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What is Liposuction?

Liposuction, also known as lipoplasty, liposculpture, lipectomy or simply lipo is a cosmetic surgery procedure that removes fat from different sites of the body. Areas affected can range from the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, to the neck, backs of the arms, breast and other places.

Traditional Liposuction


The Facts About Liposuction

Liposuction Surgery Video

Liposuction and Tummy Tucks

Traditional liposuction involves what is referred to as "dry technique," where a cannula (tube) is inserted directly under the skin and fat cells are sucked out. When liposuction was popular in the 1970's, there were horror stories about blood loss, disfigurement and even death. The trauma associated with traditional liposuction is now attributed to the "dry technique" which is more invasive painful and requires a longer recuperation period than any other liposuction technique. It is rarely used today. With traditional Liposuction, in addition to the greatly increased likelihood of skin irregularities, many patients complain that they do not see a noticeable change in their shape following the procedure. They often feel that not enough fat has been removed.

Tumescent Liposuction

Tumescent liposuction, also referred to as liposculpture, permits liposuction totally by local anesthesia instead of general anesthesia. This technique is now considered the safest form of liposuction for removing very large amounts of fat because there is virtually no blood loss. Not only has tumescent liposuction proven to be safer than traditional liposuction which uses general anesthesia, but it also has proven to be less painful, has minimized post operative recovery time and has produced optimal cosmetic results. During this technique, the surgeon will inject a solution into your fatty areas before the fat is removed. It is made up of a saline solution, a mild painkiller and epinephrine, a drug that contracts your blood vessels. The solution not only helps the surgeon remove the fat more easily but it helps reduce blood loss and provides pain relief during and after surgery.

Local anesthesia used in tumescent liposuction for liposuction is so effective that patients no longer need intravenous sedatives, narcotic analgesics or general anesthesia. Over the years, numerous patients who previously had liposuction with general anesthesia have had second treatments with tumescent liposuction. Virtually every one of these patients has found tumescent liposuction to be less painful, to provide better results and to result in more rapid healing and recovery.

Tumescent Liposuction (liposculpture) is a form of body contouring and is considered surgery. As with all With surgey risks can occur. Liposuction should not be considered as a primary means for weight loss. Instead it should be used as a means to remove fat and scuplt areas that otherwise do not respond to diet and exercise. The amount of fat removed varies by doctor, method and patient, but is typically less than 10 pounds (5 kg).

There are several factors that limit the amount of fat that can be safely removed in one session. Ultimately, the operating physician and the patient make the decision. There are negative aspects to removing too much fat. Unusual "lumpiness" and/or "dents" in the skin can be seen in those patients "over-suctioned". The more fat removed the higher the surgical risk.

While reports of people removing 50 pounds (22.7 kg) of fat are exaggerated, the contouring possible with liposuction may cause the appearance of weight loss to be greater than the actual amount of fat removed. The procedure may be performed under general or local anesthesia (tumescent liposuction). The safety of the technique relates not only to the amount of tissue removed, but to the choice of anesthetic and the patient's overall health. It is ideal for the patient to be as fit as possible before the procedure and not to have smoked for several months.

Removal of very large volumes of fat is a complex and potentially life-threatening procedure. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons defines "large" in this context as being more than 5 liters.

Liposuction Common Areas:

The abdomen and thighs in women
The abdomen and flanks in men
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery liposuction was the most common plastic surgery procedure performed in 2006 with 403,684 patients.

Liposuction Goals:

  • To remove the right amount of fat
  • To cause the least disturbance of neighboring tissue, such as blood vessels and connective tissue
  • To leave the person's fluid balance undisturbed
  • To cause the least discomfort to both patient and surgeon
  • As techniques have been refined, many ideas have emerged that have brought liposuction closer to being safe, easy, painless, and effective.

Liposuction Recovery

Under most circumstances, when liposuction is an outpatient procedure, recovery is usually quick. Most people can return to work within a few days and to normal activities within about two weeks. You should expect bruising, swelling and soreness for a least a few weeks. However, every person's outcome will vary based on factors such as volume of fat cells removed and area of removal. Your doctor will discuss what results you can expect to achieve and how to best maintain your new body shape.

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