As the temperatures chill and the daylight hours decline it doesn’t take long for summer to feel like it was forever ago. As we hunker down for hibernation to daydream of next summer, it is the perfect time to start preparing our body for its next seasonal debut.
The winter months are the best months for many treatments for a variety of reasons – the darker days mean skin is less exposed to light, perfect for rejuvenating laser treatments and addressing pigmentation issues. If considering cosmetic procedures such as breast enhancement or high def lipo, having the cooler months to recover is ideal. Allowing yourself three months for optimal recovery should be considered, we recommend having surgical procedures in September at the latest if not earlier, so your body has settled and full results are visible just when you want to see them.
At The Doctor’s Studio one of our most popular winter procedures is Hi-Def Lipo. Hi-Def Lipo is one of our most effective body sculpting offerings and can be used in both small areas of the body, such as the chin, armpit and knee, or more extensively on larger areas such as the stomach, love handles, buttocks and thighs.
So what is the difference between standard liposuction and Vaser Hi-Def Lipo? Traditional liposuction is an effective way to permanently remove unwanted deposits of fat. Using a cannula, fat is vacuumed out of the body and removed from problematic areas, smoothing and reshaping the figure.
Vaser Hi-Def Lipo is a more recent advancement in lipo-sculpting, combining liposuction with ultrasound technology, the ultrasound is drawn to adipocytes (fat cells). Vaser ads an extra step, liquifying the fat cells prior to extraction which makes them easier to remove than solid fat. Ultrasound waves are generated and transmitted through the tip of a cannula delivering energy directly to the fat cells causing them to liquefy. Tissue surrounding the fat is not affected, unlike standard liposuction.
The cannulas used during a Hi-Def lipo procedure are more gentle than standard cannulas; this makes it easier to remove the liquefied fat cells resulting in less bleeding and a faster recovery. Due to the fat cells being easier to ‘vacuum up’, an added benefit is the greater contraction of skin, stimulated by the heat produced by the ultrasonic waves.
Who is this operation for?
Ideally, liposculpture is for people who are happy with their overall size and shape – the patient may struggle with one or two areas that have disproportionately more fat accumulation. In general, these people are in good health, exercise and eat a high-quality diet but just can’t shift fat from difficult areas. If you have a prominent abdomen you may have fat within the abdominal cavity (behind the muscle); this type of problem responds best to exercise and good eating, and cannot be improved with liposuction. Only the fat in front of the muscle can be reduced with liposuction.
Under general anaesthetic, or light sedation, small incisions (2-3mm) are made in well-camouflaged areas and anaesthetic fluid is infused under the skin in preparation for the removal of fat. A cannula is inserted to remove the fat.
The entire operation can take anywhere from one to three hours depending on the size of the patient, the number of areas addressed, and the volume of fat removed. After a recovery of one to two hours, patients can go home with their carer.
Most patients experience some tenderness for 2 or 3 days and can usually return to work after about 4 or 5 days. Special support garments need to be worn for the first 3 or 4 weeks. These are firm supportive elastic outfits that help to speed recovery and improve the body contour, supportive garments are very important to achieving a good result (another reason why it’s best to have the procedure in winter!)
By the end of the first month, any pain should have subsided and most people feel back to normal. There may still be some bruising and numbness which last for another few weeks as swelling gradually subsides
The final result is usually seen around three months once swelling settles and the skin contracts. The small incisions still continue to improve over time with most people finding they disappear to a tiny blemish
Is the fat removal permanent?
Some people are concerned that the body can produce more fat, or that the fat can move. This is not the case. The removal of fat is permanent.
Which areas can liposculpture be performed on?
The technique can be used to treat most areas, but some respond better than others:
• Arms, thighs, knees, calves, hips, back – commonly operated on with a good outcome.
• Abdomen – responds well depending on the patient’s body shape; can be a good alternative to a ‘tummy tuck’.
• Chin – responds very well in the majority of patients and heals very quickly.
• Suprapubic/mons – an area that responds well. Can cause genital bruising for a few weeks but resolves.
• Breasts – liposculpture can be used as an alternative to surgical breast reduction in women who want to reduce by approximately one cup size.
• Buttocks – can be slightly improved but will not tolerate large volume removal.
Are there visible scars?
For most people, the scars are nearly invisible and can’t be seen after a few months of healing. For people with dark skin, the incision sites may darken for a few months but in general return to a more normal shade.
Will my skin shrink back once the volume is reduced?
One of the challenges of this operation from a surgeon’s perspective is knowing when the right amount of fat has been removed from an area. If too much is removed then the skin might become loose and not contract enough. Younger patients are more likely to have skin that contracts well. Patients who are older, have sun damage, or prior large weight loss are more likely to have loose skin after liposculpture. With the use of the Vaser ultrasonic system, the retraction of skin is enhanced.
Are any special blood tests required?
For most healthy people, no blood tests are required. Special tests may be required if there are medications or past medical history which may affect the operation or anaesthetic.