No matter how determined you are with your diet
and exercise, excess fat in certain places sometimes just will not budge.
These annoying budges can become a big source of frustration with hindering
clothing options and fashion choices.
The advancements in the latest technology and
technique during the last decade has made liposuction more effective than ever. Plastic surgeons can target both large or very localized treatment areas with
more precision and less trauma. Liposuction has become an ideal
complementary surgical technique to various procedures from face-lifts,neck lifts to
body-lifts. Liposuction is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures
because it works so well.
As with any procedure, choosing your plastic
surgeon is the most important step. Surgeons across the country will agree that
the key to an optimal outcome lies in the skill and experience of the physician
performing the procedure.
Liposuction also known as suction assisted "lipectomy"
and "lipoplasty" was originally performed in Italy in the late 1970's by
the name of Dr. Giorgio Fischer - who originally invented the technique in 1974. This procedure was furthered developed by French physicians Dr. Gerald Illouz
and Dr. Pierre Fournier. It become popular in the United States in 1980.
initially developed in 1974 to surgically remove fat using specialized
surgical instructions and vacuum suction. Since that time, the procedure
has evolved. In the 1980's "tumescence liposuction" was introduced
to improve the procedure safety and results of liposuction. In the 1990's
, the advent of ultrasound assistance aimed at fat that is more dense and
fibrous - which further improved liposuction.
Today doctors have
refined techniques and defined standards. Certain methods may work better
for different areas of the body - but one thing remains constant - today's
innovations to technology and techniques yield better results with less
Liposuction is not a
weight-loss alternative. It is a treatment for packets of fat resulting
from heredity and aging that are unaffected by weight loss and exercise.
A good candidate
for liposuction for reshaping those pockets, bulges and overhangs are:
18 years of age
You are within
30% of the ideal body weight for your height and frame
You are generally
healthy and physically active
Age is generally
not a factor - except regarding elasticity of the skin
Having good skin
liposuction, the skin must mold itself to your new contours. If it does
not, the resulting loose and droopy skin can be unattractive. If your skin
lacks elasticity, a body lift or
abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) in addition to
liposuction may be an option.
Before deciding on
which liposuction technique is right for you, your plastic surgeon must assess:
of fat to be removed
Number of sites
that need to be treated
three-dimensional sculpting of tissue. The patient's anatomy plays a
significant role in the ultimate outcome but so does the surgeon's technique.
Liposuction is not
intended for weight-loss. Patients who are very overweight or who have
large areas of fat deposits are not good candidates. Your physician will
let the patient know if they need to lose weight first and reduce the fatty area
that are contributing to their body shape. If weight loss is problematic
for the patient and they cannot do this by themselves, then your physician might
recommend gastric bypass.
Losing a large amount
of weight will leave the patient with an excess of skin, which either an abdominoplasty, panniculectomy
(to remove an apron of fat) or a
full body lift will be recommended. Either of these procedures will help remove the excess tissue - tighten up
muscles and liposuction can be done at the same time to remove excess fatty
An overweight patient
whose weight has been maintained and stable for many years - and has problem
areas of fat, can be a good candidate for liposuction. This procedure in
an obese patient is reasonable when the goal of the surgery is to improve
certain body contour areas. Liposuction however as a method for weight
loss is not reasonable, as it is not safe to remove large amounts of fat - such
as 8 to 10 pounds of fat by liposuction in a single day.
You are NOT a good candidate
for liposuction if you have:
exceptionally well for the mid-section. With very small incisions in the
navel, over the hip or in the "netherlands" - your plastic surgeon can minimize
love handles or a bulging tummy.
Saddlebags be Gone! To slim the outer thigh areas, incisions are place above the swimsuit line, in
the lower buttock crease, or both. The inner thigh is much harder to treat
than the outer thigh. This area tends to retain fat that is looser simply
because the skin is flabbier. Positive results can be seen if there is
good skin tone in that area.
This area is
increasing in popularity for liposuction. The buttock area can be sculpted
through a small incision in the hip or under the buttock crease. Your
plastic surgeon may redeposit fat into other areas of the buttock to improve the
overall shape and avoid a saggy appearance. This is called a
Brazilian Buttock Lift.
A very small cannula is used with a small incision - just behind the inner
aspect of the knee in the crease. Liposuction can make a dramatic
difference in the knee area and can get rid of the handful of fat in the inner
knee. The biggest issue with knee liposuction is that, because it is
a major flexion area, stiffness in the knee can be expected for 4 to 6 weeks
after surgery when bending.
Calves: Liposuction is very effective at decreasing the size of the calves and ankles.
Some people tend to store excess fat in these areas - which on top of highly
developed muscles can give the leg a "thicker look". Using very small cannulas, these areas respond to re-contouring - but it is utmost importance
that there is not too much fat taken away too quickly.
Liposuction on the
calves needs to be performed with extra caution - as this area contains a lot of
muscles and is near important nerves and blood vessels. Liposuction on the
calves could possibly cause streaks or surface irregularities.
Liposuction of the
calves and ankles is one of the most technically challenging liposuction
procedures. It requires a lot of skill, finesse and experience. It is a very
unforgiving area in terms of the risk of creating permanent superficial contour
abnormalities. The results of calf and ankle area liposuction have a lot more to
do with surgical technique than surgical technology.
complications of calf liposuction include:
permanent damage to the nerves or blood
excessive leg pain and swelling
blood clots in the leg veins
permanent scars from the incisions
bad reaction to the anesthesia and drugs
The area of ankles primarily consist of muscle and bone. Liposuction of
the ankle area is performed with tiny cannulas to avoid muscle or vein damage
and scarring. Because ankles are prone to swelling, sometimes small
drainage holes are made to remove excess fluid. Improvements
will continue for at least six to nine months in the calves and ankle area.
Support hose is recommended to help contour this area during recovery.
Women often opt to
sculpt the area under the armpit and where the bra strap falls on the back for a
smoother silhouette. Ultrasound assisted liposuction may be beneficial on
the fibrous fat on the back and love handles.
procedure is a common solution for flabby arms, and is
especially popular with women. A skilled surgeon can contour
arms into a more desirable shape, creating a balance between
fat and muscle tone. Liposuction is commonly added to
the traditional arm lift or
many patients develop jowls of the lower face and fat around
the neck. These areas can respond successfully to
liposuction. Chin and neck liposuction purpose is to
remove the fat that can cause a double chin or a diminished
chin. It also can decrease the appearance of chipmunk
cheeks and or jowls.
liposuction in general can remove fat from a much larger
area - creating an overall appearance of weight-loss.
However, sometimes loose skin can become a byproduct of
having this procedure done. Laser resurfacing is used
commonly to tighten the neck area skin.
from liposuction of the chin are very impressive and
consistent. With good technique from the surgeon and the
appropriate patient - the change in appearance of this area
is phenomenal. Most patients wear a neck band
compression bandage for two weeks which helps reduce the
swelling and help with the skin adhering to its new shape.
Limits to how much
fat can be safely removed are relative to the patient's health and size. The standard that defines "Large Volume Liposuction" - is the removal of more
than 5 liters of fat and fluid or 5,000 ccs. during one procedure. If this
greater volume is removed, then an overnight stay at a hospital or an accredited
surgical center is recommended so that the patient's health can be closely
monitored. In some cases, your surgeon might recommend that the
liposuction be done in more than one procedure.
The loss of fat cells
is permanent from having liposuction - with the patient having a smoother
contours without excessive bulges.
If the patient gains weight after the
procedure the remaining fat cells will grow in size. The areas that were
treated with liposuction should remain proportionally smaller.
Tiny scars ranging in
size from 0.25 - 0.5 inches in length at the site of the incision is normal.
Your surgeon will normally pick areas of the body that can conceal the
incisions, such as skin folds, etc.
In some cases the
skin may appear rippled, wavy, or baggy after surgery.
Pigmentation spots on
the skin can develop.
The re-contoured area
may be uneven - occurring in 5 - 20 percent of the cases. This is quickly
remedied with a second liposuction procedure that is less extensive than the
The cannula is the
most widely known surgical instrument in a liposuction procedure.
Cannula instruments are hollow metal tubes which are made out of titanium or
steel - which can range in length from 26 - 36 cm. These surgical tools are also
from 1.4 to 5 mm in width - with some cannula being larger.
The different size cannula are used anywhere from large volume liposuction down
procedure of micro-liposuction. Each size cannula has a specific target