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What is Liposuction?
Liposuction is a surgical procedure designed to remove pockets of fat in order to contour specific areas of the body.
In a typical liposuction procedure, fat is removed using suction and a small tube called a cannula. A small incision will be made near the area to be treated to allow the cannula to fit through the skin. Using suction, the surgeon will remove unwanted fat cells.
How popular is it?
Liposuction is one of the most common surgical cosmetic procedures in the world, and the most commonly performed cosmetic procedure in the United States.
What areas can be treated with Liposuction?
Liposuction is frequently performed to reduce fat in the hips, thighs, abdomen, upper arms, chin, back and other areas.
The most commonly used liposuction techniques today are
- Tumescent liposuction:
With the tumescent technique, the doctor injects a solution into the fatty tissue that anesthetizes the area. It causes the area to become firm and swollen (tumescent), which enables the surgeon to extract fat more accurately and uniformly, thereby producing smoother results.
A cannula (thin tube) is inserted through a tiny incision in an inconspicuous location. The fat is sucked through the cannula with the assistance of a high pressure vacuum.
- Only mild local anesthesia is used.
- Smaller incisions result in less scarring.
- The recovery time is usually shorter.
- There is less blood and fluid loss.
- The new cannula design reduces bruising and swelling after surgery.
- Use of antibacterial lidocaine may reduce the chance of infection.
- The replacement of intravenous fluid is not necessary.
- Ultrasound assisted liposuction(UAL):
This liposuction technique utilizes ultra high frequency sound waves to liquefy fat.
The fat is then vacuumed through a cannula that has been inserted into a small incision in the skin.
- Eliminates large quantities of fat cells permanently from the body.
- There is less blood and fluid loss compared to Tumescent liposuction.
- Short recovery time.
- Reduces severe damage to body tissues.
- The incisions are larger then in Tumescent liposuction, resulting in more visible scars.
- There is a risk of skin burns.
- Power assisted liposuction (PAL):
Power assisted liposuction is very similar to the UAL technique, except that the surgeon uses a vibrating cannula with mechanized movement, allowing for more precise and thorough fat removal
A common type of PAL is the LipoSelection® or Vaser® Liposuction technique.
A study led by the Department of Dermatology at Tulane University, found that:
- 30% more fat was removed with PAL than with manual liposuction.
- Bruising and recovery time were significantly reduced.
Usually done as an outpatient procedure. Sometimes may require an overnight stay at the hospital.
Usually local. If many areas are being treated, general anesthesia may be applied.
In most cases, you will be able to return to your normal activities within a week or two.
According to the technique used, full recovery can take a few months.
Risks associated with liposuction:
- Shock (usually when not enough fluid is replaced during the surgery)
- Fluid overload
- Bleeding, blood clots
- Tiny globules of fat in the bloodstream that block blood flow to tissue
- Nerve, skin, tissue, or organ damage or burns from the heat or instruments used in liposuction
- Uneven fat removal (asymmetry)
- Drug reactions or overdose from the lidocaine used in the procedure
- Scarring (skin surface may be irregular, asymmetric, or even "baggy," especially in older people)
First 2-4 weeks: a compression garment or bandage is worn.
If non-absorbable stitches were used, they will be removed after 5 to 10 days.
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