Liposuction is designed for the permanent removal of fatty tissue, commonly referred to as “cellulite.” It is an elective procedure that allows the plastic surgeon to remove undesirable, subcutaneous fat in isolated areas that do not respond to diet and exercise. These areas include the hips, thighs, abdomen, knees, ankles, face, and neck.
Liposuction is most successful in people with good skin tone who have fatty deposits. It is not a treatment for obesity. If weight gain occurs following liposuction, the fat will be deposited in areas that have not been treated. The procedure can be repeated, if necessary. To maintain the safety of the procedure, there is a limit on how much can be done at one time.
A variety of factors can affect the results: Physical condition, genetic makeup, diet, exercise, smoking, alcohol intake, and skin elasticity.
Body contours made irregular by fat can be improved by this procedure; it cannot correct contours that are irregular for other reasons, such as muscle weakness or hernia. However, combined with other procedures, liposuction can correct these other deformities with good results.
To be a good candidate for liposuction, you must have realistic expectations about what the procedure can do for you. It’s important to understand that liposuction can enhance your appearance and self-confidence, but it won’t necessarily change your looks to match your ideal or cause other people to treat you differently. Before you decide to have surgery, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with the surgeon.
The best candidates for liposuction are normal-weight people with firm, elastic skin who have pockets of excess fat in certain areas. You should be physically healthy, psychologically stable, and realistic in your expectations. Your age is not a major consideration; however, older patients may have diminished skin elasticity and may not achieve the same results as a younger patient with tighter skin.
Liposuction carries greater risk for individuals with medical problems such as diabetes, significant heart or lung disease, poor blood circulation, or those who have recently had surgery near the area to be contoured.
In women, we commonly treat hips, thighs, love handles, tummy, buttocks, and knees. Liposuction is also used to treat the neck, breasts, and other areas. In men, the common areas treated are the chest, tummy, and neck.
The tumescent technique is a relatively new liposuction method that can reduce post-operative bruising, swelling and pain. Because blood loss is minimized during tumescent liposuction, the use of the technique reduces the chance that a blood transfusion will be needed.
In the tumescent technique, areas of excess fat are injected with a large amount of anesthetic liquid before liposuction is performed. The liquid causes the compartments of fat to become swollen and firm or “tumesced.”
The expanded fat compartments allow the liposuction cannula to travel smoothly beneath the skin as the fat is removed.
Any person who is a candidate for traditional liposuction is also a good candidate for the tumescent technique. Although the technique can be used on any area of the body, it is commonly used on areas that require precise enhancement, such as the face, neck, arms, calves, and ankles. Individuals who have large areas of excess fat may also be good candidates for tumescent liposuction.