If you're dealing with stubborn areas of fat that you just can't seem to lose despite working out or changing your diet, a liposuction consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon may be right for you.

This common cosmetic procedure is used to target and permanently remove unwanted areas of fat, leaving you with a sculpted body—here's everything you need to know about liposuction.

What is Liposuction?

Often referred to as lipo, liposuction is a popular, minimally invasive cosmetic procedure that removes unwanted fat from specific areas of the body. When used in conjunction with body contouring, the removed fat can be used in other areas of the body—like the buttocks—to contour them and change their appearance to something that's more appealing to you.

Many patients seek liposuction as a way to achieve a contoured body that diet and exercise alone would not accomplish. Liposuction targets stubborn areas such as the upper arms, inner thighs, double chin, and lower abdomen, where unwanted fat is harder to get rid of naturally.

What are the Benefits of Liposuction?

Liposuction makes use of vacuum suction to remove subcutaneous fat cells from certain parts of your body. Depending on the type of liposuction you choose, the benefits of this cosmetic procedure include:

  • Tightening of skin (with laser liposuction)
  • Improving body contours
  • Permanent removal of unwanted fat from stubborn areas of deposit on body, including thighs, hips, abdomen, upper arms, and back

What are the Different Types of Liposuction?

There are different types of liposuction that can be used depending on the area of the body you'd like to target. This can include:

  • Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction (UAL)
    UAL makes use of the energy from sound waves to rupture fat cells. In addition, the fat cells also liquefy in the process, making them easier to be suctioned out. This may also be referred to as lipoplasty and allows for the removal of much more significant amounts of fat in a single session.
  • Tumescent Liposuction
    The most commonly used liposuction process, tumescent liposuction, uses a liquid anesthetic—Tumescent—injection into the area of fat that's to be removed. A thin metal cannula is then inserted into a small incision—the fat is suctioned out.
  • Laser-Assisted Liposuction, or SmartLipo
    This technique utilizes a high-intensity laser to break down fatty tissue and make it easier to remove. This follows the same process as regular liposuction, but a laser is inserted under the skin to emulsify the fat deposits before they are removed.
  • Power-Assisted Liposuction (PAL)
    When PAL is used to perform a liposuction procedure, the cannula is moved back and forth rapidly to remove tough fat faster and more effectively. This can be a great choice if you are worried about pain and post-surgical discomfort—the pain and swelling are significantly less with this method.

Is Liposuction Treatment Right for You?

A consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon can help determine whether liposuction is right for you. Liposuction is not a solution to weight loss; instead, it is recommended for people who have a regular diet and exercise regimen and are looking to target stubborn areas of fat.

In addition to your overall health and history of disease, you must also:

  • Be within 30% of your ideal weight
  • Have firm and elastic skin
  • Not smoke

Liposuction might be your best bet to remove this stubborn tissue when you have lots of fat in specific locations of your body that you cannot reduce with diet and exercise.

Liposuction is Safe When Performed by a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon

A minimally invasive procedure, liposuction happens at your doctor's office and is typically an outpatient procedure. However, if you're having a lot of fat removed, you may be required to stay overnight for monitoring.

During the treatment, you'll be given local anesthesia before the procedure can start. Post-procedure, it's not uncommon to experience moderate swelling and pain.

You'll be asked to wear a compression garment for a minimum of three weeks after surgery to help with swelling and can resume regular activities after approximately two weeks.

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