Liposuction surgery or lipoplasty removes the excess superficial fat, which lies just underneath the skin, through several small incisions that can heal and fade well without causing visible scar. But as with any body contouring surgery, it is not a substitute for weight loss and healthy lifestyle.
Aside from the patient’s weight, her skin quality—particularly when it comes to its elasticity and firmness—also affects the liposuction result.
A skin with a “decent” amount of elasticity, which is commonly found in younger patients who have maintained a healthy weight throughout their lives, can redrape better to the new contour than loose skin. Nevertheless, “older” individuals could a still expect good cosmetic results after surgery.
Meanwhile, patients with noticeably poor skin elasticity could develop some visible wrinkling. For this reason, liposuction is occasionally followed by certain procedures such as Thermage in which the goal is to “heat” the skin and/or break up the cellulites.
Most patients below the age of 40 have a decent amount of skin elasticity, which allows it to contract during the healing phase and leads to a smooth result. However, the “process” of redraping could take up to six months.
Nowadays, the most commonly treated area is the abdomen because it has the tendency to carry excess superficial fat even among thin people. It is important to note that abdominal liposuction could only deliver good results if the patient has maintained good skin quality and has no splayed muscle caused by pregnancy.
If there is a significant amount of loose skin and splayed muscle, which might be caused by pregnancy and massive weight fluctuation, a tummy tuck is a far better option than liposuction.
However, plastic surgeons have noticed that the lower aspect of the abdomen can redrape better than its upper region after a liposuction surgery, a characteristic that is attributed to the presence of a membrane called scarp fascia.
Simply put, liposuction of the lower abdomen tends to provide a smoother result than surgery involving the upper abdomen.
Nowadays, liposuction uses a thinner cannula that can easily fit into smaller incisions—about the size of a small grain of rice. This is the main reason why most scars fade and heal efficiently even without the use of sutures, although dark-skinned patients might have to wait a little longer than fair-skinned individuals for their scars to become less noticeable.
Also, patients with a darker complexion might experience skin discoloration (hyper- or hypo-pigmentation) after liposuction surgery. To avoid or at least minimize such risk, the use of microcannula that requires a very small incision is important, as well as positioning the scar in “discreet” areas—e.g., underneath the bikini line and within the natural folds of skin.