Every day, we are bombarded with advertisements all over media promoting the best method to lose excess weight and to look thinner and in perfect shape. There are many people who put a lot of effort into eating just the right things and exercising regularly, however, they don’t always manage to get the body they desire. Some people tend to accumulate adipose tissue in certain areas of the body such as the tummy or the thighs, which are deposits that are difficult to get rid of with natural methods. When confronted with localized fat pockets that are resistant to physical exercise and diet, liposuction is the best solution available. With the help of liposuction, you can contour your body efficiently and get rid of the unwanted fat accumulation in different areas of the body. Liposuction can help you achieve the ideal body proportions you have always wanted while not leaving significant scars on your body. The procedure is mainly performed for cosmetic reasons. More details about the liposuction procedure Liposuction will remove fat from adipose pockets located in certain areas of the body. The procedure is for both men and women, although majority of patients are women. Liposuction is the most commonly performed plastic surgery in the United States. Despite this fact, liposuction is still a surgical intervention that should be only done in a safe medical facility and by a board-certified plastic surgeon. This way, you can avoid unwanted side effects and complications that can be life-threatening. A responsible plastic surgeon won’t remove more than 5-6 liters of fat during a liposuction session. This is also the reason why liposuction should never be considered or used as a weight loss method or a treatment for obesity. The only purpose of liposuction is a cosmetic and aesthetic one: reshaping and contouring the body for achieving more harmonious proportions. The procedure permanently removes some of the fat cells in the areas treated. However, if the patient won’t keep a balanced diet with regular exercise, the adipose pockets might form in other areas of the body that were not treated with liposuction. Also, if a significant weight gain occurs, the fat cells still left in the areas treated might increase in volume again. Patients that desire to undergo this procedure should be in good condition, both physically and emotionally, and have good skin elasticity and realistic expectations from the surgery. This is why we always recommend patients to discuss the pros and cons of the procedure with their surgeon first before making their decision. These are the body areas most commonly targeted by liposuction: – Abdomen – Upper and lower back – Buttocks – Chest (for male patients) – Knees – Hips – Neck and chin – Thighs – Upper arms Good skin elasticity is important for the success of liposuction, because the skin needs to have the ability to retract and adapt to the new shape of the body. The health condition of the patient is also essential. Patients with blood conditions, diabetes, or a weak immune system might find it difficult to undergo this type of surgery. The recovery can also be more difficult for patients with a poor health condition. Aside from aesthetic reasons, liposuction can also be used to treat or correct medical conditions such as: – Lymphedema (a progressive chronic affliction that only occurs in women after puberty or pregnancy); – Gynecomastia (the increase in volume of the mammary gland in men); – Lipodystrophy syndrome (fat accumulating in certain parts of the body only); – Extreme weight loss after obesity Tips before the liposuction procedure: – Don’t take any aspirin or anti-inflammatory medication for at least two to four weeks prior to the intervention. – Some patients will be advised to stop birth control pills for a certain period before and after the procedure. – Patients that have anemia will be advised to have an iron-rich diet before the intervention. How is liposuction performed? The procedure can last between one and four hours, depending on the area/s to be treated and the quantity of fat to be removed. Usually, local anesthesia with sedation is used, but if the intervention is lengthier, a general anesthetic might be preferred. Once the anesthetic takes effect, the procedure will start. First, the plastic surgeon will perform small incisions on the areas to be treated. The incisions will be placed in such a way that the scars can be easily masked by the body’s natural folds. Through the incisions, the surgeon will then insert a small tube called a cannula connected to a suctioning medical device. The cannula is inserted in between the skin and the muscles. To turn the fat into a liquid so it can be suctioned out, the surgeon will perform back and forth movements with the cannula. After the liposuction procedure – In most cases, the patients who received general anesthesia will be required to spend the night in the medical facility to have their condition monitored for at least 12 more hours after surgery. If local anesthetic was used, the patient may be released from the medical facility within a few hours of the surgery. – The treated area/s will be protected for a few weeks with bandages. The elastic bandages have the role of reducing the inflammation and bruises and also help the skin retract to the new contours. It is very important to ask and listen to your plastic surgeon’s advice regarding the hygiene of the operated areas. – Antibiotics will be prescribed. – Pain control pills will also be prescribed to help the patient manage the discomfort that might be associated with the procedure. The results of liposuction can be evaluated and appreciated only after the last signs of swelling have subsided. Sometimes this can take a few weeks or even months. In most cases, the first results are visible within four weeks from the surgery. The final results of liposuction are permanent, but only for patients who will manage to maintain a constant weight after the intervention. Patients who will continue to put on weight after liposuction might notice some changes in the distribution of the fat layer. The fat might not accumulate in the areas where liposuction was performed, but the patient might be surprised to see other areas affected. Risks of undergoing liposuction Just like any other surgery, there is a risk of bleeding, infection, and allergic reactions to the anesthetic used. The risk for other complications to occur is usually associated with the complexity of the procedure and the level of experience of the plastic surgeon. Other potential complications that can occur after liposuction are: – Visible bruises (usually occur in patients who had aspirin or anti-inflammatory medication before the liposuction procedure) – Contour irregularities (can occur in patients with a skin not elastic enough or if the fat was removed in a non-uniform manner) – Numbness (can be a temporary side effect of liposuction) – Infections (can occur in very rare cases) – Skin burns Conclusion Liposuction is a highly effective method to get rid of unwanted fat deposits from areas of the body that are difficult to address with diet and exercise. The procedure has been performed for many decades, and nowadays it is the most frequently performed plastic surgery in the United States and probably all around the world. The intervention is in a vast majority of cases performed for cosmetic reasons. With the help of liposuction, the patient can greatly improve the aspect of the body and achieve a more youthful shape and contour. Liposuction can be performed as a stand-alone intervention, or it can be combined with other plastic surgery procedures such as the tummy tuck, breast and buttock augmentation, and fat transfer to different areas of the body. The procedure is minimally invasive. However, it still entails some risks and potential complications that the patients should be aware of before making the decision to undergo liposuction. Ask your plastic surgeon if you are a good candidate to undergo liposuction and if your expectations are reasonable. Keep in mind that liposuction is not a weight loss method, nor is it a treatment for obesity. While the procedure can be performed on multiple areas of the body, a responsible plastic surgeon won’t remove more than 5 to 6 liters of fat at a time.