Liposuction side effects are several and will typically resolve without much intervention. The most common side effect is hyperpigmentation and occurs following activation of pigment-producing cells called melanocytes.
Hyperpigmentation may occur from activation of melanocytes due to;
a) physical irritation of the cannulas
b) heat generated by the ultrasound
c) hyperinflammatory cells infiltrating after surgery
Some patients are prone to hyperpigmentation and they include patients of Asian ancestry; these patients may require prophylaxis against hyperpigmentation such as the use of topical hydroquinone 4 % topically prior to surgery.
In the operating room, we use steroids in our tumescent solution in an attempt to suppress the activation of melanocytes. Postoperative steroids taken by mouth may also help minimize pro-inflammatory cells from infiltrating areas liposuctioned.
In most patients, hyperpigmentation will eventually resolve over the first three to six months. Another liposuction side effect includes transient swelling. Swelling is best minimized by wearing customized compression garments that are in layered with foam inlays.
In fact, swelling will usually onset one following surgery when patients become less compliant with wearing their garments. From one week to one-month swelling will resolve dramatically and from one month to three months, swelling will gradually subside. Another liposuction side effect includes residual contour irregularities.
The advent of VASER liposuction has literally eliminated this side effect since the fat cells are literally melted into a liquid consistency. Since the fat is converted to a fluid, contour irregularities are infrequent as the retained fat cells tend to settle smoothly. Postoperative lymphatic messages are also critical to preventing contour irregularities.
Preventing liposuction side effects should be the goal of everybody’s contouring center. When liposuction side effects are identified they should be treated promptly to ensure full resolution.
This 51-year-old patient following high definition liposuction of the abdomen, flanks, and lower back with fat grafting to the buttocks to correct contour irregularities created from prior contouring producers. She had no side effects from these surgeries.