Before having cosmetic surgery, we often spend a lot of time imagining how we want to look after the procedure. With liposuction, the goal is to remove excess fat, whether that be in the face, neck, chest, abdomen, back, love handles, buttocks, hips or thighs. Liposuction can be one way to look leaner and smoother, and target those tough spots that just won’t respond to diet or exercise.
But we don’t often think about something else that liposuction might leave behind – scars. Many people assume that since the tube used to remove fat is so thin, the procedure won’t leave scars. So, let’s get to the bottom of whether liposuction scars are something to be concerned about.
How does liposuction work?
Liposuction is done with a cannula, a hollow tube about the size and shape of a pen, connected to a vacuum pump machine. Your surgeon will make a small incision in the skin and insert the cannula into a pocket of fat. Moving the cannula tip back and forth breaks up the fat deposits, which gets sucks out through the tube.
Will liposuction leave scars?
The simple answer is yes; when you make an incision into the skin, it leaves behind a scar. There are two types of liposuction scars. A “true scar” is raised, firm tissue that is left behind by the incision. The other is called “dyschromia,” where there is no raised tissue but there is discoloration, either a light or dark spot on the skin.
Will my scars be visible?
Liposuction may leave behind scars, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your scars will be noticeable.
- Liposuction scars are typically very small, between four and ten millimeters. Because they are so tiny, the scars are not usually noticeable.
- A skilled surgeon will be able to place the scar in a hidden area of your body, like within natural skin creases, in pubic hair, or in the belly button, so they are not easily visible.
- Genetics plays a part. Some patients may be more prone to scarring, in particular, those with darker skin or with a family history of keloids. Many patients may not experience much scarring from liposuction at all.
What else can you do to reduce scarring?
Additionally, there are measures you can take to reduce the appearance of liposuction scars:
- Follow your surgeon’s instructions to avoid infection while the incisions heal. Infections can lead to a worse final scar.
- Wear the compression garments that your surgeon instructs you to wear. These will reduce inflammation and minimize scarring.
- Once the scars are healed, massaging them with a fingertip can prevent tissue hardening.
- Protecting scars from the sun can keep them from darkening in color.
- Avoid smoking, which can worsen the appearance of scars.
- Use scar-minimizing creams and gels, like Mederma, Kelocote, or Cimeosil.
- Using paper tapes like Steri Strips can flatten and fade scars.
- Some surgeons will recommend using an acne medication called Retin-A to reduce scarring.
- Getting regular exercise and eating a balanced diet can help scars heal and fade.
Scars after liposuction are indeed something to think about, but the appearance of scars is usually minimal – which makes liposuction an attractive option for many patients. Your surgeon will be able to offer you the most tailored advice for preventing and reducing scars from liposuction.
If you would like to learn more about liposuction, contact one of our surgeons today!