Don't take shortcuts to slim down

Though liposuction is considered the easiest and safest fat removal procedure, experts say it is not as simple as the general notion.

A large number of women have started opting for liposuction after mistaking it as a shortcut to weight loss surgery, but they are wrong. Liposuction is a body contouring procedure and not a weight loss surgery. If not done by a certified and well-skilled surgeon, it leads to excessive loss of blood and fluid, shock, fat and blood clot and ultimately, death.

It is important to understand that liposuction is a cosmetic surgery that removes fat from sites like abdomen, thighs, buttocks, neck and back of arms. When the fat is removed, the body gets a good shape.

Bariatric surgery vs liposuction
Bariatric surgery is aimed at weight loss. Liposuction is aimed at body contouring by removal of excess pockets of stubborn fat not responding to dieting, exercises or any other weight loss process. Liposuction helps shape up the body and there is a limit which should not be transgressed. Dr V.K. Sri Nagesh, senior consultant, plastic and cosmetic surgeon at Apollo Hospitals, explains, “Liposuction is done by qualified and well-trained plastic surgeons, and not by dieticians, gym trainers or even doctors who are into counselling of weight loss and fat loss methods. A number of beauticians use the word ‘non-surgical liposuction’ which is wrong because there is no such procedure.”

Unfortunately, in India, a lot of people get procedures done from unqualified people which result in mishaps. Dr Nagesh explains, “Liposuction is a procedure where surgery is the only method to deal with stubborn fat which is not being lost despite alternate methods.”

Multiple sittings required
In one sitting, only 4 to 5 litres of fat can be sucked out depending on the areas of stubborn fat and elasticity of the skin.

Liposuction carried under general anaesthesia carries more risk than local anaesthesia. Dr B. Sugunakar Reddy, senior plastic and cosmetic surgeon at Yashoda Hospitals, explains, “As only 4 to 5 litres of fat is suctioned safely in one sitting, the loss is not more than 5 kg. There are many more sittings required and only after that can the limit of 10 to 20 kg be met. A large weight loss in one sitting is done only through bariatric surgery.”

Liposuction is suggested for patients who have disharmonious obesity. A young girl having bulging fat near the buttocks, bulging tummy while other parts of the body are thin and a man with enlarged breast are examples of disproportionate fat. Loins, arms, fat under the chin, enlarged breasts, buttocks and thighs are areas which can be improved in shape when they accumulate more fat.

Dr Reddy says, “Post liposuction, pressure garments are prescribed to reduce the accumulation of blood in the operated part and to improve the retraction of skin. It must be religiously used for 4 to 6 weeks. The final results are usually seen six weeks after reduction of the operative oedema and elastic retraction of the skin.”

Safest fat removal procedure
Liposuction is a surgical procedure where excess fat under the skin is removed through tiny cuts or punctures which are not very obvious. This procedure was started around 1920 and was popularised by a French plastic surgeon Dr Vyes-Gerard Illouz in 1982. Since then, liposuction is the most performed safest procedure when done by properly trained plastic surgeons. Death is a very rare occurrence.

Things to remember
1. Before opting for liposuction the doctors have to evaluate the patient accordingly
Health of the patient — there must be no underlying disease or co-morbid condition.
Volume of fat, skin folds.
Areas involved and requirement to shape them properly.

2. Patients must choose a board-certified plastic surgeon for this procedure.
3. Age of the patient does not matter but it must be understood that a candidate for liposuction is not a candidate for bariatric surgery.
4. The patient’s BMI must be less than 35 and it must be seen whether body contouring will help.

Dos and don’ts after operation
1. Use elastic stockings prescribed by the doctor.
2. Avoiding aspirin-related drugs (they may promote bleeding) and early ambulation will reduce complications.
3. Follow the diet chart, ensure timely food intake and avoid high calorie and junk food.
4. Go for a light walk, but no running. Light activity at home can be done. Too much strenuous activity can lead to blood accumulation. This must be strictly followed for two weeks.
5. Use elastic garments as prescribed to get the best results.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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