What are saddlebags?
Saddlebags are localised areas of fatty prominence that live directly over the hipbones. These fat pads most commonly appear during puberty as a result of raised levels of oestrogen. Many women have prominent areas of fat over their hips and this can be considered a variant of normal. In certain parts of the world, it is considered desirable to have large hips as they often signify increased fertility. Trochanteric lipodystrophy is used to describe the generalised development of excessive fat around the hips, buttocks, and knees.
A woman’s body shape is often determined by genetics and cannot be altered by eating a healthy diet or exercise. Although many women have shown increased interest in achieving fuller hips as a result of celebrity culture, others view them as a cosmetic nuisance and find difficulty in wearing certain types of clothing. The saddlebags are also an area of the body which is difficult to target with a healthy diet and exercise regime. This area can become worse with time as we age and our metabolism starts to slow. As a result, this is often a very disliked area of the body.
The best treatment to get rid of saddlebags is liposuction. Older patients with excess skin may require a skin excision procedure combined with liposuction for effective treatment of saddlebags.
How effective is liposuction for reducing saddlebags?
Liposuction is a very effective solution for those who have been unable to lose their saddlebags through a healthy lifestyle. Liposuction is able to remove the stubborn fat, while still leaving you with a feminine silhouette.
The saddlebag removal procedure involves using specialised liposuction cannulas to remove stubborn areas of fat through tiny incisions. Liposuction may be able to achieve up to 10% skin retraction and this may be sufficient to prevent the development of skin sagging. Sometimes patients may also have saggy buttocks from having too much loose skin. Sagging buttocks most commonly develop after significant weight loss. Loose skin on the buttocks can be easily treated with a buttock lift procedure.
Can I have saddlebag liposuction?
If you have tried to decrease the size of your outer thighs through methods such as diet and exercise but have had no success, and would like the fat to be removed, you may be a suitable candidate.
You will also need to have a BMI that is below 30. For health reasons, we are unable to offer this procedure to those who have a BMI that is over 30, as the risk of complications is too high. You will also need to be 18 years or older, be a non-smoker or be able to stop smoking at least two weeks prior to surgery, and throughout the liposuction recovery period. You will need to have reasonable expectations about the outcome of what saddlebag removal can achieve.
How is saddlebag liposuction performed?
At Centre for Surgery, saddlebag liposuction is performed using a technique known as Power assisted liposuction or PAL Lipo. This is a liposuction method used very commonly at Centre for Surgery.
Unlike other methods of liposuction, PAL lipo does not involve the use of heat. This means that you avoid any external and internal damage from the heat, as well as adverse complications of liposuction, such as skin rippling, lumpiness and asymmetry.
PAL lipo involves injecting the outer thighs with an infusion of a solution containing a local anaesthetic and a vasoconstrictor. Not only does this soften the fat, but it also reduces the likelihood of bleeding, bruising and swelling.
Next, power-assisted liposuction is used to aspirate the fat globules. This ensures the stromal network and blood vessels are not damaged, reducing the risk of bruising. A vibrating cannula is then used to ensure the fat cells are separated from the connective tissue framework. The final stage is redistribution, where the remaining fat is equalised and moved to other areas without being reinjected, leaving the outer thighs contoured and smooth.
The procedure will be performed using TIVA anaesthetic. This is a type of general anaesthetic which is a more advanced form of anaesthetic. You will be able to wake up quicker following the procedure, and you may experience a heightened sense of wellness.
What is the liposuction recovery period like?
After saddlebag liposuction, it is normal to experience some swelling, which should go down after 7 to 10 days. You will need to take at least two to three days off work to fully recover. You will need to avoid strenuous exercise for at least two weeks. After this point, you can resume mild exercise. You can return to your usual day-to-day activities after a total of six weeks.
You will be required to wear a compression garment around the hips. This will help to speed up the recovery period by reducing swelling, as well as help to keep the thighs in the best shape possible. You will have to wear the compression garment for three weeks at all times, except when bathing. After this point, you will need to wear the compression garment for a further three weeks but only during the day.
You will be able to notice the results of the saddlebag liposuction immediately; however, you will experience some swelling which may take up to three to five months to fully subside.
Are you interested in saddlebag liposuction? This is a procedure that Centre for Surgery currently offers. Contact us today on 0207 993 4849 to find out more information or to book a consultation with one of our expert surgeons.