Liposuction or liposculpture is a procedure which removes localized fat deposits in order to improve the contours of the body. While the basic technique for liposuction has essentially stayed the same for many years, newer, more precise techniques have come into existence in more recent years. These include ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty (UAL), power-assisted liposuction (PAL), the tumescent technique, and the super-wet technique among others.
Liposuction may be performed on physically healthy men and women who are of normal body weight but have stubborn areas of excess fat. This is commonly seen around the face (chin, cheeks, neck), and body (upper arms, abdomen, flanks or “love handles”, buttocks, hips, thighs, knees, calves, and ankles). Liposuction patients should have relatively elastic skin, so as the best results are achieved. Liposuction is not recommended for individuals with certain health conditions such as diabetes, heart or lung disease, or poor circulation. A consultation with your surgeon is recommended, in order to determine whether you are a good candidate for this procedure.
Basic liposuction techniques include a very small incision which is made on the problem site, and a cannula, a narrow tube, is inserted through the incision and into the layer of fat underneath the skin. The cannula is then used to break up the fat cells in order to make them easier to be suctioned out.
Newer liposuction techniques include an injection of fluid into the fatty areas, which reduce blood loss and bruising during and after surgery. The fluid, a medicated solution containing lidocaine, epinephrine, and an intravenous salt solution is employed during tumescent and super-wet techniques.
The ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty (UAL) technique employs a special cannula which delivers ultrasonic energy to the fatty tissue and essentially melts the fat cells into a liquid, so that they may be easily and safely removed. UAL is particularly effective in treating tougher, fibrous areas like male breasts, or the upper back.
Most patients are able to return to work within one to two weeks after their procedure. However, strenuous activity should be postponed for at least a month to allow the body to properly heal. Results of liposuction can be long lasting, provided that you follow a sensible diet and exercise routine following the procedure.