The increasing popularity of liposculpture has led to practitioners in disciplines unrelated to plastic surgery now perform the procedure. This has led to an increase in the number of liposuction complications of what is a very safe and effective procedure in the right hands.
Approximately one-third of all procedures we perform involve correcting liposuction complications from procedures performed elsewhere
The procedure occupies something of a grey area in that some people regard it as a surgical procedure and others do not. Liposuction is unequivocally an invasive surgical procedure which must be performed by a fully trained plastic surgeon. London Lipo Institute has a special interest in treating complications of liposuction which have been performed elsewhere.
Liposuction complications we commonly see from other clinics which require revision liposuction
- Overaspiration leading to a 'scooped-out' deformity - Excessively superficial liposuction resulting in skin unevenness and rippling - Lumpiness caused by inadequate drainage and retained collections of haematomas (clotted blood)
- Megaliposuction (excessive volumes of fat removed) without sculpting the treatment areas
- Performing liposuction on cases which require an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) The problem with having a consultation with a doctor who is not trained in plastic surgery is their unfamiliarity with the full range of reconstructive options which can be considered for your integrated treatment plan. GP's frequently perform liposuction in the UK despite the fact that in most European countries, they are banned from performing the procedure. Complications can occur with any surgical procedure no matter how minor it is perceived to be. The ability for non-plastic surgeons to deal with liposuction complications is limited due to their unfamiliarity with the full range of plastic reconstructive procedures.
Always ensure the doctor who performs your procedure is a fully trained plastic surgeon
- NOT a GP or a cosmetic/aesthetic doctor
A frequent problem we encounter is where patients present to us with redundant skin folds from liposuction performed on the lower abdomen without performing a simultaneous abdominoplasty. Non-plastic surgeons who assess you for a liposuction procedure do not have the necessary expertise in either fat transfer techniques or plastic reconstructive procedures which involve removing redundant skin or tightening the underlying muscle layers. Training in liposuction was not part of their training curriculum either.
"If the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, you will think every problem is shaped like a nail!"
We often quote this famous saying to all our patients at the consultation to highlight the importance of your surgeon being able to perform the full range of surgical techniques for the best treatment results.
This includes all of the following minimally invasive techniques:
- Fat removal
- Fat sculpting
- This involves actively repositioning the awake patient throughout the procedure to address the problem fat deposits from all angles. This is true 3D advanced liposculpture.
- Fat transfer Your surgeon must also have the capability to offer the following plastic reconstructive techniques:
- Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) - when abdominal liposuction is being considered - Brachioplasty (arm lift) - when upper arm liposuction is being considered
- Necklift - when liposuction of the neck is being considered
These procedures involve removal of excess skin and may also involve tightening of the underlying muscle layer. In many cases, a plastic surgeon will often advise against an invasive surgical procedure if the final result will not produce the result you desire. Unfortunately, with the many different types of doctors offering liposuction procedures - the emphasis will be very much on getting you to book for a liposuction procedure without a full discussion of ALL the treatment options.
With the increasing sophistication of modern liposuction equipment, liposuction practitioners are able to extract large amounts of fat very quickly. The incidence of liposuction complications has sky-rocketed directly as a result of this. We increasingly perform revision surgery for patients who have had over-aspiration from body areas leading to a 'scooped out' deformity. This is sadly a very common occurrence at the inner aspect of the lower thighs. This leads to a very unsightly inverted 'champagne bottle' deformity and causes a significant deal of patient distress. This is one of the most common liposuction complications we treat. We perform all liposuction complication cases with special vibrational cannulas which help in the passage of the cannula through the fibrosed (scar tissue) areas. In areas which have had far too much fat removed leading to an unsightly 'scooped out' appearance - we often perform fat transfer techniques to correct the depressions. Fat transfer is a new revolutionary technique which involves the harvesting of fat deposits from areas such as the abdomen or flanks and re-injecting the fat with meticulous surgical precision into the problem areas. The following before and after photos demonstrate a typical 'scooped out deformity' of the outer thighs. This procedure was performed by a 'cosmetic doctor' at a leading central London clinic. He was unable to offer fat transfer to correct the deformity he had caused. The patient, understandably very upset presented to us for assessment. We performed fat transfer with fat taken from around the patient's umbilicus. The appearance 3 months later is shown.
We think it is unacceptable for patients to develop liposuction complications which are totally preventable
Until recently, the liposuction-induced destruction of the subcutaneous connective tissue support apparatus often led to sagging of the skin. Today as a result of modern vibration cannula techniques, liposuction can be used specifically to achieve tissue tightening. Vibration-assisted liposuction enables maximum protection of the connective tissue framework and support apparatus of the dermis, one can make use of the tissue tightening effects induced by vibration-assisted liposuction during the healing process: the tissue stimulation applied is sufficient to induce mediator-initiated healing processes, and in the long-term to effect formation of a three-dimensional scar, which leads to tissue retraction. We often use this technique in the revision cases we perform to correct liposuction complications.
How do we optimise patient safety and treatment outcomes? Our three pillars which help to optimise liposculpture treatment outcomes:
(1) After your consultation, your case will be discussed at our weekly case conference. All our surgeons will discuss your case to determine the most appropriate treatment plan. Research evidence has shown that the quality of treatment is directly influenced by having the proposed treatment plan submitted to independent rigorous scrutiny by surgical colleagues operating in the same specialist area.
(2) After the case conference, in more than one-third of all cases assessed, we will not proceed to perform liposculpture. One must always be aware that liposculpture is a surgical medical procedure despite being performed for aesthetic reasons. Patient safety always comes first and we do not compromise on this vital pillar of maintaining outstanding treatment outcomes.
(3) On the day of your procedure, you will have two surgeons working collaboratively to perform your procedure. One surgeon will always have ultimate responsibility for your care. The latest research evidence confirms superior treatment outcomes when two expert surgeons are performing a procedure together than with one surgeon alone. Liposculpture is a procedure which must be performed with the utmost care and precision. The interaction between two experts working together means your procedure will be safer and performed with better aesthetic outcomes.
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