The appearance of your skin following liposuction will have a lot to do with your skin elasticity. Skin with a large amount of elasticity will be able to shrink back to a smaller size following surgery, and you will avoid such problems as rippling and bagginess of extra skin.
The ability of your skin to conform neatly to a new contour is inversely proportional to your age – the younger you are, the more elastic the skin.
Likewise, folks who were once obese will find that their skin elasticity is less than it used to be, as it has been overstretched above the previous amount of excess fat.
The amount of skin wrinkling that you experience due to liposuction is about the same amount had you lost the body fat by other, natural methods such as dieting or exercise.
In the skin over the abdomen, the upper and lower areas may behave differently after the procedure, especially in older patients. In this case, the skin on the upper abdomen will typically appear more wrinkled than the skin on the lower abdomen, and this can be attributed to two factors.
The subcutaneous fat in the lower abdomen contracts better because of the presence of a membrane called Scarpa’s facsia, which is very elastic. This membrane extends from the pubic area to the belly button, and helps to keep the skin and fat well contracted in that area. This in turn produces very good results following liposuction, even if there is a large amount of fat in that area.
The backbone holds the key to the other reason for the relative smoothness of the skin of the lower abdomen when compared with that of the upper abdomen following liposuction. The spinal column has more flexibility at the level corresponding to the upper abdomen, and because of this, folds and creases will appear more in the upper abdomen when a person bends over.
One way to correct this problem, especially around the stomach area, is for the patient to later undergo a cosmetic surgical procedure such as an Abdominoplasty or tummy tuck.
This procedure consists of the removal of excess skin from the lower and middle abdomen, and the tightening of the muscles so as to tighten the stomach and dispose of the rippling effect. It can also remove the apron of skin that may also be present after liposuction is performed.
The patient’s skin is first detached from the abdominal wall and the belly button. Next, the abdominal muscles are sutured to tighten them, and the skin flap is tightened and reattached higher than before, with the extra skin removed.
Patients are generally advised to wait until well after the healing process from the liposuction procedure has been completed, to give their body a chance to recover before putting it through even more trauma.
There are also different “lift” procedures available to help remove excess skin from other parts of the body. Patients have had great success with a procedure called the medial thigh lift, which acts to remove excess skin and fat from the thighs, in order to, eliminate the rippling effect of the skin. In addition, a lower body lift is available which is similar to a tummy tuck, but extends the procedure around the back of the patient as well.
The bottom line is that the older or heavier you are, the greater the loss of skin elasticity and the less you can expect the skin to shrink back and fit your new contour following liposuction surgery.
There may be some rippling of the skin, and in some cases, a lot of excess skin will be left over from where it was stretched out over the fat that previously existed on the body. There are procedures that can help correct this problem, but this should be factored in when a you are deciding if liposuction is right for you.