Fibrosis from liposuction happens because the body invariably creates scars in the areas where the cannula (or suction tube that removes fats) has passed through. This creates adhesion that results in surface irregularities and firmness, which tend to improve with time.
In a nutshell, most patients can expect smooth results as the scars remodel and soften with time, says leading Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley.
However, a small number of patients can have fibrosis that can last for many years (or even permanent) and thus they necessitate some type of revision. The flanks and upper abdomen are areas believed to be susceptible to this problem.
If excessive scars form internally under the skin surface and do not improve with time, subcision can help minimize skin puckering or firmness. This is a rather straightforward procedure in which a special needle is inserted adjacent to the scar and is moved back and forth in a fan-like motion to release the fibrous bands.
Nonetheless, there are ways to prevent aggressive formation of fibrosis, which is tied to contour irregularities and other surgical stigmata. For instance, Dr. Smiley highlights the importance of correct motion when using the liposuction cannula.
- The cannula is moved back and forth in a criss-cross fashion to remove fats uniformly.
- Avoid being too close to the skin. Meanwhile, the cannula must be moved at varying levels to achieve smooth results and to avoid dermal damage, which is tied to excessive scarring or fibrosis.
- Use microcannula, as opposed to large cannula, because it removes smaller bits of fats and causes less amount of trauma.
- Prolonged aspiration in one spot should be always avoided.
Aside from meticulous surgical techniques, the celebrity plastic surgeon says other modalities can further promote smooth results and prevent fibrosis from liposuction. These include the use of good-fitting compression garment for at least two weeks, massage to control swelling, VelaShape, or a combination of them.
VelaShape, which is an FDA approved non-surgical treatment, is particularly ideal after liposuction. This uses a handheld device that improves contour deformities through massage, suction, infrared light, and radio frequency.
Most patients will need 4-6 weekly VelaShape treatments to achieve smoother skin surface following liposuction surgery.