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Pre-Liposuction Patient Checklist

 

Checking fat by folding abdominal skin

Liposuction is a safe and effective process. Technical advancements and enhanced surgeons’ skills have further boosted the procedure’s reliability. Still, the patient should be aware of what she/he is getting into. A pre-liposuction checklist includes certain parameters you should know, before going for the treatment.

Please note that you will need to sign an ‘indemnity form’ or informed consent before the plastic surgery. Your surgeon will provide this to you. In this consent you agree that you understand the liposuction procedure and the associated risks. You further confirm that the decision to undergo the surgery is your own conscious one. In addition, you agree to discharge the hospital and its staff, including the doctors, of any surgery related mishap or compromised results. It therefore becomes even more crucial to know the process, its results, and the related perils. Listed below is a pre-liposuction patient checklist:

 

Limitations of Liposuction Surgery

 

  • Body Toning: Not a treatment for obesity, liposculpture aims at body contouring. Therefore, its result is measured in length (inches), instead of weight (pounds). Ask your surgeon to explain what you should really expect after liposculpture.
  • Cellulite and Stretch Marks: Lipo does not help alleviate any of these issues. In fact, if the skin quality is weak, they may grow more visible after liposuction.
  • Results: The lipo effects may take up to six months to show up. By this time, the swelling usually subsides completely and the skin adjusts to the new slender shape.

 

Patient Eligibility for Liposuction

 

  • Age Limit: Although there is no specific age barrier to liposuction, medical wisdom  cautions that the minimum age of the candidate should at least be 18 years.
  • Exercise and diet: Liposuction should be an option to tone the body, if the candidate has disproportionate packets of fat deposits (approximately 10-15 pounds). This fat is immune to exercise and a strict diet regime.
  • Health condition: You should be medically fit. Your surgeon will specially check for heart or circulatory problems and clotting/bleeding disorders, such as blood clots formation in limbs (especially legs), Pulmonary Embolism (PE), deep venous thrombosis (DVT), or hypercoagulability. People with anemia, any allergies, and physical handicaps may not be eligible.
  • Skin Quality: Patients with low skin elasticity may end up with sagging skin after liposuction procedure. Therefore, high skin quality is quite desirable for satisfactory results.
  • Drug Prohibition: Avoid seeking liposuction if you are receiving any other treatment. The drug(s) may hamper the body’s blood clotting tendency, resulting in excessive bleeding during the surgery. You should avoid anticoagulants and blood thinners, such as Aspirin, Aleve, Advil, Motrin or other anti-inflammatory drug, Vitamin E, and herbal supplements —  for a good 10 days before the plastic surgery. Discontinue any homeopathic drugs and/or over the counter (OTC) drugs well before the liposuction. Women may need to stop their contraceptive pill.

 

Clinic/Surgeon’s Eligibility

The most vital inclusion in the pre-liposuction checklist, is that a surgeon’s competence critically influences a liposuction outcome. Stay stringent on your screening pointers for a safe surgery and a smooth recuperation. Here are some indicators::

 

  1. Certified Surgeon: Get a trained and certified doctor, capable of effectively dealing with the procedure and any related medical emergencies.
  2. Track Record of the Surgeon/Clinic: It essentially needs to be long, ethically clean, and a smooth one. Find out the average number of cases your surgeon handles per year — understand the effectiveness of practiced hands. Try speaking to others who can tell you their first hand experiences with a particular clinic or surgeon. You may also go through the before and after liposuction images in your chosen center.
  3. Anesthetic Proficiency: Improper anesthesia administration and/or a patient’s sensitivity towards sedation are the main causes of liposuction surgical mishaps. An expert anesthesiologist should be a part of the surgery team. Know the anesthesia which will be used in your case, who will administer it and the possible risks associated with its use on you.
  4. Technique Updated: Opt for the clinics/surgeons offering safe and contemporary treatment.
  5. Stay Close to Home: You may need to visit your doctor frequently, before and after liposuction. Therefore, look for a ‘worthy’ option in your residential vicinity.
  6. Market Research: Analyze the market thoroughly for an informed decision-making. Do not choose a clinic based exclusively on the promises in advertisements. Make efforts to assess each option critically.
  7. Second Opinion: You must consult at least two doctors before making a decision.
  8. Malpractice  Insurance: Most reputed surgeons carry  it, while some still do not.
  9. Price: The quality of the treatment should drive your decision and not the liposuction cost.  Do not resort to a clinic or a surgeon simply for cheap liposuction. Probe the ‘hidden’ reasons (read catch) for the discount. There can be some!

 

Liposuction Procedure Understanding

Clearly understand the complete liposuction procedure, the applicable technique, and the reasons for its selection. Ask your surgeon for full details on your pre, during, and post liposuction scenario. Keep querying until you have all the relevant facts. Be aware of all the information regarding your arrival, admittance to the hospital, the duration of surgery, and post surgery stay. Know your recuperation span, and the time you will take to resume life normally.

 

Pre-operation Medical Instructions

 

  • Lifestyle Changes: According to your body type and its fitness level, the surgeon may want you to follow certain particulars, such as customized exercise, charted diet plan, medication changes, drinking & smoking prohibition, and other lifestyle do’s and don’ts. Ask your doctor for a complete list and adhere to it.
  • Smoking Ban: Avoid smoking at least 2 months prior and 1-month post surgery. Nicotine present in the tobacco interrupts the oxygen rich blood from circulating and reaching the site of treatment. This adversely affects healing, and can even result in tissue loss.
  • Anti-nausea Medication: Your doctor may ask you to take an anti-nausea pill on the morning of the surgery.
  • Dressing Up: Wear comfortable clothes on the day of your operation. Do not wear any accessory, cosmetics, and/or perfumes.
  • Avoid Excessive Liposuction: Extracting fat beyond a certain healthy limit is called excessive liposuction. Do not get tempted by the ‘at one go’ philosophy. Avoid  multiple simultaneous surgeries. Limit your treatment to a small body area, spread over a flexible time span.
  • Medical Data Collection: Your doctor will collect your blood & urine samples and relevant body area measurements, at least 10 days before the surgery. You shall probably undergo a psychological test as well.
  • Post Liposuction Medication and Supplies: Know all the drugs and medical supplies you will need after the surgery and carry them with you on the ‘big’ day. Understand their use and side effects fully.

 

Be Ready for Your Condition After the Liposuction

 

  • Side-Effects:
    • Loose Skin: Removing fat from under the skin may loosen it, especially if the skin’s elasticity potential is weak. The issue may disappear with time, but some cases may require skin excision.
    • Scars: Depending upon the amount of incision and the liposuction technique used, the skin may bear marks post operation.
    • Contour Irregularities: Sometimes the body appears disfigured after liposuction. Usually this settles within weeks.
    • Swelling: Some patients may experience swelling (edema) that may lead to numbness.
    • Other risks: Mild or severe infections may set in after the plastic surgery. Ask your doctor to list all the possible risks you might run with your surgery’s technique.
    • Help: You cannot drive and/or engage in physical exertion during the 24 hours after surgery. Therefore, you will need someone to drive you home and to stay with you. Trustworthy family members, friends, and relatives are best. Alternatively, you may stay in the hospital for a day. Keep a phone readily accessible to you.
    • Food: For quick and thorough healing, the digestive system should function well. Try to eat easily digestible food, such as soups, fat-free crackers, and applesauce. Try to keep constipation at bay. Pain relievers often constipate. High fiber fruits & vegetables and fibrous fruit juices help relieve constipation. You may take mild laxatives, if necessary.
    • Exercise: Liposculpture does not guarantee permanent results. Fat may relapse if you do not stick to a good exercise routine, fitness diet and a healthy lifestyle.

 

Liposuction Finances

 

  • Cost of Liposuction: This varies with the body part to be treated. Furthermore, patient size, the level of difficulty, the surgeon’s proficiency rates, anesthesia fees (if applicable), and the hospital facility charges, influence it. After zeroing upon your medical facility and surgeon, calculate the final cost of the project. Make sure there are no hidden charges and that you even know the follow-up fees. Understand the cancellation and the refund policy of the institute as well.
  • Financing: Medical loans and financing arrangements are now available for liposuction. They may be in-house (from within the hospital) or from some financial institution. Get the final picture on how much loan you will be able to secure, who will issue the loan, the payment plan, interest rates, due dates, default penalties, and any other associated details.

 

Please note that this checklist is not exhaustive and is simply an overview. Your doctor’s suggestions are final.

 

References:

Medline Plus – A Service of the U.S. Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health: www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002985.htm

American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS):  www.plasticsurgery.org/Cosmetic-Procedures/Liposuction.html