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Liposuction

What Is Liposuction?

Liposuction is a surgical method of removing excess fat from the body.  It has ranked among the most popular cosmetic surgeries in America since at least the 1980s.  In today's world, everyone wants to be thin and attractive.  Everyone wants a well-contoured body.  However, sometimes it can be hard to achieve this sort of appearance on one's own.  Liposuction offers a way for people to achieve results that are better than what they would be able to get on their own.

However, despite the high level of demand for this surgery, there are a lot of people who still don't really understand what it is or what it does.  This site will give a brief overview of the most pertinent information relating to liposuction.

The History Of Liposuction

The idea of surgically removing fat from the body has been around for a long time.  In modern times, interest in surgical removal of fat dates back to at least the beginning  of the 20th century.  At this point, these surgeries often consisted of people merely cutting or scraping the unwanted fat out with scalpels or other medical instruments.  This sort of technique often resulted in large-scale blood loss, unattractive scarring, and health dangers.  Because of this, these early surgeries did not attain large-scale popularity.

It wasn't until the '70s and '80s that liposuction truly began to come into its own.  By this time, surgeons had begun to improve both their techniques and their surgical implements.  Using small instruments called cannulas, they could easily disrupt and remove the unwanted fatty tissue.  The developments that they made made it easier to minimize blood loss and scarring.  Surgeons could now begin to offer consistently safe and attractive liposuction results, and doctors today still use many of the same techniques.

Common Liposuction Techniques

Although it is common for people to talk about liposuction as though it were simply one procedure, it is actually better to think about it as a family of procedures.  Although all of these procedures have a lot in common, there are a wide variety of different techniques that can be employed when performing a liposuction.  Here are some common ones.

Tumescent Liposuction

Tumescent liposuction was invented in 1985, and it is still one of the most popular forms of liposuction on the market.  During this a tumescent liposuction, the target area is flooded with special medical fluid.  This fluid typically includes saline solution, pain killers and medications that can help to minimize blood loss.  The injection of this fluid causes the target fat to “tumesce,” or become swollen and turgid.

When the fat is swollen and firm, it is much easier to remove.  This allows the surgeon to easily, safely and accurately remove the desired fat.

Laser-assisted Liposuction

Laser-assisted liposuction uses a surgical laser to help break apart and melt the unwanted fat.  This makes it easy to suction out of the body, making the surgery easier for the surgeon and less traumatic for the patient.  Some people also claim that laser-assisted liposuction can help to stimulate collagen growth, improving the skin's appearance and suppleness.

There are a number of different companies which produce surgical lasers which for laser-assisted liposuction.  Some of the more popular lasers on the market include the Smartlipo and Smartlipo MPX lasers and the CoolLipo and Prolipo lasers.  For more information on which laser will give you the best results, please speak with your surgeon.

Ultrasound-assisted Liposuction

Ultrasound-assisted liposuction (or ultrasonic liposuction) functions similarly to laser-assisted liposuction.  However, instead of using a laser to melt and break up the fat, it uses ultrasound waves.  When performed properly, ultrasonic liposuction can help to remove tougher, more fibrous fat with less bruising and swelling.  In some cases, however, patients have reported burns, blisters and other problems coming from improperly performed ultrasonic liposuction procedures.

Water-assisted Liposuction

Water-assisted liposuction is a relatively new method of liposuction.  This surgery uses a special cannula which has water jets attached to it.  During the surgery, the surgeon will move the cannula back and forth through the fatty tissue.  As he or she does this, the water jets will help to dislodge and wash away the unwanted fat.  As the fat is broken up, the cannula will suction it up and remove it from the body.

Proponents claim that water-assisted liposuction is one of the gentlest forms of liposuction.  Because it does not melt or otherwise break down the fat that it is removing, it may be ideally suited to performing fat transfers.  During fat transfer procedures, fat is harvested from one part of the body (such as the thigh or belly) and transferred to another (such as the breasts or buttocks).

Benefits Of Liposuction

Liposuction is a cosmetic surgery, which means that it does not result in actual health benefits.  However, it can provide very real improvements in physical appearance.  Liposuction typically does not have too long of a recovery time as far as cosmetic surgeries go, and it does not usually lead to large-scale scarring.  Plus, it is an excellent way to treat stubborn pockets of fat that are difficult to remove through exercise and diet.

What Kinds Of Problems Can Liposuction Treat?

Liposuction tends to work best when it is used to remove a small amount of fat from a small number of areas.  Attempting large-scale weight loss or total-body treatments drastically increases the patient's level of body-trauma.  This can lead to increased surgical risks and a decreased level of patient satisfaction.  As a ballpark guideline, only a few areas should be treated at once, and no more than around eight pounds of fat should be removed.  For more specific information, please speak with your surgeon.

Most Popular Areas For Liposuction

One of the things which makes liposuction so popular is that it can be performed almost anywhere on the body.  Everybody stores fat differently, and no matter where your problem spots are, liposuction can help you.  That being said, there are a number of especially popular target areas for liposuction.  The abdomen is very popular, as are the hips, buttocks and thighs in women.  The breasts are popular in both genders.  Liposuction of the face and neck is similarly popular.  The arms and back can also be treated.

Are The Results Of Liposuction Permanent?

People often ask whether liposuction results are permanent.  The answer will typically depend on the patient.  Liposuction removes fat, but it does not provide any guarantee that the patient will not regain fat later.  Liposuction results can be permanent if a patient establishes good habits of diet and exercise.

Preparing For Liposuction

Every liposuction begins with a consultation.  During this consultation, the patient and surgeon meet together.  They discuss the surgery and the patient's goals.  If the surgeon feels that liposuction would be a good fit for the patient, and if the patient feels comfortable, they may decide to set a date for the surgery.

A patient's best resource for knowing how to prepare for a liposuction will always be the surgeon.  Feel free to ask your surgeon if you have any questions.  However, there are some things that are generally a good idea when you're preparing for a liposuction.  First, if you smoke, you should quit.  Most surgeons will require that you be smoke free for at least three weeks prior to your liposuction.  Second, get ready for your surgery.  Let your work know that you might not be in for a little while.  Ask your surgeon how long you should take off from work.  Prepare an area at home where you can rest and relax, and gather any medical supplies and foods that you will need.  Third, generally live healthily.  Take care of your body so that you will have the energy to recover from your surgery.

During Liposuction

On the day of your liposuction, you will want to leave a little early so that you don't have to stress about being late to your procedure.  Your liposuction may be performed in a hospital, or it may be simply performed at your doctor's facility.  You will be admitted, and you will have some last minute checks performed.  You may get a chance to speak with the surgeon one last time.  The area that will be operated on will be cleaned, and the surgeon may mark lines on it in order to guide himself during the surgery.

When it is time for the surgery to begin, you will be anesthetized (probably with local anesthesia, although general anesthetic can also be used).  The doctor then make small incisions over the target area, insert a cannula, and begin removing fat.  This part of the procedure should be totally painless.

The surgery usually only takes an hour or two, and you will most likely be able to go home the same day.  You should be aware that you might be a little woozy, and you will definitely want someone to drive you home.

Recovering From Liposuction

How long it takes you to recover from your liposuction will depend on the intensity of your procedure and on your own personal level of health.  However, most people find that they can return to their normal activities relatively quickly.  Many people can return to sedentary jobs after only a few days of recovery.  Patients can similarly return to light exercise after just a few days, although they should make sure to gradually and slowly build up to intense activity.

Common Side Effects Of Liposuction

Some amount of bruising is common after a liposuction.  Your body has, after all, just been through a certain amount of trauma.  This will typically disappear after a few weeks.  Swelling is also common, and it should go down within a month.  Most people experience some amount of drainage from their incisions during the first days following their surgery.  This is normal and healthy.

Serious Risks of Liposuction

Although liposuction is usually very safe, serious health issues can sometimes arise.  These include anesthesia-related complications, damage to internal organs, blood clots, excessive blood loss, infection, skin necrosis, nerve damage and cardiac arrest.

Minimizing The Risks For You

Although every surgery has some dangers, there are some things that you can do to maximize your chances of a safe and successful liposuction.  The first is to find a good surgeon.  Most liposuction-related accidents can be avoided if a surgeon is sufficiently skilled, careful, and experienced.  Getting the best surgeon will not only make you look better, it will also help you to be healthier after your surgery.

The second thing you should do is be completely honest with your surgeon.  Some people try to withhold information from their surgeons because they are afraid that they might be ineligible for the surgery.  This is a huge mistake.  If a health condition keeps you from getting liposuction, it is for your own good.  Make sure to tell your surgeon about any applicable events and conditions in your medical history, and make sure that he or she knows about all drugs, medications, and supplements that you take.

If you have heart or lung issues, known allergies to anesthesia, diabetes, bleeding disorders or chronic illnesses that affect your ability to heal, you may not be a candidate for liposuction.  However, your surgeon may be able to discuss alternative possibilities with you.  Whatever you do, do not risk your health and life by leaving out important medical information.

Liposuction Cost

The cost of liposuction can vary greatly, depending on the area the patient wants treated, the type of fat that has accumulated there, the skill of the surgeon, and many other factors.  Because of this, it is virtually impossible to know how much your liposuction will cost without going in to speak with the surgeon himself.  For very rough planning purposes, though, you should expect a normal liposuction which treats only one area of the body to be somewhere between $2,000 to $6,000.

Finding The Right Surgeon

Sometimes it can be hard to know how to find the right surgeon for you.  However, even if it seems difficult, it is worth it.  Do as much research as you can.  Look at before and after pictures to find surgeons whose work and aesthetic you appreciate.  Check out surgeons' credentials and training.  See if you can find any reason why you wouldn't feel comfortable putting your life in this surgeon's hands.  When you meet with a surgeon for a consultation, continue to evaluate and determine whether or not you would feel comfortable being operated on by this surgeon.  Do not let yourself be intimidated into agreeing to a surgery if you are not completely comfortable.  If you take the time and care that it takes to find the right surgeon, you will thank yourself later.

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