Liposuction — also known as suction-assisted lipectomy, fat suction and suction lipectomy — is a body contouring method that eliminates fat deposits from specific areas of the body, including:
- Chin, neck or cheeks
- Upper arms or chest
- Abdomen, waist, buttocks, hips, or thighs
- Knees, calves, or ankles
How is Liposuction Different from Other Body Contouring Techniques?
Liposuction is not an alternative to dieting and exercise; instead, it targets those areas of your body that do not respond to traditional weight loss methods. The procedure works best if your weight is fairly normal but you have pockets of excess fat in specific places.
Liposuction is often confused with other procedures such as tummy tucks and cellulite reduction. Both liposuction and tummy tucks remove excess fat from your abdomen, but liposuction will not tighten muscles or eliminate loose skin, as a tummy tuck will do. However, the procedures are often performed together. Liposuction will also not eliminate cellulite, the dimpling of the skin that comes with aging.
The surgeon makes a small incision in the targeted area and inserts a cannula, a hollow tube attached to a vacuum. The cannula breaks up the fat and suctions it out in a process that takes anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours. You will feel some vibration and friction if you are under local anesthetic, and possibly a stinging sensation when the cannula moves close to the muscle.
What Can I Expect?
Stitches will dissolve or be removed within 10 days. You should be able to resume work in two or three days if your surgery was minor, or within two weeks if it was more extensive. Strenuous activity should be avoided for two to four weeks. Liposuction does leave scars, but they are small and placed where they are hidden from view. Your new body contour will be permanent as long as you eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly.
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