Liposuction for Contours You Can’t Seem to Get on Your Own

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It is usually considered a form of popular cosmetic surgery. Liposuction has been considered as optional, cosmetic, esthetic or even frivolous. In fact, liposuction has become very popular with women for the removal of a variety of fat-related complaints. These include small amounts of excess fat on such areas of the body as:

  • The abdomen
  • Buttocks
  • Cheeks
  • Chest
  • Chin
  • Hips
  • Knees
  • Neck
  • Thighs
  • Upper arms

The average amount of fat removed during cosmetic liposuction is between 5 and 6 pounds. Yet, liposuction can also act as an important means of helping obese individuals lose weight. Unlike instances of cosmetic surgical liposuction, obese-related liposuction is intended to help reduce the amount of fat on a super-obese or morbid obese individual with the intention of helping them regain control over their weight and, through this, their lives. It is large-volume liposuction requiring stays in the hospital to ensure recovery.

Defining Liposuction

Liposuction is the removal of fat cells that are beneath the surface of the body’s skin layers. It requires the use of a slender, hollow, steel medical tool called a cannula1. This is essential to any form of liposuction. It works, depending upon the type of procedure in tandem, with vacuum-like instrument. This will act to suck up the fat that is released through either dry or wet methods of liposuction. This is all accomplished either under local, or general anesthesia. Possibly, it may be necessary to employ an IV for heavier instances of complete sedation.

Recovery from liposuction can be lengthy. It depends upon the extent of the physical damage occurring during the procedure. Liposuction results in both swelling and trauma to the parts treated. The severity of these issues depends upon the extent of the surgery involved, the age of the patient and the method used.

Types of Liposuction

The most basic form of liposuction is suction-assisted. In this procedure, the cannula enters a small incision or incisions in the skin with a vacuum attached to it. The fat is removed by the cannula then vacuumed up. However, due to the advances in technology, there now are several different types and techniques of liposuction. Among the many currently available for use are:

  • Ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty (UAL) – This became popular several years ago. It was conceived as being the means of reducing possible complications. The method involves a very specialized cannula. This one is a form of ultrasound. The vibrations cause the fat to liquefy. This makes them easy to vacuum up and remove. Unfortunately, the original UAL process did not reduce many issues and actually increased them. Current methods have improved the process and lowered the risks
  • Laser-assisted Lipoplasty (LAL) – This fairly recent technique involves tiny incisions, a small cannula and lasers. The lasers produce the melting effect for the fat. Only a local anesthetic is required for the process. LAL is frequently combined with the tumescent technique for the best results. LAL is usually performed as an outpatient surgical procedure.
  • Tumescent or wet technique – involves the use of fluid – specifically an anesthetic mixed with the drug epinephrine. The mixture is injected into the in the region from which fat is to be removed. The intent is to reduce the amount of probable bleeding, bruising and trauma resulting for the procedure. To date, it is regarded as one of the most favorable methods in liposuction. It requires a local anesthetic. When combined with a small cannula it can reduce the possible negative effects of liposuction.
  • Super-wet technique – this refers to the extra (super) amount of chemical fluids used to reduce the severity and total amount of damage to the skin

When considering which method you wish your doctor to employ, you need to keep in mind several specific aspects of the operations and techniques. Smaller incisions usually result in a decreased risk of bruising or infection. Smaller incisions relate directly to the size of the cannula. The smaller it is the tinier the incisions will be. In essence, the extent of any damaging after effects depend upon both the skill of the surgeon and the size of both the cannula and the incisions.

Is Liposuction and Effective Means of Weight Loss Surgery?

There are two basic facts about liposuction:

  1. In general, liposuction does remove the fat from the body region effectively and efficiently
  2. Once the fat cells are removed, the fat does not appear in this section of the body

Yet, it must also be noted that the loss of total body fat is only temporary. While the fat has disappeared from the selected region, it will reappear within several months in another region of the body2. The obese individual who undergoes liposuction must be aware of this fact. He or she can then address the issue through diet and exercise, if possible, or through another form of bariatric surgery. Research indicates that in the case of at least abdominal liposuction, any metabolic abnormalities experienced by the individual as a result of their obesity, did not improve as a result of this form of surgery3.


Liposuction can be used to remove unwanted layers or deposits of fat. It is not, however, recommended for those who are obese. Liposuction will not prevent weight gain. It will not decrease the health risks substantially. If you want to lose weight and are obese, talk to a medical professional. They can suggest better alternatives for weight control than liposuctio



1 Kelly, EB (2006). Obesity.New York:Greenwood Press.

Hernandez, TL;  Kittelson, JM; Law, CK; Ketch, LL; Stob, NR;  Lindstrom, RC; Scherzinger, A; Stamm, ER; and  Eckel, RH (2011).  Fat Redistribution Following Suction Lipectomy: Defense of Body Fat and Patterns of Restoration. Obesity 19:1388-1395.

3 Klein, S ; Fontana, L; Young, VL; Coggan, AR; Kilo, C; Patterson, BW; and Mohammed, BS (2004).  Absence of an Effect of Liposuction on Insulin Action and Risk Factors for Coronary Heart Disease.New England Journal of Medicine 350:2549-2555.


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