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What is Liposuction?
Liposuction is a surgical procedure that utilizes suction to remove fat from specific areas of the body, including the abdomen, hips, thighs, buttocks, arms, or neck. Liposuction can also shape and contour these areas. Other terms for liposuction include lipoplasty and body contouring.
It is important to note that liposuction is not generally considered an effective overall weight loss method or an alternative to weight loss. If you are overweight, you will likely achieve greater weight loss through diet and exercise or through bariatric procedures, such as gastric bypass surgery, than you would with liposuction.
Liposuction is primarily used to improve appearance rather than providing physical health benefits. Most people could achieve the same or better results by adopting a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep.
Liposuction is usually recommended only when lifestyle changes have not produced the desired results. It can be used to treat areas of fat that are resistant to exercise and diet. When a person gains weight, each fat cell increases in size and volume. Liposuction reduces the number of fat cells in specific areas. Individuals should discuss the advantages and disadvantages of liposuction with their doctor before making a decision to proceed. Liposuction should only be performed after careful consideration.
Liposuction is used to remove fat from areas of the body that have not responded to diet and exercise, such as the abdomen, upper arms, buttocks, calves and ankles, chest and back, hips and thighs, and chin and neck. Liposuction can also be used for breast reduction or treatment of gynecomastia. After liposuction, the skin conforms to the new contours of the treated areas. If the individual has good skin tone and elasticity, the skin will likely appear smooth. However, if the individual has thin skin with poor elasticity, the skin in the treated areas may appear loose.
It is important to note that liposuction does not improve cellulite dimpling or other irregularities in the skin’s surface, nor does it remove stretch marks.
To be a candidate for liposuction, an individual must be in good health without conditions that could complicate surgery, such as restricted blood flow, coronary artery disease, diabetes, or a weak immune system.
Ultrasound has been around for about 40 years. Although it is often used as a means of imaging, it also can be a treatment.
Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves that can create high amounts of energy in tissues where it is focused. This can dissolve fat cells, which makes it easier to remove using suction.
Ultrasound-assisted liposuction is often used in areas of tougher fat, such as in the male chest, on the back, in ‘saddlebags’, and in other areas where traditional liposuction may be difficult. The recovery is similar to tumescent liposuction, although people may experience occasional blistering or burns.
One of the key advantages of ultrasound-assisted liposuction can more quickly remove fibrous or otherwise stubborn fat that otherwise might require several treatments. In addition, a larger volume of fat can be safely removed using this type of liposuction since it is liquified and less likely to bruise or bleed.
There are also a few disadvantages. Because ultrasound does produce high energy rays, there is a higher chance of developing blisters and burns. There is also a higher chance of numbness and of developing small blood clots. Nonetheless, many people feel that this type of liposuction is the right choice for them, particularly if they have fat that is fibrous or otherwise more likely to be stubborn.
Vaser lipolysis can give traditional liposuction a boost in fat reduction. Liposuction is a popular fast-fix for those seeking a slimmer body with minimal effort. However, like anything that seems too good to be true, the fat-reduction procedure has a few drawbacks, especially if your skin cannot take up the slack. Pockets of sagging skin may defeat the purpose of using cosmetic surgery to target hard-to-reach fat.
Vaser lipolysis is a minimally invasive procedure that uses fiber-optic lasers at various wavelengths to melt body fat. This is different from liposuction, which involves removing fat from the body using vacuum suction. The added benefit of laser lipolysis is that it stimulates the production of the protein collagen, which makes the skin more taut.
Vaser lipolysis can be effective on its own for fat removal. However, combining laser lipolysis with traditional liposuction usually produces the best results for tightening and shrinking skin.
This is the default type of liposuction and the oldest as well. In this type of liposuction, small incisions are made over the area to be suctioned. A hollow needle, called a cannula, is inserted through these incisions to suction out fat cells.
The recovery time for this procedure can be 1-3 months, depending on the extent of the procedure and how quickly you heal. Additionally, it can take three to six months for your shape to become final. However, most people in lipo recovery are able to return to their normal activities after just a few days.
This type of lipo can be used in various areas of the body, including the buttocks, thighs, legs, abdomen, back, and arms. However, most people do not use it for small areas such as under their chin because it is one of the less precise types of liposuction.
The main advantage of this type of liposuction is that it is the least expensive. Additionally, it has been used for a long time and is a “tried and true” procedure that many physicians can perform.
However, there are several disadvantages to suction lipo as well. Firstly, it causes more bleeding and bruising than any other type of liposuction. Secondly, it is harder to control fat removal, so there is a higher rate of lumpiness, dimpling, and other imperfections. People often have to undergo several treatments to achieve the desired results with this type of liposuction.
One of the major disadvantages of this procedure is that many people require general anesthesia to undergo it. Although newer types of liposuction can usually be done with just local anesthesia, many patients have to be put under general anesthesia for this type, which introduces a new range of potential complications and side effects.
What to expect
Before the procedure, patients will need to undergo some health tests to ensure they are fit for surgery. The following recommendations may be made:
- People who regularly use aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs should stop taking them at least 2 weeks before surgery.
- Women may be asked to stop taking the contraceptive pill.
- Patients with anemia may be asked to take iron supplements.
- The individual will need to sign a consent form to confirm that they are fully aware of the risks, benefits, and possible alternatives to the procedure.
Frequently asked questions
Generally speaking, however, liposuction is considered a safe procedure, and if you follow your post-op instructions closely, there are rarely any serious complications.
During the liposuction procedure, small incisions are made in order to remove the excess fat cells. These incisions are small and made in inconspicuous areas whenever possible, so they are less noticeable. You should receive after-care incision instructions to care for them after the procedure. These instructions should help to ensure that the incisions heal with minimal scarring.
Depending on how much fat is removed, you can expect to see final results between 1-3 months after the procedure.
Liposuction can remove stubborn excess body fat and help you achieve your desired body contour, but it is essential to have realistic expectations and know that maintaining your new look long-term requires a commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
Recovery varies from one person to the next, but in general, most people can return to desk work and light activities within a week or so after treatment. You may experience swelling and discomfort for a bit longer than this, and you will be advised not to perform any strenuous exercise for at least a month.
Liposuction is a surgical procedure, so there will be some swelling, pain and discomfort in the first few days of your recovery. Most people report feeling post-op pain up to four or five days, but it subsides quickly, and any lingering discomfort can be managed easily.