Liposuction is a cosmetic treatment used to decrease and mold the look of fat stores. The procedure is completed under general anesthesia and uses a long metal tube to dislodge and suck fat out through a small hole in the skin. Several holes may be used to create a contoured shape on both sides of the body. Liposuction is not an exact science and several treatments may be needed to complete the look a man or woman is going for. If the patient eats an unhealthy diet with too many calories, the remaining fat cells will expand and fill in the area where fat was removed.
During pregnancy, liposuction is not considered safe. The first health concern comes from the use of general anesthesia. General anesthesia can cause reduced blood flow to the fetus and neonatal depression. Women who undergo treatments using general anesthesia during pregnancy have an increased chance of death due to difficulty maintaining a sufficient airway.
Aside from the medical risks of general anesthesia, other concerns regard the fact that liposuction involves getting rid of fatty deposits which are needed during and after pregnancy. During pregnancy, fatty deposits are used for energy during the final weeks of gestation when pregnant women are unable to consume sufficient calories to maintain healthy fetal growth. After birth, fatty deposits can also be used for additional energy for the production of breast milk. Typically the female body will store additional fat only during pregnancy. After birth, the metabolism will return to normal and fat stores will slowly diminish.
After liposuction, compression bandages are required for two to four weeks. These bandages are not safe for use during pregnancy as they can restrict blood flow especially when applied to the abdominal area where liposuction is most routinely performed. It can take up to two months for swelling associated with liposuction to subside. The full effects of liposuction are not typically noticed until six months after the procedure is performed, during which time the pregnant body will continue to store extra fat.