For many men and women, liposuction is a dream come true. Liposuction is the removal of unwanted lumps, bulges, and areas of fat using thin suction tubes (cannulae) that are placed into the body fat through small incisions. A vacuum is applied through a hose attached to the cannula which is used to draw fat out of the body. Liposuction is usually not intended as a weight loss technique. However, liposuction is commonly used to remove stubborn, diet and exercise resistant fat deposits and to sculpt the body into a slimmer profile. Resistant fat deposits may be an inherited problem, so do not blame yourself for their presence. In women and men, fat deposits may be formed beneath the chin and on the flanks, hips, abdomen, inner and outer thighs, knees, and lower legs. These are some areas where body contouring with liposuction produces impressive results. The most frequently treated areas in women are the abdomen, hips, thighs, and knees. In men, the love handles, abdomen, and enlarged male breasts (gynecomastia) are most often treated. Other areas treated in men include the arms, neck and face. Interestingly, sweat glands in the underarm can be removed by liposuction to reduce excessive sweating without affecting the body’s overall ability to cool itself.

Surgery: Liposuction surgery may be considered to treat areas of excess fat in the stomach, buttocks, hips, love handles, saddlebags, thighs, calves, ankles, breasts (including male breast enlargement), back, arms, and neck. Liposuction is equally effective in both men and women.

The basic technique of liposuction involves the removal of fat via a hollow metal tube (cannula) that is passed through the fatty tissue. One of the most common types of liposuction involves the aspiration of fat by attaching a pump that generates a vacuum. The most common form of liposuction utilizes a dilute solution of lidocaine, a local anesthetic, in combination with epinephrine which temporarily shrinks capillaries for easier removal of fat cells. This is known as tumescent liposuction and is ideal method for most candidates. In addition, a motor may be used on the cannula that causes the cannula to vacillate back and forth, thus performing much of the work of liposuction known as power assisted liposuction (PAL). An ultrasonic generator may produce sound waves above audible frequency that breaks the fat cells and the broken-down fat is removed by SAL. A laser can also be employed to break down the fat cells. These methods will be discussed with you at the time of the consultation. Additionally, the above techniques may be combined to yield optimal results. The decisions concerning the appropriate technique will best be accomplished by your plastic surgeon.

Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. General anesthesia is used for patients undergoing liposuction surgery. For your safety during the operation, various monitors are used to check your heart, blood pressure, pulse, and the amount of oxygen circulating in your blood. When surgery is completed, you will be taken into a recovery area where you will continue to be closely monitored. You will most likely be wearing a compression garment, usually used to help “shrink” the skin. The normal elasticity of the skin will have an impact on the affected areas.

Recovery: Concerning postoperative pain, many patients state that the area feels sore, as if they underwent a vigorous work out. It is important to realize that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly among the individuals. The first few days after surgery you should rest quietly. If you can elevate the body part, it is usually suggested that you do so. We request that you do not take aspirin or certain anti-inflammatory medications. You most likely will wear a garment. If it is too tight, you should promptly notify the surgeon. During the first 48 hours following surgery, patients experience varying degrees of swelling and bruising. The swelling persists longer. Bruising typically disappears within seven to ten days. Stitches are usually removed within a week of surgery. Straining, bending over, and lifting should be avoided during the early postoperative period. In many instances, you will be able to resume most of your normal activities within ten days or less.

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