Liposuction is a cosmetic surgical procedure that entails the removal of excessive fat from certain parts of the body. The main aim of this procedure is to give a patient their desired body shape by removing unwanted fat from specific parts of their body. Commonly referred to as lipo by patients, this procedure is predominantly performed to reduce fat deposits in the thighs, hips, and buttocks, breasts, upper arms, back, etc. Liposuction can be performed alone or along with other cosmetic surgical procedures such as tummy tucks, breast reduction, and facelifts.
There are several liposuction techniques employed by cosmetic surgeons, the main ones being Tumescent, ultra-sound assisted liposuction, and laser assisted liposuction.
Of the three, the tumescent technique is the most popular. This method entails the use of local anesthetic for numbing the identified fatty area. A solution of anesthetic, lidocaine and epinephrine are then pumped in. This solution breaks down the fatty tissues and makes them easy to remove without the need for general anesthetic.
In ultrasound-assisted liposuction technique, an ultrasound is used to liquefy fat in the identified area. The liquefied fat is then removed using a tube.
Laser assisted liposuction uses low-energy waves to liquefy the fat, which is then removed through a small thin tube known as a cannula.
Since liposuction is an outpatient procedure, a patient will be required to go for several sessions. However, there are some cases, where the procedure is performed as an inpatient procedure.
For the outpatient procedure, the amount of fat that can be removed safely per session will depend on their weight. For a person weighing 200 pounds, the amount of fat that can safely be removed per session is between 5 and 7 liters. Contrastingly, for persons weighing 100 to 110 pounds the amount of fat that can be safely removed is 1 to 1.5 liters. The recommended number of sessions needed for a patient to hit their desired weight is two sessions per week for four weeks.
Contrary to popular misconception, liposuction is not a weight-loss solution. It is for this reason that cosmetic surgeons do not recommend liposuction for overweight persons. Instead, the procedure is recommended for individuals who are of average weight but who have stubborn fat in certain parts of their body.
Therefore, this procedure is not a substitute for other weight loss methods. Liposuction poses some health risks and is the reason why it is only recommended for persons of average weight. Also, having a large area treated increases the risk of complications.
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The primary objective of liposuction is to remove stubborn fat; these are fats that are unresponsive to conventional weight loss methods such as exercise and dieting. Thus, this procedure targets one specific area and not the whole body. Hence, it cannot be used as a solution to obesity or chronic weight gain.