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Fat is essential to life, and our bodies are designed to store it. However, in this era of low-nutrient, convenient, high-calorie foods, many people store more fat tissue than they need. Fat can be stored in the butt, thighs, abdominal area, back, and even in the cheeks. Liposuction is a safe body contouring cosmetic procedure that removes excess fat and reshapes the body in targeted areas. It helps to reduce the risks of weight-related health conditions and very often increases the patient’s self-confidence.

Goal of Liposuction

The goal of liposuction is to remove stubborn fat deposits, most commonly on the stomach, hips, back, and thighs. The procedure is a potential solution for those wishing to reshape their body contours to enhance their overall attractiveness. It is often performed along with other “mommy makeover” procedures like breast augmentation or a tummy tuck. Liposuction can also be used for breast reduction in women with large, heavy breasts; and for removing excess fat tissue in men with feminized breasts, a medical condition called gynecomastia.

Before and Aftercare

If you decide that liposuction is for you, then you will need to schedule an initial consultation with a certified plastic surgeon who specializes in the procedure. If you are a good candidate for liposuction, the doctor may ask you to do the following before the surgery date:

  • Lose weight.

  • Stop using tobacco products.

  • Adjust the dosages of medications you are using.

  • Avoid using blood thinners like aspirin and ibuprofen.

Remember to arrange for someone to drive you to and from the surgical facility or hospital where your surgery will be performed. You might also need to schedule time off work, depending on the severity of the treatment you have.

You will likely come out of the surgery room with bandages and compression garments over your incisions sites and surrounding areas. Temporary surgical drains are also used commonly to evacuate any remaining tumescent fluid and to keep blood from building up under the skin. The doctor will tell you how and when to clean or change these drains, dressings, and garments.

You will also be prescribed pain medications, anti-inflammatory drugs, and antibiotics as needed to help you manage the normal signs of healing like bleeding, bruising, pain, swelling, and tightness. You will return to see the surgeon in follow-up visits to have stitches removed to make sure you are healing properly. It can take several months to recover completely and see the complete results.

Ideal Candidates for a Liposuction

Liposuction continues to be one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures. It is considered safe for good candidates and is well-tolerated by most patients. You may be a good candidate for liposuction if you are not more than twenty pounds overweight, do not smoke tobacco products, are mentally stable, have good skin elasticity, and have a positive mental attitude and realistic expectations about the procedure and its risks.

Liposuction is not recommended as a remedy for being overweight or obese. It is also not meant for cellulite removal. Your surgeon may advise against this procedure if you have a medical condition that could inhibit your ability to heal.

Pros & Cons of the Procedure

Surgical results can be negatively affected by weight gain, pregnancy, poor diet, and the aging process.

While it can be helpful, it is not intended to improve the appearance of cellulite, which is a fat tissue that has “pushed” up through the connective tissues of the skin.

Candidates may need to lose weight before the procedure can be performed.

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) reports that 90.8% of patients report being satisfied with the results they achieve with liposuction. Some notable pros of this procedure are:

  • Often increases the patient’s self-confidence.

  • Minimally invasive incisions that leave only small scars.

  • Makes the treatment area appear slimmer, and the clothing fits better.

  • Shorter operating time and less risky than similar body contouring surgeries.

  • Discuss the unique benefits liposuction may have for you with a certified plastic surgeon who specializes in this safe, outpatient procedure.

The Takehome Message

There are several types of liposuction surgery that are safe and effective for removing stubborn fat deposits in the body. This surgical procedure requires only small incisions and allows for a quick recovery period in most patients. However, there are some possible side effects to be aware of,  including the risks associated with the use of anesthesia. Infection, damage to blood vessels and nerves, prolonged discomfort in treatment areas, and botched results are also possible.

If you are considering liposuction it is important to research the procedure and develop a realistic understanding of what it can offer and its limitations. Liposuction is not a remedy for obesity or a substitute for healthy weight loss. Rather, it is a treatment option for removing stubborn fat deposits that do not respond well to diet and exercise.

Ask all the questions that you have in mind during your initial consultation appointment with your surgeon, and make sure that you and the doctor have a good rapport together. The decision to have any type of cosmetic surgery is an important one that will affect you for the rest of your life. Take your time making the best decision possible.

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