dr. J. VANDEPUTTE

Plastic Surgery

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liposculpture

Liposculpture is fat aspiration through small incisions of 3 to 6 mm. The opertion may vary between very small and very extensive depending on the volume that needs to be treated. The anaesthesia may be local, general or "locoregional" (e.g. epidural).

Liposculpture is the best treatment for localised fat deposits. The effect on the body contour is permanent. The fat deposits do not return if body weight remains constant. Whoever eats more than is appropriate should not expect the liposculpture to magically maintain normal body weight.

The operation irritates the tissues and causes swelling for several weeks to several months. Therefore, an elastic pressure garment needs to be worn for at least six weeks. This limits swelling and provides continuous massage. Professional manual lymphatique drainage by a specialised physiotherapist can shorten the period of swelling dramatically. The large majority of patients gets their definitive figure after six to twelve weeks.

Severe pain rarely occurs. The first day may be tough but after that most people's complaints are limited to stiffness in the treated areas for about a week. Bruising takes two to three weeks to disappear. Palpable but invisible hard lumps may take more time to fade away. The incisions are sealed with skin glue. This way showering is allowed the day after the operation. Most operations can be performed as one day surgery, occasionally an overnight stay in the hospital is appropriate. Daily activities can be resumed very soon.

Unfortunately, some liposculpture techniques are described as "revolutionary" or "unequalled" for commercial reasons. Like any medical treatment liposculpture evolved and was refined. Somewhere on this path the name changed from "liposuction" to "liposculpture". The average thickness of the aspiration tools has more than halved. The tumescent technique (preparing the tissues by large volume fluid injections) has decreased pain and bruising. It has increased treatment precision and it enabled surgery under local anaesthesia. Many new techniques, however, are alternatives rather than improvements.

The success of local anaesthesia regrettably also led to surgery by less well-trained persons in unsuitable environments. Liposculpture is and remains surgery, with possible complications, all the more when large volumes are treated. These problems can be treated most professionally in a hospital environment.

The present techniques enable corrections to the greater part of the body surface. Some forms of breast development in men can also be treated this way. Fat deposits within the abdomen, which are common in middle aged men, cannot be aspirated.