Liposuction is a technique to remove unwanted fat deposits from specific areas of the body (e.g. neck, upper arms, abdomen, back, buttocks, hips, thighs, knees, calves and ankles).
It allows the removal of fat using a small hollow metal tube (known as a cannula) under a controlled vacuum suction.
Liposuction is NOT a method of weight reduction, but is a method of removing localized fat from areas that do not respond to dieting or exercise.
Our size can be changed by weight reduction and exercise but our shape stays relatively the same.
Our shape is dictated by our bone structure, our muscle mass as well as the volume and distribution of fat. The location of fat cells is determined by heredity (familial traits) and gender (male vs. female).
Since liposuction removes fat cells, the number of fat cells decreases, but the fat cells remaining may still increase in size if the individual gains weight.
What does Liposuction accomplish?
It is designed to remove localized areas of fat and help contour the individual’s shape.
By removing the prominent areas of fat, it establishes more normal proportions between different areas of the body.
Patients must continue to watch their diet and maintain adequate exercise after surgery.
In general, patients will not see much difference on the scale but will see a difference in inches. The average weight loss is approximately 2 pounds per liter of fat removed.
If patients gain weight after liposuction, they will gain it more uniformly throughout the body and not just in the former areas that were more prominent.
How is it done?
There are two types of liposuction performed. These include tumescent liposuction and ultrasonic liposuction.
A small incision (approximately ¼ of an inch) is made in the area adjacent to the localized fat pocket.
At first, a tumescent solution that consists of saline with medications (Lidocaine and Epinephrine) is injected into the area that is going to be suctioned. This allows the area to become numb and contributes to the control of bleeding.
Once all areas are treated with this fluid, ultrasound energy may be used (ultrasonic liposuction) to break down the fat.
Liposuction is then begun. It is performed by using a hollow metal surgical instrument (cannula) that is inserted through small skin incision(s) and is passed back and forth through the area of fatty deposit. The cannula is attached to a vacuum source, which provides the suction needed to remove the fatty tissue.
Who are good candidates for Liposuction?
The best candidates for liposuction are individuals of relatively normal weight who have excess fat in particular body areas. Having firm, elastic skin will result in a better final contour after liposuction.
Hanging skin will not redrape itself to the new contours and may require additional surgical techniques to remove and tighten it. Body contour irregularities due to structures other than fat cannot be improved by this technique.
In general, liposuction itself will not improve areas of dimpled skin known as "cellulite”.
How long will the effect of Liposuction last?
Reducing the populations of fat cells in an area will produce a contour alteration that is expected to be permanent.
However, the size of the fat cells that are left behind is controlled by diet and exercise. If the patient gains weight, the fat cells will increase in size and make the area fuller.
Subsequent alterations in the body contour may occur as a result of aging, weight gain or loss, pregnancy, and/or a variety of other circumstances which may not be related to the location of fat.