Men and women looking to resolve the stubborn fat deposits in different body areas that are resistant to diet and exercise are increasingly opting to have liposuction to get the shape they desire. However, a common concern among most people considering the procedure is whether it would leave scars. The answer to this question is ‘yes’, though significant scars are not frequent. In any case, the extent of scarring, its visibility, and how it affects the final results would depend on a number of factors. These include the body contouring technology and technique, the surgeon’s experience and skill, and the genetic, anatomical and physiological considerations of the patient.
Though scarring is not a common occurrence with liposuction, the problems that can occur relate to:
- Poor placement of incisions resulting in easily visible scars
- Over-liposuctioning leading to depressed scars at the site of the incision
- Skin bruising which causes hyperpigmented scars due to repeated passes of the cannula
Skin bruising can be minimized by the use of a micro-cannula and small incisions. When advanced procedures such as SmartLipo Triplex laser liposuction are used, scarring is minimal. The SmartLipo workstation uses a very small laser-enabled cannula about 1.0 mm to 2.0 mm in diameter and it requires only a small incision to insert. This device also comes with intelligent delivery systems to prevent overtreatment and burns which can lead to scars. Conventional liposuction involves large incisions as the size the cannula is relatively larger, posing an increased risk of irregularities and depressions in the skin. With microcannulas, results are smoother with minimal irregularities.
Your genetics play a crucial role in how visible or dark the scars will be. As dark skin is more prone to keloid scars, those with darker skin may end up with more visible scars. Also, the discoloration around the incision may be more visible. In such cases, results would greatly depend on the surgeon’s skill. Incision placement is important when it comes to avoiding visible scars. A skilled and experienced plastic surgeon will take care to place the incisions in the natural folds or in inconspicuous areas, thereby ensuring that scars, if any, are not easily detectable. Nevertheless, in most cases, liposuction scars fade over time.
In addition to your body anatomy and surgeon’s handling of the tissues, nutritional aspects and the steps taken to prevent infection after the procedure matter when it comes to minimizing the effect of scars. During the recovery period, make sure that the incision site is kept clean and follow the surgeon instructions on how to avoid infection. Infection at the site of the surgical incision can result in a bad final scar. Use the compression garments as advised to reduce inflammation and resultant scarring.
It is also important to stop smoking a few weeks before the surgery and during the healing period. Smokers are at a greater risk of circulation problems which prevent the tissues from healing properly, resulting in scarring. The following precautionary measures can minimize the effect of scars:
- Keep the scars out of the sun
- Maintain a healthy diet
- Exercise regularly as advised by your surgeon
This would ensure that the healing site gets plenty of oxygen and moisture. Liposuction patients may also be advised to use scar healing products such as steroid or hydro-quinone creams to resolve the problem.
A successful outcome is greatly dependant on choosing the right liposuction surgeon. A surgeon who is well trained and experienced in the laser lipo procedure can provide optimal results with minimal side effects, including scarring.