Abdominal liposuction is not to be confused with a tummy tuck. Liposuction deals with the fatty deposits under the skin in certain areas of the body, whilst a tummy tuck generally deals with excess skin. That’s not to say that the two procedures can’t go hand in hand, and some people who have lost a lot of weight via liposuction and don’t have as much elasticity in their skin opt for a tummy tuck afterwards to complete the appearance of a smooth, firm abdomen.
The Abdominal Liposuction Procedure
The procedure begins with the surgeon making a small incision in the belly button or bikini area once the anaesthesia has taken effect. It is up for the surgeon and the patient to decide whether a local or general anaesthetic would be beneficial. A small, hollow tube, called a cannula is then introduced into the layer of fat beneath the skin, which then emulsifies the fat deposits and then vacuums them out. Once the fatty cells have been removed, the surgeon then sculpts the area around the abdomen, known as body contouring, in order to maximize results. Typically the procedure should last between one and two hours.
Depending on the technique employed by the surgeon and the amount of fat removed, you should be left with a recovery time of anywhere between two and four weeks, with patients often returning to work within ten and twenty days. However, strenuous exercise of heavy lifting should be avoided for at least 2 months.
What Procedures Are Available?
Most people opt for liposuction on the lower as opposed to the upper abdomen, as the appearance of ‘love handles’ or ‘muffin tops’ can be dealt with. Women have softer and less fibrous fatty tissue then men, making liposuction easier to perform on females. However, liposuction is proven to be popular with both sexes. There are various methods of liposuction, all shown to be effective and generally requiring local anaesthetic, thus reducing risks and complications that sometimes occur with general anaesthetic.
Tumescent liposuction involves a solution being injected into the abdomen to make the fat cells more turgid and easier to identify. The tumescent solution also numbs the area and minimises the occurrence of bleeding or swelling. A small incision is then made through which a cannula, a slender tube, is introduced. The cannula disrupts the fat cells making it easier to extract them by suction.
Power assisted liposuction is a similar method but uses a motorised cannula which vibrates through the fatty tissue. This makes it easier for surgeons to manoeuvre the cannula and results in more accurate fat removal from more precise locations.
Liposelection is the latest method which is becoming increasingly popular. It uses ultrasonic waves to destroy the fat cells without impacting or damaging the surrounding tissue. A small probe emits the ultrasound which emulsifies the fat cells whilst leaving nerves and blood vessels unharmed. The fat can then either be removed via liposuction or is left to be disposed of naturally from the body.
Can Liposuction Give Me A Six Pack?
In order to achieve the desired "six pack" definition desired, the patient will next undergo a procedure known as "etching" or advanced sculpting technique. Respected New York Cosmetic Surgeon, Dr. Steve R Fallek, MD, explains how the follow up technique is administered; after the liposuction procedure has removed the fatty tissue from the subcutaneous level of the skin, a cannula, (small hollow needle) is used to scrape the dermis, (underside of the skin), to create scar tissue. It is the impressions left by this scarring that will simulate the lines of the "six pack". Problems can arise if the procedure is administered incorrectly and the scarring created looks unnatural and unconvincing.
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How Much Will It Cost?
It is important to discuss the procedure with your surgeon and understand it fully, whilst outlining exactly what you expect to get from abdominal liposuction. Liposuction can only target the fat and can not improve the appearance of the skin, including cellulite, or reduce sagginess if it is not caused by fat. The cost of abdominal liposuction can vary depending on how many areas are treated and on the discretion of the clinic you use. Generally, you can expect to pay a minimum of £2000 if a small area is being targeted, or up to £7000 for a larger procedure.
Most patients are able to go back to work within 3-5 days of the surgery, although they should take it easy and avoid strenuous exercise for a while. A support garment must be worn for at least the first week and then for several more weeks in the evenings. Painkillers may be necessary at first as the abdomen will be swollen and tender, and bruising will appear but fade with time. Antibiotics may also be prescribed to reduce the risk of infection. It can take up to 6 months to appreciate the full extent of the stomach liposuction, but the results will be permanent provided a healthy lifestyle is maintained.
Read more: Cost of a tummy tuck and liposuction