Dimpling and waviness of the skin after liposuction — a complication also known as contour irregularity — is thankfully a rare occurrence when the procedure is performed by a skilled plastic surgeon.
Here’s what you need to know about this issue, and what can be done to avoid it.
What are contour irregularities?
Contour irregularities arise when a surgeon removes too much fat from one area at the expense of another, or when excess fluid collects in a vulnerable area.
Ideally, the plastic surgeon will identify the problem during the liposuction procedure and correct it then and there, but sometimes it doesn’t manifest itself until several days after the surgery.
The likelihood and severity of the problem will depend on a range of factors that you and your surgeon will need to consider prior to, and following the procedure.
Who is the most at risk?
Understandably, before undergoing liposuction, you will want to know if you are a likely candidate for contour irregularity.
Immediately following liposuction, most patients will notice lumps and uneven areas on their body. These irregularities are perfectly normal and usually disappear within weeks, although it can sometimes take months. So being informed will greatly reduce your anxiety.
However, serious contour deformities that directly impact appearance cannot be ignored, which is why it’s imperative that you have a frank discussion with your surgeon. Based on your body type, he or she will advise if you are a good candidate, just as you will have to indicate to them that you are willing to follow their prescriptions as it concerns post-operative rest and exercise.
Despite the hype and promises, experts agree that not everyone is a good candidate for liposuction. The procedure works best for those who are health conscious, concerned about their diet, and make an effort to stay in shape. It also helps to have supple skin with the elasticity needed to “bounce back” following the procedure.
Your surgeon owes you an honest assessment. It’s your money, after all, and you have every right to know if the outcome you have in mind is feasible.
What to expect from your surgeon
There are many things your surgeon can do to reduce the odds of unwanted irregularities like lumps or swelling.
First, he or she will ask you to stand and sit in various positions so he can chart your body’s natural fat distribution. Just before the operation he will refer to his notes and diagrams, which will significantly reduce the risk of error.
Determining exactly where and what amounts of adipose tissue can be extracted prior to the procedure is critical to its success. Having discussed all of this beforehand, your mind will also be at ease knowing exactly what results can be expected.
Addressing irregularities during surgery
An experienced plastic surgeon will be able to deal with any unexpected challenges or problems that could arise while you are on the operating table.
For example, in the event that he or she encounters a stubborn deformity, they should be able to sculpt or manipulate the fat to smooth out a lump, or add volume to fill a depression. Your surgeon’s improvisational skills will to a large extent pre-empt having to undergo future corrective surgery.
Since lumps and depressions are normal and usually heal within a few weeks, your plastic surgeon will address only the most noticeable contour irregularities.
Addressing irregularities after surgery
It can happen that you leave your surgeon’s office confident that everything has gone according to plan, only to discover issues and irregularities during the convalescence period.
If, however unlikely, your contour irregularities get worse or don’t properly heal in the days and weeks following your procedure, inform your surgeon.
If there are grounds for you to be unhappy with the results you might require corrective reverse liposuction, but most surgeons will oblige you to wait at least six months, just in case the matter resolves on its own.
During this waiting period it’s natural to become impatient for the results you want, which is why, in the spirit of self-help, it’s important to continue to follow your exercise, rest and eating regimen. Both your look and self-esteem will benefit as you become part of the healing process.
Using compression garments
After surgery, there are several things you can do to speed up the recovery process.
Wearing compression garments will help to reduce fluid retention, bruising and swelling. By exerting even pressure over the area, it will enhance your circulation and help maintain your new shape.
The garments are tailored to fit the area of the body that is healing and are typically worn from between one and four weeks.
Liposuction is an especially effective — and popular — procedure for the elimination of stubborn fat pockets that not even strict dieting can remove.
Immediately after surgery most people will notice they have a few little lumps and depressions, but these will disappear as the body completes the healing process.
Since there is always a risk of contour irregularity, it’s important to be well-informed on all the details, large and small, in order to determine the plan that is best for you.
If you’ve already imagined how excited your going to be when you look into the mirror and see your final results for the first time, just remember that getting there depends on the quality of your doctor-patient communication and your willingness to follow instructions during the healing process.
To learn more about liposuction or other body contouring procedures, contact The Breslow Center in Paramus, New Jersey and schedule a consultation today.