Buffalo hump (fat accumulation on upper back and shoulder) and Lipoma (benign fatty tumours) are structurally different, and so are their treatment approaches.
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Body sculpting and liposuction are used by men (as well as women) to get them into a shape they feel good about. It’s important that you come out looking better than when you went in! Unfortunately, there have been plenty of botched liposuction procedures and also fat freezing and cosmetic procedures that have gone wrong. Many of the ones being corrected here in Singapore were carried out in different countries, including “medical tourism” destinations.
It's good to know that the Ministry of Health (MOH) in Singapore has tightened its restrictions and accreditation criteria; according to Dr Ivan Puah, Medical Director of Amaris B. Clinic, “Singapore now has one of the most stringent policies in the world, to ensure patient safety and maintain the highest standard of care for patients.” But you may be surprised that there are also many botched liposuction cases in Singapore - happening right under our nose!
Here, Dr Puah looks at why men opt for body sculpting – and how it can go (and has gone) wrong, including results such as scarring and lumpiness (and a side effect of fat freezing known as paradoxical adipose hyperplasia). Plus, he explains what to look for in a doctor before you make a decision.
How body sculpting procedures can improve men’s well-being and psychological wellness
Many common reasons exist for wanting to undergo Vaser Liposuction or 4D Liposuction (Hi-Definition Lipo). These include a desire to boost self-esteem and confidence, improve overall health, permanently remove stubborn fat from specific body parts (particularly those resistant to diet and exercise) and achieve a more sculpted appearance.
Gynecomastia is a medical condition that affects men not only physically, causing them pain and discomfort, but more importantly mentally, affecting their psychological wellbeing and self-confidence. As many as 60 to 70% of men worldwide in certain age groups may suffer from gynecomastia. The good news is that gynecomastia is treatable with gynecomastia surgery.
"It is important to zoom into the intent of the patient for wanting to improve themselves. Mostly, they have thought it over carefully, are in good health and have good self-esteem, and understand the risks of the procedure they’re considering. Patients seek cosmetic procedures for a multitude of personal reasons that are beyond vanity," says Dr Puah.
Most of his patients who are satisfied with their body sculpting experience, whether Vaser Liposuction, 4D Liposuction (Hi-Definition Lipo) , or gynecomastia surgery, continue to upkeep their appearance by adhering to a better lifestyle, including exercising regularly and eating more nutritiously.
But what if the results of liposuction for men, or other cosmetic procedures make a patient feel worse?
The doctor who performs the body sculpting procedure plays a critical role in achieving satisfactory results for the patient, according to Dr Puah. To do so, he or she needs to have a 3D artistic understanding of the anatomical and surgical adipose layers and a practical application of scientific knowledge with artistry and precision. It’s a skill attained only with surgical experience. Often, botched liposuction results are due to under-correction and over-correction.
Secondary liposuction may improve under-correction to achieve a more proportionate appearance. On the other hand, over-correction results in excess fat being removed – more than the desired contour line – causing noticeable indentations and skin irregularities such as depressions, bumps, dents, and asymmetries.
Why does botched liposuction happen?
#1 Medical tourism
Dr Puah has noticed a rise in failed results, such as botched liposuction and gynecomastia surgery, among patients who had their cosmetic procedures or body sculpting done overseas. Popular medical tourism destinations for Singaporeans include nearby Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand, and China.
The primary reason for beauty tourism is the relatively lower cost of cosmetic procedures and the opportunity to explore the host city or country after getting a treatment. However, the lack of stringent regulations and clinical standards is often overlooked or doesn’t pose a deterrent. These inadequacies can lead to the need for revisionary work and additional corrective treatments, which may mean additional expense.
According to Dr Puah, patients who have been through such experiences frequently complain of a lack of medical follow-up, miscommunication, improper preparation, and incomplete procedure counselling. Despite these real and unfortunate experiences, he says there was an alarming rise in botched procedures in 2019 before travel restrictions put a hold on medical tourism.
#2 Shopping for the cheapest
Don’t opt for a procedure just because it’s cheap or the cheapest option. Dr Puah says the aim is to get the most appropriate procedure done to best suit your needs without incurring unnecessary risks to your health and well-being.
#3 Not doing enough homework
Finding the right Vaser liposuction doctor in Singapore who has trained to perform liposuction is only the beginning. It's crucial to find a doctor who not only performs the procedure regularly but who can also consistently achieve a high patient satisfaction rate. Do check out the before and after photos of cases performed by your doctor; they'll show clear indications of results. After accessing your condition and medical history, they should give you an uncomplicated and straightforward explanation of the recommended treatment.
The Ministry of Health in Singapore is strict about which health professionals can perform liposuction. This is why they issue liposuction licenses to doctors based on strict criteria; only a certified and accredited doctor can perform liposuction in Singapore.
How do you fix uneven or botched liposuction?
If you’re unhappy with the results of your liposuction procedure, it may be possible to undergo revision surgery. This is sometimes known as liposuction correction; it’s a further surgery carried out with the intention of addressing the issues.
For uneven lipo, fat injections or grafting can fill out the uneven fat below the skin, and excess tissue can be taken from elsewhere on the body and transferred to the dimpled area to fill, patch, and smooth out the dents.
The role of the liposuction doctor
In Singapore, healthcare professionals who perform liposuction without accreditation or proper compliance with licensing conditions face stern action.
Liposuction is a delicate procedure, says Dr Puah. When done right, it can significantly improve the confidence and outlook of the patients. When it goes wrong, it can result in a body shape that looks worse than in the beginning. "One of the main reasons a person opts for liposuction is to correct disproportionate body fat distribution and to improve their body confidence. Therefore, the psychological effects of a procedure gone wrong can be devastating. These include anxiety, low self-esteem and body confidence, among others that I’ve seen in patients who have sought correction surgeries with me."
Dr Puah adds that, apart from honing the necessary skills to perfect the results for patients, a liposuction doctor must be ethical. They must possess an equal blend of empathy to understand a patient's needs, concerns, and worries and professionalism to provide the best advice and solution to alleviate concerns and help the patient achieve a realistic goal.
Choosing a liposuction doctor based on the price tag, forgoing their reputation, experience, and surgical approaches often result in patients undergoing secondary surgery or living with the aftermath of poorly performed liposuction.
About Dr Ivan Puah, an accredited liposuction doctor in Singapore
Before you schedule an appointment for liposuction in Singapore, it’s crucial to only source a credible and experienced liposuction doctor accredited by the Ministry of Health. Dr Puah is accredited by the MOH to perform liposuction, including Laserlipolysis (Laser Liposuction) and Vaser Liposuction in Singapore. He obtained his Vaser Liposuction training in Colorado and Argentina, with further training in Laserlipolysis (Laser Liposuction) in Italy and gynecomastia surgery in San Francisco.
About Amaris B.Clinic
The clinic provides custom body contouring tailored to your body type and the desired outcome. Costs vary depending on the individual's condition, the complexity of the surgery, and the body regions to be treated. Integrity and patients’ well-being is the clinic’s priority, and advising patients to undergo unnecessary treatments is not aligned with their principles.