Liposuction is an adjunct procedure that can finesse the result of many breast and body procedures including breast reconstruction. Liposuction can smooth out the final contours to remove additional unwanted fat left after autologous tissue breast reconstruction. During liposuction, warmed tumescent fluid is infused into the patient’s fat to liquefy it and minimize bleeding. After tumescence, the liquefied fat is aspirated and suctioned out. Small 3-4 mm incisions are made for the insertion of the liposuction cannulas. The incisions are usually placed in areas where they may be camouflaged, such as in the groin crease, the belly button, or previous scars. Liposuction is performed to sculpt the body to the desired shape.
Liposuction does not involve any skin resection. If a woman has excess skin due to overstretching from pregnancy, liposuction will not solve her problem and may even make it worse. For example, if she has excess overhanging skin and stretch marks on her abdomen, liposuction may make it look like she has even more overhanging skin after the fat is suctioned out. Thus, for post-pregnancy body contouring, liposuction is best used as an adjunct procedure.
After liposuction, drains are not needed. The patient will need to wear a surgical compression garment to mold the tissues and squeeze out the excess fluid. Red, watery fluid may leak out of the small incisions in the first few days after liposuction. This is normal, and the patient should place plastic or old towels on top of her bedsheets. The dressings on the incisions remain in place for at least 48-72 hours. After the dressings are removed, the patient can shower. Most patients can return to work in 1-2 weeks. Patients should avoid heavy lifting for 6-8 weeks. The liposuction sites will be swollen initially, but the swelling subsides in the first couple of weeks and settles over several months.