Many people who adhere to even the most strict diet and rigorous exercise regimen often suffer from unsightly fatty deposits on areas of their bodies that could potentially be helped with the assistance of liposuction.
Generally speaking, liposuction is a method whereby the surgeon removes fat from the body using a suction or vacuum. During the procedure, a small, thin, blunt-tipped tube is inserted through tiny incisions in the skin. Fat is then removed through these tubes as he moves the tubes around under the skin to target specific deposits of fat.
There have been several advancements made during recent years that help to make this surgery safer, easier and much less painful. These newer techniques include:
• Tumescent Liposuction – During this procedure, the surgeon uses a local anesthetic to numb the area of the body where the tube will be inserted and the fat will be suctioned. A large amount of water containing the anesthetic lidocaine and epinephrine is injected into the fatty tissue before the suctioning begins. The water “plumps” the fat making removal easier with minimal bleeding and bruising.
Tumescent liposuction may be regarded as a tremendous improvement in the standard of liposuction, as it carries fewer risks and side effects. These side effects are minimal due to the smaller size of the tubes used and the initial incisions made during the procedure.
Ultrasonic-assisted Liposuction – This technique, called UAL, employs the use of sound waves to liquefy the fat, making it easier for the surgeon to remove. This procedure is generally most effective in removing larger areas of fat from the lower abdomen, sides and back.
There are several benefits to UAL, including that it can more effectively treat areas containing denser fat pockets, such as the chin and neck, than traditional methods. UAL also can remove more fat cells at once, making it an optimal procedure for areas such as the thighs, buttocks or abdomen. And, UAL works to tighten the skin during the process of removing the fat, which aids the areas treated in avoiding dimpling or puckering after surgery. This type of surgery also is considered more precise for the surgeon, so he can perform more exact body contouring.
• Laser-assisted Liposuction – The surgeon uses laser energy to liquefy the fat, which is then removed through a very small liposuction cannula or tube.
Because laser-assisted liposuction is less intrusive, recovery time is substantially reduced. Patients can expect to generally decrease recovery time by one to two days, as this procedure decreases the amount of blood loss and bruising. Patients also may experience less post-operative pain, as this type of procedure only targets the “yellow fat” in the body, allowing the body to absorb some of fat on its own without the use of any suction. The laser energy is also absorbed by the overlying skin resulting in significant skin tightening. This procedure may alleviate need to undergo further surgery to remove excess skin. It is especially helpful in areas where limited fat reduction and more skin tightening are required for optimal results, such as inner thighs, arms and neck.
No matter which type of procedure you choose, it will most likely be performed on an outpatient basis in a physician’s office, ambulatory surgery center or hospital. It usually does not require an overnight hospital stay unless you are having a large amount of fat removed. The use of local anesthetic is usually required, and you also may be given a sedative to help you relax.