Is Liposuction Right for You?
Is Liposuction the Right Option for You?
Learn how liposuction works to remove stubborn fat and whether or not you are a good candidate for the procedure.
By Madeline R. Vann, MPH
Medically Reviewed by Stefan Craig, MD
Don't Miss This
Sign Up for OurSkin & BeautyNewsletter
Thanks for signing up!You might also like these other newsletters:
Liposuction is a cosmetic procedure designed to tackle specific areas on the legs, buttocks, belly, and back or any combination of those areas, depending on your goals and budget. In 2007, Americans spent more than 0 million on liposuction procedures. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgery, surgeons charge an average of ,982 for a liposuction procedure. The total cost varies according to where you live and the area of your body operated on. In addition to the surgeon's fee, other items you will have to pay for include medications, anesthesia, facility fees, and pressure garments that are worn on the treated areas. Most health plans do not cover the cost of liposuction or complications resulting from the procedure.
How Liposuction Works
While you are under local or general anesthetic, your plastic surgeon will make small incisions in the area from which the fat and cellulite will be removed. A sterile liquid containing a numbing solution is inserted into these tiny openings, which reduces bleeding and damage to the tissues, then a thin tube called a canula is passed within the tissue to break up fat. The surgeon will then suction out the fat using a surgical vacuum or a syringe along with the canula. Depending upon the surgeon's preference, either ultrasonic or conventional liposuction may be used.
- Ultrasonic liposuctionAfter the numbing solution is placed within the tissue, a solid ultrasound canula is passed within the fat. The solid tip is able to pass ultrasound waves to the tissue. These ultrasound waves help break up fat. After the fat is liquefied, a hollow canula is used to remove the fat using suction.
- Conventional liposuctionAgain, a numbing solution is inserted within the tissue. A hollow canula under suction is used to break up the fat by passing it back and forth within the fatty layer. As the fat is broken down, it is immediately removed by suction.
Houston resident Charlene Gonzales's had liposuction with the goal of reducing the fat on her lower belly and the inside of her thighs. "Both of these areas, two years later, are still to my satisfaction," she says. "Most of the noticeable fat was removed. However, when you remove fat so quickly, the skin still remains. My skin in these areas is very thin and kind of loose."
Although Gonzales did not have follow-up surgery, many people choose to have a second plastic surgery procedure to tighten loose skin.
Liposuction: Is It for You?
You could be a good candidate for liposuction if:
Liposuction is not a good option for people who are obese. "The procedure is much better suited for patients who have localized fat deposits — for example, 'saddle bag deformities' of the outer thighs or fat excess of the inner aspects of the knees," says Thomas R. Stevenson, MD, professor and chief of plastic surgery at the University of California at Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. "It is not possible to safely remove enough fat from an overall obese patient, making that individual one of normal weight. Removing fat from a localized area in an obese person could make them appear out of proportion or asymmetric."
Weighing the Risks of Liposuction
As with any surgery, liposuction carries some risks along with the benefits, including:
- Loose or rippled skin
- Uneven lines to your body
- Fat clots
- Blood clots
- Fluid loss
- Fluid storing
- Discolored skin
- Need for further surgery
Gonzales experienced tenderness for close to eight months but has completely healed from the surgery and is satisfied with the results. When all is said and done, however, she advises women to make a dedicated effort to lose weight with diet and exercisebeforemaking the commitment to liposuction and recovery. "Eighteen pounds was removed from my body, but I paid almost ,000 to get that removed, when just a mere two years later, I lost 15 pounds on my own from simply dieting," she notes.
New Liposuction Alternatives: Are They Effective?
New injection treatments, offered at some doctors' offices and medical day spas, promise to dissolve fat without surgery. Mesotherapy is named after the meso layer of skin where these injections are given. Lipodissolve is the name used when the solution is injected into fat deposits, with the goal of breaking down the fiber bands that hold fat and create that cottage-cheese look.
It's important to note that when the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) first reported results of a study on a potential fat-busting injection in 2006, the ingredient used was collagenese, an enzyme that dissolves collagen and helps break down the fibers that create the dimpled fat we call cellulite. Researchers pointed out that the patients' overall measurements didn't change, but their skin looked smoother.
In a recent briefing, the ASPS pointed out that neither mesotherapy or lipodissolve solutions are FDA-approved, though the first FDA-approved study of the techniques are underway. There are a lot of questions yet to be answered about what happens to the fat after it is treated. What is known is that the side effects may include infection, allergic reactions, and possible scarring.
Bottom line: If you've dieted and resculpted your body with exercise, yet find that remaining fat pockets significantly detract from your appearance or make you feel self-conscious, you might want to consider liposuction as your fat removal method of choice.
Video: Tummy tuck or lipo: Which is best for you?
Scary News About STDs
Caitlyn Jenner’s Inspirational ESPY Acceptance Speech Is A Must-See
Field Company cast iron skillet review: a lightweight take on a classic
10. Microsoft Corporation works with more than 200,000 nonprofits
How It Works: Tata Harper ResurfacingMask
5 Morning Tips That Everyone With Diabetes Should Follow
Angela Scanlons Red Carpet Style Advice to Use in Real Life
Genes Point to Risk of Finger Disease
Rihanna’s poodle perm: love or hate
Does Scott Disick Still Love Kourtney K
How to Care for Your Childs Skin This Summer
50 Thrilling Twist Braid Styles To Try This Season
Top 50 Best Garage Bar Ideas – Cool Cantina Workshop Designs
Mystery Symptoms That Could Be Rheumatoid Arthritis