risk for this occurrence is also higher for older patients and those with excessive skin elasticity. While this problem should not occur, it is quite simple to remedy using additional liposuction treatment. Patients should also remember that the appearance of their bodily contours will continue to improve for months after surgery.
- Liposuction is also known to hold minimal risk for the conditions of thromboembolism and fat embolisation.
- The incorrect use or composition of the tumescent fluid in liposuction has been seen to result in lignocaine poisoning. Obviously, as an industry leader, enRich has numerous safeguards against this occurring. Undertaking liposuction in a disreputable clinic does increase this risk, and this is an issue considering lignocaine poisoning is potentially life threatening.
- Liposuction surgeons must also ensure they closely monitor fluids added to and leaving the body during treatment. Should this not be done, the patient risks experiencing a fluid imbalance, which can cause injury to their internal organs.
Once again it is vital to note that these risks can all be greatly reduced by taking time to choose a renowned and experienced surgeon, such as Dr. Rich. Giving due consideration and effort to the various elements of post-operative care also decreases the likelihood of any unwanted effects being obtained as a result of treatment. By carefully monitoring themselves throughout the recovery period, patients should be able to identify the symptoms of any emerging complication well before it becomes an issue.
Another issue we must re-emphasise is that liposuction is not intended to be a substitute for a healthy lifestyle. Liposuction is a shaping or sculpting procedure, not intended to result in drastic weight loss but aims to improve bodily proportionalities. Liposuction is best applied to stubborn fat deposits that have been unresponsive to attempts to remove them naturally. Patients who have experienced obesity for a large period of time and those who have given birth to a number of children should also be aware that they are likely to have greater skin elasticity than the average patient. This issue should be addressed in consultation with a liposuction surgeon, but it is worth noting that these cases may benefit from additional forms of cosmetic treatment.
Is liposuction safe?
Liposuction by the ‘tumescence technique’ was founded as a direct result of the high risks in liposuction prior to 1987. American dermatologist Dr Jeffery Klein, designed the tumescence technique in 1987 and it is now renowned as changing the way liposuction is performed worldwide and improving liposuctions safety rates.
What areas can liposuction be used for?
- chin / neck / jowls
- breasts / chest
- bra bulge (axillary folds)
- back flanks
- love handles
- calves & ankles
What are the limitations of liposuction?
Liposuction is not intended as a method for weight loss. It is used as a shaping procedure for areas where hereditary fat deposits have been resistant to healthy diet and exercise. The best results from liposuction occur in body areas where there is reasonable muscle tone and where skin has good elastic quality. In cases where there is a significant loss of tone or elasticity other cosmetic procedures such as abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) may be necessary.
‘Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.’
If you would like to find out more about liposuction in Melbourne contact us for a FREE liposuction consultation with one of our specialist cosmetic nurses on 03 9500 9500