Often used in conjunction with other plastic surgery techniques, liposuction removes pockets of fat from troublesome areas such as the thighs, hips, abdomen, and upper arms. Liposuction procedures vary depending on what your ultimate cosmetic goal is, and whether you are combining liposuction with other plastic surgery procedures.
What Is Liposuction?
Many Americans have only a vague concept of what liposuction is. Simply put, liposuction is the surgical removal of fat cells through a stainless steel suction tube called a cannula. Liposuction was first performed in 1974 and was a tremendous improvement over previous surgical body contouring techniques. There have been many advances in liposuction procedures over the last few decades, making it one of the safest and most popular body contouring surgeries in the world.
Are You a Good Candidate for Liposuction?
If you are considering liposuction, it is important that you have realistic expectations. Although dramatic results can be achieved, they may not be as immediate or obvious as you would like. As with all plastic surgery, the success of liposuction will depend on a number of individual factors, such as age, skin elasticity, weight, and overall health. Liposuction is not appropriate for people with a weakened immune system, diabetes, heart or artery problems, or a history of blood clots or restricted blood flow. You are a good candidate for liposuction if you are of normal weight; have healthy, elastic skin; and have specific “trouble areas” such as the tummy, thighs, and butt that will not respond to changes in diet and exercise. Liposuction is also appropriate for women who are considering breast reduction, and for men who suffer from gynecomastia, or male breast development.
Areas of the Face and Body Treatable with Liposuction
Liposuction works best for areas of the face and body with stubborn fat deposits resistant to overall weight loss, such as the infamous “love handles.” The thighs, abdomen, buttocks, flanks, hips, upper arms, chin, jowels, and neck generally respond well. Men and women may also choose liposuction to reduce breast size, a procedure that results in less scarring than other types of plastic surgery. Liposuction can be performed consecutively on many different sites; in fact, many patients choose to have several body parts treated during the same day.
Types of Liposuction
There are several types of liposuction procedures available, all of which use a wand-like instrument called a cannula to remove unwanted fat. Tumescent liposuction involves the injection if a large amount of anesthetic into the area being treated; the wet and super-wet techniques are variations of this type of liposuction. In ultrasonic assisted liposuction (UAL), sound waves are used to liquefy the fat before it is removed. LipoSelection® uses the same concept without disturbing the surrounding tissue. Power assisted liposuction (PAL) employs a motor-powered cannula, which allows the surgeon to use smaller movements and make the experience more comfortable for the patient.
Water-assisted liposuction uses water to loosen fat cells from the connective tissue and gently remove them using a thin, hollow tube to dislodge the fat and suction it out. With this technique, unlike traditional liposuction techniques, the fat cells are not destroyed and can be harvested and transferred to restore fullness to other areas of the body.
Liposuction Cost and Financing Information
The cost of liposuction can vary greatly depending on the type you chose, the area(s) of the body you want to target. Generally, liposuction procedures run anywhere from $1,500 to $7,500, your total cost depending on the number of treatments you undergo. Except in very rare cases, liposuction is not covered by insurance, and must be paid in full by the patient. There are many financing options available for plastic surgery through national credit companies such as CareCredit®.
The Liposuction Procedure
The basic liposuction procedure involves the insertion of a small, tube-like instrument called a cannula through tiny incisions made by the surgeon. The cannula then breaks up and vacuums away unwanted fat deposits beneath the skin. Local or IV sedation will be used, depending on the type and number of liposuction procedures you undergo. As with any plastic surgery, you should prepare for liposuction carefully and allow yourself plenty of recovery time.
Risks and Benefits of Liposuction
Like any plastic surgery, liposuction carries some amount of risk. Although liposuction complications are rare, they can include infection, nerve damage, seizures, and negative reactions to anesthesia. The most effective way to minimize your risk is to have a thorough physical examination prior to liposuction surgery. There is also the risk of experiencing adverse side effects, such as bruising and scarring. On the other hand, the benefits of fat and cellulite removal can be enormous, with many patients reporting improved appearance, self-esteem, and overall confidence.
Maintaining Your Figure after Liposuction
Although liposuction does remove a number of existing fat cells, it does not guarantee that you won’t regain some fat. The importance of healthy lifestyle choices post- liposuction cannot be stressed enough; you should stick to a moderate diet and be sure to exercise for at least 30 minutes three to five times per week. Not only will this help you maintain your figure after liposuction, it will also improve your overall health and help prevent the onset of certain diseases. If you are going to treat yourself to liposuction, be sure to treat your body well afterward!