Liposuction Surgery

Liposuction the grand. The great. The big kahuna of all methods of cellulite reduction!

What is Liposuction?

Liposuction is a surgical procedure designed for fat deposit removal and body sculpting.  Using a vacuum-suction cannula (a hollow pen-like instrument), fat is removed from beneath the skin.   An alternative technique uses an ultrasonic probe which emulsifies (breaks up into small pieces) the fat before removing it with suction.

Individuals with localized fat may choose liposuction to remove fat from a specific area.  Liposuction is more a procedure for shaping the body and is not generally recommended for weight loss.

Liposuction may be done on the abdomen, hips, back, calves, arms, buttocks, thighs, neck or face. Multiple locations may be included in one liposuction treatment on a given day, for example a client may have liposuction performed on the back, thighs and abdomen all in one day.

Who does liposuction and where is it performed?

Though most liposuction procedures are performed by plastic surgeons or dermatologists, any licensed physician may perform liposuction. A medical degree is needed, not special licensing.  This could be disconcerting because so many different areas of medicine could legally perform liposuction with little or no specific training or expertise.  Do you want your podiatrist to carry out liposuction on your abdomen?  The law does not require special training for physicians to do liposuction treatments. However, some professional medical organizations recommend it. The more information you can gather,   the safer you can feel about this procedure with your physician.

Learn as much as you can about the physician who will be performing your liposuction procedure. Ask your physician how many procedures like yours she/he has done. Ask to see before and after photographs. Check with your local licensing board for information about credentials or complaints.

Do not shrink from asking your doctor probing questions.  You are paying for a service and you deserve the answers to your questions.  Get thorough explanations of what your procedure involves and what your prognosis is for healing before you agree to proceed.

Give yourself realistic expectations.  Television makeovers are not realistic. Everyone is not a candidate for a makeover.  Do not be misled by television. The people you see on these shows are the optimal candidates selected for health factors and for dramatic ‘before’ and ‘after’ results.  The average person does not fit this protocol.

If you want to come out of liposuction looking like Britney Spears, you will be very disappointed.  That is unrealistic. You can expect results that will probably give you a younger appearance. But do not expect miracles.

Liposuction is a surgical procedure. Complications may result from liposuction even with the best possible patient and experienced physicians. Liposuction procedures may be conducted in a

  • Doctor’s office
  • Surgical center
  • Hospital.

A clean environment is essential because liposuction is a surgical procedure. Because emergencies may arise during any surgery, access to emergency medical equipment or a nearby hospital emergency room is important. These are some things you should inquire about before the liposuction procedure. 

Be careful of advertisements that imply you will have a perfect appearance after liposuction. Keep your expectations realistic. Remember, marketing is meant to sell you something, not educate you about all potential problems with the product or service.

Your decision should not be based only on cost.  Remember, you do not have to accept the first doctor or procedure you investigate. Your liposuction surgery decision is important and should not be hurried.  Learn as much as you can about liposuction.  Read all the patient information your doctor provides. If you do not understand it, ask.

Just because you discuss liposuction with a physician does not mean you are required to complete the process.  Take the time you need to decide whether liposuction is the right thing for you. Are you willing to take the risks along with the potential benefits?

If it will help you make the right decision, visit several physicians.  Usually initial consultations are free.  It can be helpful and educational to get different opinions.  It will also help you to make an intelligent decision based on all the facts.  Your main concern is choosing a physician who responds to your inquiries, has experience and generates a feeling of comfort with you. Are you comfortable with everything?

When is Liposuction not for me?

Several factors or health conditions may preclude liposuction as an option for you.  Risk, cost, weight loss, medications, infections, edema, and skin elasticity are all factors to consider before deciding about liposuction. If you are not accustomed to taking risks it may be unwise to proceed.   Complications do arise and are unavoidable in some patients.
Cost is a serious issue. Liposuction is considered cosmetic. Most insurance companies will not pay for the procedure. The burden of payment is yours. 
Liposuction is not a weight control technique. If that is your reason for wanting it, reconsider. It is intended to shape the body, not for weight reduction.
Some medications may affect healing and might prevent you from pursuing liposuction. The risks are too great. Some of these and health issues to consider are any medications that may interact with the drugs used during liposuction and:

    •   Current infection
    • Edema
    • History of bleeding
    • Anti-coagulants
    • Heart disease
    • Anti-inflammatory agents
    • Blood clotting medication

Your skin elasticity may not be adequate. Your physician evaluates your skin where you are considering liposuction. Your doctor will determine if your skin has enough elasticity to shrink after liposuction. If not, it will be baggy after liposuction. Baggy skin may lead you to plastic surgery to eliminate the excess skin.

What are the risks involved with liposuction?

Most of the time patients are quite please with the results of their liposuction surgery. Nonetheless, there are risks involved with every medical procedure. You need to understand the limitations and possible complications of liposuction surgery.

Be aware of the risks. Weigh the benefits and risks for yourself. Avoid the influence of friends or doctors encouraging you to proceed. You need to decide on your own whether you are willing to take the risks involved in liposuction.

Take your time deciding if you are willing to accept the risks that accompany liposuction. Because liposuction is a cosmetic procedure, it is not medically necessary; there is no reason to rush.

Gather as much information as you can and make an informed decision about whether liposuction is right for you. Do not deceive yourself. Complications do not "only happen to other people."

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