How often have you lamented about your flabby arms or saggy midsection? “Oh, how I wish I could somehow melt my fats away,” is definitely a phrase that many have uttered in dismay. Fear not! There is a medical procedure that can help you in your troubles, named the Liposuction.
What is Liposuction?
Liposuction is a surgical cosmetic procedure that literally sucks fats away from any trouble spots, effectively sculpting the area leaving you with a leaner silhouette. It is a procedure whereby fats are removed from the body through suction tubes.
It is a type of cosmetic surgery done for body contouring and is usually indicated when the targeted area does not respond to exercise or diet.
If you think that that sounds too good to be true, you are not wrong – not everyone is a suitable candidate for Liposuction and there are several implications of this procedure that you have to know before scheduling a session for yourself.
Unless a large amount of fat has to be removed during surgery, Liposuction is generally an outpatient treatment and is commonly performed on the thighs, buttocks, abdomen and arm areas, under general, regional or local anaesthesia.
Liposuction is not a replacement for your gym membership!
Before you cancel your gym membership, remember that Liposuction is NOT a weight loss method and you will have to continue with a workout regime and healthy diet in order to maintain a lean physique. The targeted area for Liposuction should be one that does not respond to dieting or exercise.
There are some risks involved
As with any other surgical procedure, there are risks involved with Liposuction:
- There may be more bleeding than expected (do not take blood thinners pre-op!)
- Patient may develop an infection
- Fluid may build up under the skin, known as Seroma
- The affected area may feel numb. This sensation could be temporary or permanent.
- Poor skin elasticity may lead to saggy and loose skin. Skin in the affected area may also feel or look lumpy.
- A very rare occurrence is that the cannula (tube that is inserted into the body) may puncture an internal organ.
- As Liposuction involves additional fluid being injected into the body, the resulting fluctuation in body fluids may cause kidney and/or heart problems.
It can last forever
With regular exercise and a healthy diet and lifestyle, the effects of Liposuction can be permanent. If you gain weight after Liposuction, the weight distribution will be different as compared to before the procedure was done.
Here is the timeline for what you expect post-surgery:
- A few weeks after the procedure – swelling goes down
- 4-6 months after the procedure – The effects of Liposuction will slowly come to fruition and the targeted area will take on a leaner appearance.
Not everyone is suitable for Liposuction
Because of the possible side effects of Liposuction, as with any other surgical procedure, not everyone is a suitable candidate for the surgery.
These are the prerequisites for the procedure:
- General good health
- 18 years old and above
- Must not be obese
- Must not be pregnant or nursing
- Non-smoker. As smoking hinders the healing process post-surgery, the doctor will advise that the patient stop smoking for a while before and after the procedure.
Life continues immediately after
Most patients can return to their regular lifestyle a day or two after a Liposuction procedure. In the cases whereby a large amount of fats has been removed, the patient may require an additional 1-2 days of bed rest.
Liposuction is safe
Liposuction is the most popular cosmetic procedure in the United States and the United Kingdom, and statistics show that it is extremely safe. It is important that the surgeon who does the procedure is highly experienced and skilled.
Understandably, those who chose to undergo Liposuction are concerned with their appearance and wish to look better after surgery. Liposuction will effectively and definitely increase the patient’s confidence and resolve any body image issues that they may have had.
Discomfort and pain
The level of pain and discomfort felt by the patient is dependent on the extent of the procedure and the condition of the patient themselves. This may be an issue for those with a low tolerance for pain. In the first couple of months after Liposuction, the patient will have to wear compression garments to reduce swelling and this may be uncomfortable as well.
Post-Liposuction effects may be worse than expected
If weight is not maintained after Liposuction, the subsequent weight distribution may cause the patient to appear even more bloated and swollen than before the procedure. The skin may also become lumpy and loose.
The technical stuff – How Liposuction is done
A minuscule incision is made on the patient’s skin and a very thin tube is inserted through the incision. This tube is called a cannula and it is used to disintegrate fats which are then cleared out of the body using a vacuum.
New Liposuction techniques have been introduced and used by cosmetic surgeons in recent years that effectively lower the complications and risk factors of the procedure. These techniques are also less painful for the patient.
These techniques vary in the methods used to break up the fatty deposits before it is removed with a high-pressure vacuum:
- Tumescent Liposuction
The tumescent method completely eliminates the need for sedatives during the surgery as the procedure itself involves pumping lidocaine, a local anesthetic, and epinephrine, a vessel-constrictor, directly into the targeted area to numb the fatty deposits.
- Ultrasound-assisted Liposuction
Also known as Ultrasonic Liposuction, this technique utilizes ultrasound vibrations to liquefy fatty deposits. The cannula is first energized with ultrasound before being inserted into the targeted area and the walls of fat cells will burst and liquefy upon contact with it. This technique is the most efficient and effective in removing fat from more fibrous regions of the body such as the neck, upper abdomen and back.
- Laser-assisted Lipolysis
This technique requires the use of the same solution of lidocaine and epinephrine used in the tumescent method of Liposuction. A microcannula is inserted into the skin through which laser energy and heat are used to break up fatty deposits. This is a significantly less invasive method as compared to traditional Liposuction techniques and there is less bleeding and bruising involved.
But at what cost?
Liposuction is becoming a popular cosmetic procedure in Singapore and the cost of it varies according to the clinic that the procedure is done at as well as the extent of the surgery. Prices start at SGD $2,000 and can go up to SGD $15,000 per area.
Cost of Liposuction in Singapore vs Overseas
The cost of Liposuction in Singapore is comparable to other Asian countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea and Vietnam, as well as with countries in South America like Costa Rica and Colombia, with an average price of USD $2,900 to USD $3,000. The average cost of Liposuction in the United States is about USD $5,500 and USD $4,500 in Switzerland.
Hidden costs and risks
Medical tourism has been widely touted and extremely popular in recent years. However, while it may cost less to undergo certain cosmetic procedures overseas, extra costs such as airline tickets, accommodation and post-surgery care have to be taken into consideration as well. For those planning to head to countries where a different language other than English is being spoken, such as South Korea or Thailand, you might need to fork out extra money to hire a translator.
It is ill-advised for a patient to travel immediately after any cosmetic surgery as the risk of infection and swelling of the wound is increased when you are in an airplane at high altitudes. Therefore, most patients choose to remain overseas for at least a week after surgery to rest and heal. This means that you will have to pay even more for accommodation either in a hotel or hospital before being able to return home.
Cosmetic procedures overseas: Why you shouldn’t do it
How much trust can you place in foreign cosmetic surgeons?
According to a report by TODAY Online, more physicians in Thailand are opting to join the lucrative cosmetic surgery industry. However, the means at which they attain the know-how to perform cosmetic surgery are unconventional and places patients at risk. From attending week-long seminars to self-studying through watching YouTube videos, many of the cosmetic surgeons marketing their services are not properly trained and qualified.
Doctors in Singapore fixing mistakes done overseas
In a 2014 report published in The New Paper, plastic surgeons in Singapore shared that they are attending to an increased number of patients who have suffered botched cosmetic surgery overseas. Many of these cases are a result of having surgery done at the hands of an unskilled or unqualified surgeon or because of a lack of proper post-surgery care.
Do your research!
Whether you choose to travel overseas for cosmetic surgery or to remain in Singapore for a procedure, adequate research should be done to ensure that your cosmetic surgeon of choice is qualified, experienced and skilled. By doing so, you can save yourself unnecessary pain and extra money that may be needed to fix any mistakes.