Liposuction: Removing unwanted excess fat by plastic surgery

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Liposuction (lipoplasty) is a procedure that can help sculpt the body by removing unwanted fat from specific areas, including the abdomen, hips, buttocks, thighs, knees, upper arms, chin, cheeks and neck. Liposuction has been performed for many years, but the most significant advances in liposuction techniques have occurred over the past two decades.

The level of safety and efficiency in liposuction has been dramatically increased by the "pre-wetting" of the fatty tissues with a solution that delivers local anesthesia as well as epinephrine, or adrenaline, to constrict the vessels within the tissues and substantially minimize bleeding during liposuction surgery.

Although no type of liposuction is a substitute for dieting and exercise, liposuction can remove stubborn areas of fat that donít respond to traditional weight-loss methods.

Liposuction is neither a substitute for proper diet and exercise nor a method for overall weight loss. It cannot eliminate cellulite or correct loose, hanging skin. In fact, the best results from lipoplasty are achieved when you have healthy, elastic skin with the capacity to shrink evenly after surgery. If your skin has lost much of its elasticity you may need a skin tightening procedure such as a tummy tuck, thigh lift, buttock lift, or arm lift.

What types of liposuction are available?

The main liposuction techniques are tumescent liposuction and superwet liposuction, both of which utilize the infusion of wetting solutions to provide anesthesia and vasoconstriction (shrinking of the blood vessels).
The additional liposuction modalities include SAL (suction assisted liposuction), PAL (power assisted liposuction), UAL (ultrasound assisted liposuction), VAL (vaser assisted liposuction), SmartLipoTM (laser assisted liposuction), SlimLipoTM (laser assisted liposuction), and others. The benefits of these liposuction modalities are emulsifying fat during or prior to liposuction. The laser liposuction modalities are purported to promote tissue tightening, although the effects have not yet been definitively proven.

What areas can be treated with liposuction?

Liposuction can be used to remove fat from virtually any area of the body. Thigh liposuction, tummy liposuction, love handle liposuction, flank liposuction, back liposuction, arm liposuction, ankle liposuction, chin liposuction, and neck liposuction are all common. Breast liposuction can also be performed in selected cases.

What is the cost of liposuction?

The cost of liposuction varies depending on the region(s) treated, and the extent and time during liposuction surgery. Small areas may be treated for $1,500, and more extensive liposuction of multiple areas of the body may cost $9-10,000. The surgeon's fee, facility charge, and anesthesia fees all factor into the final cost of the liposuction procedure based upon your particular needs and desires.

Who is the best candidate for liposuction?

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.

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