The answer to stubborn fat deposits

For some people, despite good health and a reasonable level of fitness, stubborn fat deposits prevent them from achieving their desired body appearance.  If you are one of these people you may not have the thighs, arms, neck, hips, waist, cheeks, or even ankles you seek.  This might be due to family traits and genetics but that fact is unlikely to give you much peace.

Liposuction surgery also known as lipoplasty or liposculpture, slims, reshapes, and sculpts specific areas of the body by removing unwanted fat from specific areas.  A variety of new techniques that have developed over the years including the use of ultrasound (VASER) and the tumescent technique that have helped many plastic surgeons to provide selected patients with more precise results and quicker recovery times.  Although no type of liposuction is a substitute for dieting and exercise, liposuction can remove stubborn areas of fat that don't respond to traditional weight-loss methods.

Individuals considering liposuction often feel a bit overwhelmed by the number of options and techniques being promoted today.  However, your plastic surgeon can help.  In deciding which is the right treatment approach for you, your doctor will consider effectiveness, safety, cost and appropriateness for your needs.  This is called surgical judgment, a skill that is developed through surgical training and experience.

Your doctor also uses this judgment to prevent complications; to handle unexpected occurrences during surgery; and to treat complications if they occur.  Your surgeon's education and training have helped to form his or her surgical judgment, so take the time to do some background checking.

Patients are encouraged to consider a doctor certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery ("ABPS").  By choosing a plastic surgeon who is certified by the ABPS, a patient can be assured that the doctor has graduated from an accredited medical school and completed at least five years of additional residency - usually three years of general surgery (or its equivalent) and two years of plastic surgery.  To be certified by the ABPS, a doctor must also practice surgery for two years and pass comprehensive written and oral exams.

What happens during liposuction?

Step 1 – Anesthesia
Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedures.

Step 2 – The incision
Liposuction is performed through small, inconspicuous incisions where sterile liquid solution is infused to reduce bleeding and trauma, followed by a thin hollow tube, or cannula, that is inserted through these incisions to loosen excess fat using a controlled back and forth motion.  The dislodged fat is then suctioned out of the body using a surgical vacuum or syringe attached to the cannula.

Step 3 – See the results
Your improved body contour will be apparent when the swelling and fluid retention commonly experienced following liposuction subside.  With continued practices of healthy diet and fitness, the loss of excess fatty tissue should be permanently maintained. However, substantial weight gain can alter an otherwise permanent result.

Watch a Liposuction Procedure Overview from ASPS

The best candidates for liposuction

It's important to understand that liposuction can enhance your appearance and self confidence, but it won't necessarily change your looks to match your ideal or cause other people to treat you differently.  Before you decide to have surgery, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with your surgeon.

The best candidates for liposuction are normal-weight people with firm, elastic skin who have pockets of excess fat in certain areas.  You should be physically healthy, psychologically stable and realistic in your expectations.

Your age is not a major consideration; however, older patients may have diminished skin elasticity and may not achieve the same results as a younger patient with tighter skin.

Liposuction carries greater risk for individuals with medical problems such as diabetes, significant heart or lung disease, poor blood circulation, or those who have recently had surgery near the area to be contoured.