Before making the decision to have liposuction, it is essential to have all the cards in hand. Who to contact for safe operation, what are the prices, how to boost the results after the surgery and especially to have all the advice of a doctor to be sure that this surgical technique corresponds to your profile.
This plastic surgery procedure is intended for both women and men. Nevertheless, approximately 80% of women and 20% of men currently use liposuction. The results are more visible on relatively young patients who have toned and elastic skin, which curves more easily once the excess fat is removed. Contrary to popular belief, liposuction does not in any way make it possible to lose weight, but only to remove localized fat cells that resist diets. It is not indicated in cases of generalized overweight or obesity. It is, therefore, best to have regular and stable weight at the time of the operation.
Liposuction: who to contact?
Liposuction is a surgical procedure in its own right and must, therefore, be performed with a qualified surgeon in whom you have complete confidence. To find it, contact the National Council of the Order of Physicians. The first consultation allows you to judge the seriousness of the practitioner and for him to evaluate your request. If he considers that this intervention is feasible, he then carries out a thorough examination using radios and photos and must propose two written documents, namely an estimate containing the qualifications of the practitioner, the place of the intervention, the price, and references to his professional insurance. The second is informed consent, which must include all the information (the type of procedure, anesthesia, surgical risks and consequences and outcome to be achieved).
You should also know that there is no specific number of visits to be respected, except the first one made with the surgeon and the other one made with the anesthetist, between one month and one week before the operation. A mandatory 15-day reflection period must also be maintained between the consultation and liposuction. Finally, a post-operative consultation is recommended one week after liposuction.
Before going for a consultation, be aware that liposuction is not covered by social security in only a few cases. In principle, a cosmetic surgery procedure is only reimbursed when it is justified by an illness or after-effects of an accident. In this case, it is fully covered by social security (intervention costs, surgeon’s fees, and hospitalization only in a public institution). The disputed facts must be the subject of a specific request that will allow social security to verify the validity of the reimbursement.
Please note that a consultation with a plastic surgeon costs on average between 50 and 150 euros. Concerning the operation itself, it will also depend on the anesthesia (local or general) and the areas to be treated. For example, it is necessary to count between 1 500 to 3 000 euros for a liposuction of the saddlebags or thighs, between 900 to 1 900 euros for the abdominal belt, between 700 and 1 100 euros for the knees and finally, for the face (chin and jowls), count between 1 200 and 1 800 euros. To this, do not forget to add the care prescribed by your surgeon, namely a panty and some analgesics.
Liposuction: progress of the operation
First practiced in the late 1970s, liposuction, also known as liposuction, is the most common method to remove the volume of fat from many areas of the body: thighs, abdominal belt, hips, saddlebags, knees… The duration of the procedure and the degree of anesthesia (general or local) depend on the number of areas to be treated and the size of the operation. It takes an average of 30 minutes for intervention in one area and up to two hours in several areas.
The principle is simple: the surgeon introduces thin cannulas through small incisions, usually located in discrete areas such as the natural folds of the skin. It can then remove the excess fat and sculpt the entire target area so that it fits better into the overall silhouette. The important thing is that the handling of the subcutaneous fat is gentle and regular, to avoid unsightly waves. Note that this operation leaves almost no scars (otherwise, they disappear over time). Within a few hours of the procedure, it is mandatory to wear panties. It is a kind of compression tights used to compress treated and banded areas. It must be worn a few hours after the procedure, day and night, for three weeks. It is prescribed by prescription, not reimbursed by social security and costs about 50 euros.
Before the intervention
Liposuction is a surgical procedure that must be organized several weeks in advance. There is no given number of consultations, only the first one with the surgeon and the one with the anesthetist are mandatory. During this first consultation with your surgeon, you will receive your estimate (cost of the operation, fees, expected results…) as well as your panty prescription, which can be purchased in a pharmacy or by mail order and costs about 80 euros. Nevertheless, it is preferable to try it on the spot, to check that it suits you and avoid that it hugs you too much. Take your usual size, so that you feel as comfortable as possible.
Between one week and one month after this surgical consultation, you will also need to make an appointment with the anesthesiologist. He will establish a complete preoperative check-up (blood tests among other things) and decide whether you should undergo general or local anesthesia. Once these two consultations have been completed, you can drop off your hospitalization reservation form at the facility where your plastic surgeon practices. Concerning your luggage, don’t worry about it! Take the bare minimum, namely a toilet bag, one or two comfortable and loose outfits (most often a tracksuit) and a pair of flat, soft shoes.
Preparing for the intervention
You must arrive at the clinic on the morning of the operation, while you settle in your room, take a shower if necessary, meet the medical team and ask your surgeon the last questions before the surgery. Most often, nurses administer a pre-medication in the form of a mild sedative, to allow patients who are a little anxious to wait for the operation in a more relaxed manner.
At the time of the operation, you will be taken to the operating room, where the team is already present with the instructions to be followed: disinfection of the equipment, installation of the working fields as well as the diagrams of the incisions to be made. The procedure usually lasts between half an hour and two hours, depending on the amount of fat to be removed. The anesthetist can then proceed with the anesthesia, injecting a product by infusion that takes effect after a few minutes.
After the operation
Once the operation is completed, the medical team will take you back to your room, where you will then be in the recovery phase. After a few hours, you can put on your panties and wear them day and night. It is also common to have an infusion within 24 hours of the procedure, which includes analgesics and sedatives to reduce any pain and improve the patient’s comfort. The duration of the stay is one day with the night of the intervention included. And when you leave the establishment (in the morning if everything goes well), you will be able to move and walk but with some discomfort.
It is then better to reserve three to five days of rest or more if necessary. After about a week, the post-operative consultation takes place, which allows the surgeon who performed the operation to check and remove the sutures. This visit is not mandatory, but it is strongly recommended. Finally, know that the results will not be visible from the first days, so be patient… And of course, if you feel the need to see your surgeon again in the weeks to come, it is entirely possible. The important thing is to feel supported by your family and friends as well as by your surgeon and, above all, to rest for the necessary time.
Liposuction: side effects
Even if the liposuction has been performed conscientiously by a competent surgeon, several common side effects vary from one patient to another, namely oedemas or so-called post-traumatic bruises, impressive at first sight but which disappear after a few weeks. Cases of hematomas, infections, phlebitis, anemia or asthenia are exceptional. In general, the pains encountered following liposuction are of moderate intensity and are more akin to aches and pains. However, this varies from person to person, depending on the sensitivity and physical condition before the intervention. Finally, be aware that the result will not be observable for 3 or 4 months.
Liposuction: better results
Before and after liposuction, there are several rules to follow to optimize the result. According to Dr. Pierre Nahon, it is necessary to reduce tobacco consumption or even to interrupt it at least one month before the operation as well as alcohol consumption and any drug supplements that could modify blood coagulation (aspirin, antidepressants?). As for food, it is best to restrict yourself or even better, to lose one or two kilos. “Some patients tend to think they can eat what they want because they are going to have liposuction and sometimes come back with an extra two kilos at the time of surgery,” explains Pierre Nahon.
Once the intervention is completed, it is essential to change your lifestyle if it leaves something to be desired. It is then necessary to monitor your caloric intake on a daily basis: “The objective is to avoid further growth to maintain the result. Some patients are so motivated by the result that they no longer have any trouble getting on a diet,” says Pierre Nahon. Finally, if the sport is not recommended during the month following the operation, it is essential to resume physical activity afterward to strengthen your body, for example by exercising, jogging, swimming or cycling, two or three times a week. And to get a minimum of exercise during the day, walk home from work or take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Liposuction: advice from a doctor
Who are your patients and what are the reasons for consulting them?
Dr. Pierre Nahon
I receive a majority of women and sometimes men. The reason they want to try liposuction is more aesthetic than medical. This can range from simple complexes or discomfort to real psychological distress at specific times in a woman’s hormonal life. So I meet young girls from 16 years old who want to lose their rounded teenage belly. There are also women who have had a new distribution of fat on their hips and stomach after childbirth and finally post-menopausal women, due to the drop in hormones and the storage of fat on the abdominal belt.
What should be the state of mind of the patient who is going to undergo liposuction?
Above all, it is necessary to be aware of the importance of such an act. For liposuction to be successful and well lived, it must first have been well indicated by the surgeon, i.e., coherent. It is also vital that the patient be realistic about the results that will depend on the volume of fat overload to be removed but also on her motivation to maintain this result afterward.
The family and friends also have a significant role to play: they must not show hostility to give maximum confidence to the person who is going to have the operation. And then, in my opinion, it is not good for mental balance to do things “in secret,” nor to have deadlines, which only generate stress. Of course, the patient must be sure of her choice and convinced that liposuction is the only solution. Finally, it is better to reserve a fortnight after the operation, to recover and get used to the idea that your body will change.
In which cases is it impossible to operate?
It is rare that liposuction cannot be performed. However, this can happen in the event of severe medical problems. It is then up to the surgeon and the anesthetist to decide on the feasibility of the operation during the preoperative check-up. For example, in cases of severe pathologies (leukemia, seropositivity) or severe psychological problems, the surgeon may seek the advice of the specialist who usually follows the patient. The goal is to ensure that she will withstand the medical constraints of the procedure and that it will be beneficial to her morale. I may also ask patients to stop taking antidepressants. But, once again, the patient is the guarantor of her health: she must think carefully and be aware of her state of health before taking action.
Liposuction, opinions, and results
Claire, 32 years old: “Liposuction has taken away all my complexes!”
“Before my liposuction in 2003, I had localized curves on my hips. As a result, it was impossible to be fashionable and to wear the low waist pants that I liked so much. I was so uncomfortable in my skin that one day I thought to myself that I could no longer stay that way. I then made an appointment with a surgeon with whom the contact immediately went well. I was so motivated that I had no qualms about taking out a loan, which I gradually repaid. Shortly after that, the intervention took place by targeting the saddlebags, thighs, and buttocks. And frankly, three years later, I’m still delighted with the result!
Today, I have more self-confidence, I can wear skirts without complexes, and I no longer hide with my pareo on the beach. I still lost two sizes, going from 44 to 40! And to preserve this result, I am not on a drastic diet: I am just trying to eat reasonably and exercise twice a week. Apart from this result, which really changed my life, only one thing remains to be said: the pain after the operation. Surprisingly, but it seems normal, my hematomas had gone down to my feet! But the pain and bruises quickly disappeared, and I was able to return to work, transformed!”
Michelle, 32 years old: “To lose my curves after my pregnancy, I only saw liposuction.”
“I had my liposuction six months ago, following my pregnancy. In addition to the kilos I gained during 9 months, I had a horrible stuffed skin and a skin that had become far too distended. And since the diet didn’t work either, I thought about liposuction, targeting the abdominal belt as well as the buttocks, knees, calves, and hips. The result is very satisfying! I lost those curves that made me feel uncomfortable, and I can now dress as I wish.
Even though I felt a little natural apprehension before the operation, it quickly flew away. I didn’t even feel any pain, except for a few predictable aches and pains. Today, I am not on a diet, but I try to keep a balanced diet. And to optimize the result and build up my strength, I will soon start swimming. So if I had any advice to give, it was to be really motivated and above all to find out about the rates and the surgeon’s reputation. Word of mouth can be a good method. A friend recommended the surgeon who operated on me, and I was delighted.”
Monique, 54 years old: “Liposuction has left me with indelible aesthetic sequelae.”
“I had liposuction 19 years ago because I really wanted to get rid of my curves and harmoniously reshape my figure. My ex-husband’s brother, who was also a plastic surgeon, offered me liposuction by targeting both hips, thighs, and knees. I thought it would change my life… This was the case, but not in the right direction, on the contrary: at first, the awakening was difficult and above all very painful! For a whole month, I suffered from terrible aches and pains, and I felt like a “walking hematoma”! I was covered in bruises, not to mention the nights I spent without being able to sleep. By the way, my ankles were so swollen they had to cut my panties off! Nevertheless, I returned to work quite quickly, with great difficulty in getting around.
Even aspirin didn’t change that. As for the result, let’s not talk about it: I have a buttock about 5 centimeters higher than the other, with a smooth thigh and the other hollow. At the time, I was so horrified that I rushed to voluntarily gain weight as if to punish myself for having had the idea of this liposuction. Today, as I grew older, I learned to live with these aesthetic sequelae. Having also undergone other operations for medical reasons this time, I refused the second liposuction. The moral of this story: I should have abstained… But after all, perhaps the technique was not yet sufficiently developed at the time?”