Leg Fat is Superficial
The fat on the legs and ankles is composed mainly of relatively superficial fat. There are no deep compartments of fat on the leg and ankles. Consequently, liposuction of the legs is necessarily done rather superficially and has an increased risk of injury to the subdermal vascular plexus. Because of the effects of gravity, the veins in the legs and ankles are especially susceptible to the long-term effects of vascular injury.
The area behind the knee (popliteal fossa) contains important nerves and blood vessels that are vulnerable to injury by a liposuction cannula. Liposuction in this area should never be attempted.
Care After Liposuction of the Legs
After liposuction of the legs or ankles, persistent swelling of the ankles and feet can be an annoying problem without the use of the technique of “open-drainage”. With open-drainage (incisions are not closed with stitches) postoperative swelling is minimal and resolves within a few days.
Open drainage after liposuction requires that the surgeon make several tiny “adits” (1mm to 1.5 mm round holes in the skin) on the lower leg and ankles. Adits encourage complete drainage of residual blood-tinged tumescent anesthetic solution, which in turn dramatically reduces swelling and bruising. Absorbent pads, placed over the adits and held in place by elastic compression bandages, will catch the drainage. This open-drainage technique can eliminate the problem of persistent swelling and bruising.