Most of us have one or two problem areas that get all of our attention when we look in the mirror. We pinch and smooth and prod and poke at our abdomens, thighs and love handles, wishing that extra little “bit” would simply disappear. In the early 1980s, liposuction became widely available and wildly popular. It’s amazing that such a simple idea took so long to arrive. A tiny vacuum that can suck away fat? That’s even better than a Dyson!
Who Is a Good Candidate for Liposuction?
It’s important to understand that liposuction is meant to contour the body and eliminate pockets of fat that stick around even after employing a healthy diet and exercise regimen. It is not meant as a tool for overall weight loss. In fact, the average liposuction patient loses less than five pounds after the procedure. But those pounds are lost in targeted areas, so the results are impressive. Typically, liposuction patients should be within a few pounds of their ideal body weight, with a Body Mass Index of less than 35. Liposuction only treats external fat and cannot remove visceral fat, which is fat inside the abdominal cavity or on major organs. The treatment area also needs to have firm and elastic skin. If the skin is too loose, it will sag when the fat is removed and may be better suited to a lift or tuck procedure.
Learn How To Eliminate Resistant Fat with Liposuction
What Areas are Most Often Treated with Liposuction?
Liposuction is the second most common plastic surgery procedure behind breast augmentation. The areas typically treated by liposuction vary by gender.
- Love Handles
- Back (above and below bra strap)
- Lower Back
- Love Handles
How is Liposuction Performed?
Depending on how large the area of liposuction is and if local or general anesthesia will be used, the procedure may be performed in the doctor’s office or in an operating room. Tiny incision of less than 5mm are made in hidden areas near the liposuction site such as the belly button, groin, armpit fold, etc. The plastic surgeon then injects a tumescent fluid that numbs the area and also causes the blood vessels to constrict, therefore reducing bleeding and eventual bruising. A tiny instrument called a microcannula is inserted into the incision and used to extract fat in one of several ways:
- Traditional Liposuction – Uses the movement of the microcannula itself to break up the fat and suction it away simultaneously.
- Ultrasound Liposuction – Uses ultrasound waves to melt the fat before it is suctioned out.
- Laser Liposuction – Uses laser energy to melt the fat before it is suctioned out.
The plastic surgeon smooths and contours the treated area before typically using only one suture per incision to close the procedure.
What is the Recovery Time for Liposuction?
Liposuction has a relatively short recovery period of 7-10 days depending on how extensive the treatment. Patients typically report feeling stiff and sore as if they had completed a vigorous workout. It is important to wear a post-surgical compression garment to assist your skin in tightening and adhering to the deeper tissues. Swelling will reduce significantly after 14 days but can take 6-12 months to be fully resolved.
Will the Fat Come Back?
Fat that is removed via liposuction is gone forever. But wait – it’s not too good to be true. Your body is full of “plump” fat cells and “skinny” fat cells. Plump cells are actually full of fat that can be seen under a microscope. Skinny fat cells, called lipocytes, that are left behind after liposuction can become full of fat if diet and exercise are not maintained. But if you remain committed to pampering your new figure, you should enjoy your liposuction results for years to come.
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