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Liposuction

Liposuction

Definition

Liposuction, also known as lipoplasty or suction-assisted lipectomy, is cosmetic surgery performed to remove unwanted deposits of fat from under the skin. The surgeon sculpts and re-contours a person's body by removing excess fat deposits that have been resistant to reduction by diet or exercise . The fat is permanently removed from under the skin with a suction device.


Purpose

Liposuction is intended to reduce and smooth the contours of the body and improve a person's appearance. Its goal is cosmetic improvement. It is the most commonly performed cosmetic procedure in the United States.

Liposuction does not remove large quantities of fat and is not intended as a weight reduction technique. The average amount of fat removed is about a quart (liter). Although liposuction is not intended to remove cellulite (lumpy fat), some doctors believe that it improves the appearance of areas that contain cellulite, including thighs, hips, buttocks, abdomen, and chin. A new technique called liposhaving shows more promise at reducing cellulite.


Demographics

Liposuction is the most commonly performed cosmetic procedure in the United States. In 2002, there were 372,831 liposuction procedures performed in the United States, approximately 13% of all plastic surgical procedures.


Description

Most liposuction procedures are performed under local anesthesia (loss of sensation without loss of consciousness) by the tumescent, or wet, technique. In this technique, large volumes of very dilute local anesthetic (a substance that produces anesthesia) are injected under the person's skin, making the tissue swollen and firm. Epinephrine is added to the solution to reduce bleeding, which allows the removal of larger amounts of fat.

The physician first numbs the skin with an injection of local anesthetic. After the skin is desensitized, the doctor makes a series of tiny incisions, usually 0.120.25 in (36 mm) in length. Flooding the area with a larger amount of local anesthetic, fat is then extracted with suction through a long, blunt hollow tube called a cannula. The doctor repeatedly pushes the cannula through the fat layers in a radiating pattern creating tunnels, thus removing fat and recontouring the area. Large quantities of intravenous fluid (IV) are given during the procedure to replace lost body fluid. Blood transfusions might be necessary.

Some newer modifications to the procedure include the use of a cutting cannula called a liposhaver and the use of ultrasound to help break up the fat deposits. The person is awake and comfortable during these procedures.

The length of time required to perform the procedure varies with the amount of fat that is to be removed and the number of areas to be treated. Most operations take from 30 minutes up to two hours, but extensive procedures can take longer. The length of time required also varies with the manner in which the anesthetic is injected.

The cost of liposuction can vary depending upon the standardized fees in the region of the country where it is performed, the extent of the area being treated, and the person performing the procedure. Generally, small areas such as the chin or knees can be done for as little as $500, while more extensive treatment such as when hips, thighs, and abdomen are done simultaneously can cost as much as $10,000. These procedures are cosmetic and are not covered by most insurance policies.


Diagnosis/Preparation

Liposuction is most successful when performed on persons who have firm, elastic skin and concentrated pockets of fat in areas that are characterized by cellulite. To get good results after fat removal, the skin must contract to conform to the new contours without sagging. Older persons have less elastic skin and, consequently, may not be good candidates for this procedure. People with generalized fat distribution, rather than localized pockets, are not good candidates. People with poor circulation or who have had recent surgery at the intended site of fat reduction are not good candidates.

Candidates should be in good general health and free of heart or lung disease.

The doctor will conduct a physical examination and may order blood work to determine clotting time and hemoglobin level for transfusions, in case the need should arise. The person may be placed on antibiotics immediately prior to surgery to ward off potential infection.


Aftercare

After the surgery, the person will need to wear a support garment continuously for two to three weeks. If ankles or calves were treated, support hose will need to be worn for up to six weeks. The support garments can be removed during bathing 24 hours after surgery. A drainage tube under the skin in the area of the procedure may be inserted to prevent fluid build-up.

Mild side effects can include a burning sensation at the site of the surgery for up to one month. The candidate should be prepared for swelling of the tissues below the site of the operation for up to six to eight weeks after surgery. Wearing the special elastic garments will help reduce this swelling and help to achieve the desired final results.

The incisions involved in this procedure are tiny, but the surgeon may close them with metal stitches or staples. These will be removed the day after surgery. However, three out of eight doctors use no sutures, relying on dressings to cover the incisions. Minor bleeding or seepage through the incision site(s) is common after this procedure. Wearing the elastic bandage or support garment helps reduce fluid loss.

Liposuction is virtually painless. However, for the first postoperative day, there may be some discomfort that will require light pain medication. Soreness or aching may persist for several days. A person can usually return to normal activity within a week. Postoperative bruising will go away within 10 to 14 days. Postoperative swelling begins to go down after a week. It may take three to six months for the final contour to be reached.


Risks

Liposuction under local anesthesia using the tumescent (wet) technique is exceptionally safe. Two recent large studies reached similar conclusions. One concluded that there were no serious complications or deaths with liposuction. The other study calculated the risk of any complication to be 1%. However, as with any surgery, there are some risks and serious complications. Death is possible, but extremely unlikely.

The main hazards associated with liposuction surgery involve migration of a blood clot or fat globule to the heart, brain, or lungs. Such an event can cause a heart attack, stroke, or serious lung damage. However, this complication is exceedingly rare. The risk of blood clot formation is reduced by wearing a special girdle-like compression garment after the surgery, and with the resumption of normal mild activity soon after surgery.

Remaining in bed increases the risk of clot formation, but not getting enough rest can also result in increased swelling of the surgical area. Such swelling is a result of excess fluid and blood accumulation, and generally comes from not wearing the compression garments. If necessary, this excess fluid can be drained off with a needle in the doctor's office.

Infection is another complication, but this rarely occurs. If the physician is skilled and works in a sterile environment, infection should not be a concern.

If too much fat is removed, the skin may peel in that area. Smokers are at increased risk for shedding skin because their circulation is impaired. Another and more serious hazard of removing too much fat is that the person may go into shock. Fat tissue has an abundant blood supply and removing too much of it at once can cause shock if the fluid is not replaced.

A rare complication is perforation, or puncture, of an organ. The procedure involves pushing a cannula vigorously through the fat layer. If the doctor pushes too hard or if the tissue gives way too easily under the force, the blunt hollow tube could possibly injure internal organs.

Liposuction can damage superficial nerves. Some persons lose sensation in the area that has been suctioned, but most feeling usually returns with time.


Normal results

The loss of fat cells is permanent. The person should have smoother, more pleasing body contours without excessive bulges. However, if a person overeats, the remaining fat cells will grow in size. Although lost weight may be regained, the body should retain the new proportions and the suctioned area should remain proportionally smaller.

Tiny scars about 0.250.5 in (612 mm) long at the site of incision are normal. The doctor usually makes the incisions in concealed places such as along skin folds, where the scars are not likely to show.

In some instances, the skin may appear rippled, wavy, or baggy after surgery. Pigmentation spots may develop. The re-contoured area may be uneven. This unevenness is common, occurring in 520% of the cases, and can be corrected with a second liposuction procedure that is less extensive than the first.


Morbidity and mortality rates

The morbidity rate from liposuction is under 1%. Mortality is exceedingly rare.


Alternatives

Some of the alternatives to liposuction include modifying diet to lose excess body fat, exercise, accepting one's body and appearance as it is, or using clothing or makeup to downplay or emphasize body or facial features.

See also Breast reduction; Face lift; Plastic, cosmetic, and reconstructive surgery.

Resources

books

Engler, Alan M. BodySculpture: Plastic Surgery of the Body for Men and Women, 2nd Edition. New York: Hudson Publishing, 2000.

Irwin, Brandith, and Mark McPherson. Your Best Face: Looking Your Best without Plastic Surgery. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, Inc., 2002.

Klein, Jeffrey A. Tumescent Technique: Tumescent Anesthesia and Microcannular Liposuction. St. Louis: Mosby-Year Book, 2000.

Man, Daniel, and L. C. Faye. New Art of Man: Faces of Plastic Surgery: Your Guide to the Latest Cosmetic Surgery Procedures, 3rd Edition. New York: BeautyArt Press, 2003.

Sandhu, Baldev S. Doctor, Is Liposuction Right for Me? New York: Universe Publishers, 2001.


periodicals

Field, L. M. "Tumescent Axillary Liposuction and Curretage with Axillary Scarring: Not an Important Sequela." Dermatologic Surgery 29, no.3 (2003): 317319.

Goyen, M. R. "Lifestyle Outcomes of Tumescent Liposuction Surgery." Dermatologic Surgery 28, no.6 (2002): 459462.

Housman, T. S., et al. "The Safety of Liposuction: Results of a National Survey." Dermatologic Surgery 28, no.11 (2002): 971978.

Lowe, N. J. "On the Safety of Liposuction." Journal of Dermatologic Treatment 12, no.4 (2001): 189190.


organizations

American Board of Plastic Surgery. Seven Penn Center, Suite 400, 1635 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-2204. (215) 587-9322. <http://www.abplsurg.org/>.

American College of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. <http://www.breast-implant.org>.

American College of Surgeons. 633 North Saint Claire Street, Chicago, IL 60611. (312) 202-5000. <http://www.facs.org/>.

American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. 11081 Winners Circle, Los Alamitos, CA 90720. (800) 364-2147 or (562) 799-2356. <http://www.surgery.org/>.

American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. 930 N. Meacham Road, P.O. Box 4014, Schaumburg, IL 60168-4014. (847) 330-9830. <http://www.asds-net.org>.

American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons. 444 E. Algonquin Rd., Arlington Heights, IL 60005. (847) 228-9900. <http://www.plasticsurgery.org>.

Lipoplasty Society of North America. 444 East Algonquin Road, Arlington Heights, IL 60005. (708) 228-9273; (800) 848-1991, ext. 1126. <http://www.lipoplasty.com/business/lsna/index.htm>.


other

Covenant Health. [cited March 21, 2003] <http://www.covenanthealth.com/Features/Health/Cosm/COSM4355.cfm>.

Liposuction Surgery Network. [cited March 21, 2003] <http://www.liposuction-surgery.org/>.

University of Washington. [cited March 21, 2003] <http://faculty.washington.edu/danberg/bergweb/page2.htm>.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. [cited March 21, 2003] <http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/liposuction/>.


L. Fleming Fallon, Jr, MD, DrPH

WHO PERFORMS THE PROCEDURE AND WHERE IS IT PERFORMED?


Many liposuction surgeries are performed by plastic surgeons or by dermatologists. Any licensed physician may legally perform liposuction. Liposuction may be performed in a private professional office, an outpatient center, or in a hospital.

QUESTIONS TO ASK THE DOCTOR


  • What will be the resulting appearance?
  • Is the surgeon board certified in plastic and reconstructive surgery?
  • How many liposuction procedures has the surgeon performed?
  • What is the surgeon's complication rate?

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Liposuction

Liposuction

Definition

Liposuction, also known as lipoplasty or suction-assisted lipectomy, is cosmetic surgery performed to remove unwanted deposits of fat from under the skin. The doctor sculpts and recontours the patient's body by removing excess fat deposits that have been resistant to reduction by diet or exercise. The fat is permanently removed from under the skin with a suction device.

Purpose

Liposuction is intended to reduce and smooth the contours of the body and improve the patient's appearance. Its goal is cosmetic improvement. It is the most commonly performed cosmetic procedure in the United States.

Liposuction does not remove large quantities of fat and is not intended as a weight reduction technique. The average amount of fat removed is about a liter, or a quart. Although liposuction is not intended to remove cellulite (lumpy fat), some doctors believe that it improves the appearance of cellulite areas (thighs, hips, buttocks, abdomen, and chin).

A new technique called liposhaving shows more promise at reducing cellulite.

Precautions

Liposuction is most successful on patients who have firm, elastic skin and concentrated pockets of fat in cellultite areas. To get good results after fat removal, the skin must contract to conform to the new contours without sagging. Older patients have less elastic skin and therefore may not be good candidates for this procedure. Patients with generalized fat distribution, rather than localized pockets, are not good candidates.

Patients should be in good general health and free of heart or lung disease. Patients with poor circulation or who have had recent surgery at the intended site of fat reduction are not good candidates.

Description

Most liposuction procedures are performed under local anesthesia (loss of sensation without loss of consciousness) by the tumescent or wet technique. In this technique, large volumes of very dilute local anesthetic (a substance that produces anesthesia) are injected under the patient's skin, making the tissue swollen and firm. Epinephrine is added to the solution to reduce bleeding, and make possible the removal of larger amounts of fat.

The doctor first numbs the skin with an injection of local anesthetic. After the skin is desensitized, the doctor makes a series of tiny incisions, usually 0.12-0.25 in (3-6 mm) in length. The area is then flooded with a larger amount of local anesthetic. Fat is then extracted with suction through a long, blunt hollow tube called a cannula. The doctor repeatedly pushes the cannula through the fat layers in a radiating pattern creating tunnels, removing fat, and recontouring the area. Large quantities of intravenous fluid (IV) is given during the procedure to replace lost body fluid. Blood transfusions are possible.

Some newer modifications to the procedure involve the use of a cutting cannula called a liposhaver, or the use of ultrasound to help break up the fat deposits. The patient is awake and comfortable during these procedures.

The length of time required to perform the procedure varies with the amount of fat that is to be removed and the number of areas to be treated. Most operations take from 30 minutes to 2 hours, but extensive procedures can take longer. The length of time required also varies with the manner in which the anesthetic is injected.

The cost of liposuction can vary depending upon the standardized fees in the region of the country where it is performed, the extent of the area being treated, and the person performing the procedure. Generally, small areas, such as the chin or knees, can be done for as little as $500, while more extensive treatment, such as when hips, thighs, and abdomen are done simultaneously, can cost as much as $10,000. These procedures are cosmetic and are not covered by most insurance policies.

Preparation

The doctor will do a physical exam and may order blood work to determine clotting time and hemoglobin level for transfusions should the need arise. The patient may be placed on antibiotics immediately prior to surgery to ward off infection.

Aftercare

After the surgery, the patient will need to wear a support garment continuously for 2-3 weeks. If ankles or calves were treated, support hose will need to be worn for up to 6 weeks. The support garments can be removed during bathing 24 hours after surgery. A drainage tube, under the skin in the area of the procedure, may be inserted to prevent fluid build-up.

Mild side effects can include a burning sensation at the site of the surgery for up to one month. The patient should be prepared for swelling of the tissues below the operated site for 6-8 weeks after surgery. Wearing the special elastic garments will help reduce this swelling and help to achieve the desired final results.

The incisions involved in this procedure are tiny, but the surgeon may close them with stitches or staples. These will be removed the day after surgery. However, three out of eight doctors use no sutures. Minor bleeding or seepage through the incision site is common after this procedure. Wearing the elastic bandage or support garment helps reduce fluid loss.

This operation is virtually painless. However, for the first postoperative day, there may be some discomfort which will require light pain medication. Soreness or aching may persist for several days. The patient can usually return to normal activity within a week. Postoperative bruising will go away by itself within 10-14 days. Postoperative swelling begins to go down after a week. It may take 3-6 months for the final contour to be reached.

Risks

Liposuction under local anesthesia using the tumescent technique is exceptionally safe. A 1995 study of 15,336 patients showed no serious complications or deaths. Another study showed a 1% risk factor. However, as with any surgery, there are some risks and serious complications. Death is possible.

The main hazards associated with this surgery involve migration of a blood clot or fat globule to the heart, brain, or lungs. Such an event can cause a heart attack, stroke, or serious lung damage. However, this complication is rare and did not occur even once in the study of 15,336 patients. The risk of blood clot formation is reduced with the wearing of special girdle-like compression garments after the surgery, and with the resumption of normal mild activity soon after surgery.

Staying in bed increases the risk of clot formation, but not getting enough rest can result in increased swelling of the surgical area. Such swelling is a result of excess fluid and blood accumulation, and generally comes from not wearing the compression garments. If necessary, this excess fluid can be drained off with a needle in the doctor's office.

Infection is another complication, but this rarely occurs. If the physician is skilled and works in a sterile environment, infection should not be a concern.

If too much fat is removed, the skin may peel in that area. Smokers are at increased risk for shedding skin because their circulation is impaired. Another and more serious hazard of removing too much fat is that the patient may go into shock. Fat tissue has an abundant blood supply and removing too much of it at once can cause shock if the fluid is not replaced.

A rare complication is perforation or puncture of an organ. The procedure involves pushing a cannula vigorously through the fat layer. If the doctor pushes too hard or if the tissue gives way too easily under the force, the blunt hollow tube can go too far and injure internal organs.

Liposuction can damage superficial nerves. Some patients lose sensation in the area that has been suctioned, but feeling usually returns with time.

Normal results

The loss of fat cells is permanent, and the patient should have smoother, more pleasing body contours without excessive bulges. However, if the patient overeats, the remaining fat cells will grow in size. Although the patient may gain weight back, the body should retain the new proportions and the suctioned area should remain proportionally smaller.

Tiny scars about 0.25-0.5 in (6-12 mm) long at the site of incision are normal. The doctor usually makes the incisions in places where the scars are not likely to show.

In some instances, the skin may appear rippled, wavy, or baggy after surgery. Pigmentation spots may develop. The recontoured area may be uneven. This unevenness is common, occurring in 5-20% of the cases, and can be corrected with a second procedure that is less extensive than the first.

Resources

PERIODICALS

Taylor, Mia, Lloyd A. Hoffman, and Michael Lieberman. "Intestinal Perforation after Suction Lipoplasty: A Case Report and Review of the Literature." Annals of Plastic Surgery 38, no. 2: 169-172.

ORGANIZATIONS

American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. (888) 272-7711.

American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons. 44 E. Algonquin Rd., Arlington Heights, IL 60005. (847) 228-9900. http://www.plasticsurgery.org.

Lipoplasty Society of North America. (800) 848-1991.

KEY TERMS

Cellulite Cellulite is dimply skin caused by uneven fat deposits beneath the surface.

Epinephrine Epinephrine is a drug that causes blood vessels to constrict or narrow. It is used in local anesthetics to reduce bleeding.

Hemoglobin Hemoglobin is the component of blood that carries oxygen to the tissues.

Liposhaving Liposhaving involves removing fat that lies closer to the skins surface by using a needle-like instrument that contains a sharp-edged shaving device.

Tumescent technique The tumescent technique of liposuction involves swelling, or tumescing, the tissue with large volumes of dilute anesthetic.

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liposuction

lip·o·suc·tion / ˈlipōˌsəkshən; ˈlī-/ • n. a technique in cosmetic surgery for removing excess fat from under the skin by suction.

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liposuction

liposuction Procedure for removal of subcutaneous adipose tissue in obese people using a suction pump device.

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lipectomy

lipectomy Surgical removal of subcutaneous fat.

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liposuction

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natation, nation, negation, notation, nutation, oblation, oration, ovation, potation, relation, rogation, rotation, Sarmatian, sedation, Serbo-Croatian, station, taxation, Thracian, vacation, vexation, vocation, zonation •accretion, Capetian, completion, concretion, deletion, depletion, Diocletian, excretion, Grecian, Helvetian, repletion, Rhodesian, secretion, suppletion, Tahitian, venetian •academician, addition, aesthetician (US esthetician), ambition, audition, beautician, clinician, coition, cosmetician, diagnostician, dialectician, dietitian, Domitian, edition, electrician, emission, fission, fruition, Hermitian, ignition, linguistician, logician, magician, mathematician, Mauritian, mechanician, metaphysician, mission, monition, mortician, munition, musician, obstetrician, omission, optician, paediatrician (US pediatrician), patrician, petition, Phoenician, physician, politician, position, rhetorician, sedition, statistician, suspicion, tactician, technician, theoretician, Titian, tuition, volition •addiction, affliction, benediction, constriction, conviction, crucifixion, depiction, dereliction, diction, eviction, fiction, friction, infliction, interdiction, jurisdiction, malediction, restriction, transfixion, valediction •distinction, extinction, intinction •ascription, circumscription, conscription, decryption, description, Egyptian, encryption, inscription, misdescription, prescription, subscription, superscription, transcription •proscription •concoction, decoction •adoption, option •abortion, apportion, caution, contortion, distortion, extortion, portion, proportion, retortion, torsion •auction •absorption, sorption •commotion, devotion, emotion, groschen, Laotian, locomotion, lotion, motion, notion, Nova Scotian, ocean, potion, promotion •ablution, absolution, allocution, attribution, circumlocution, circumvolution, Confucian, constitution, contribution, convolution, counter-revolution, destitution, dilution, diminution, distribution, electrocution, elocution, evolution, execution, institution, interlocution, irresolution, Lilliputian, locution, perlocution, persecution, pollution, prosecution, prostitution, restitution, retribution, Rosicrucian, solution, substitution, volution •cushion • resumption • München •pincushion •Belorussian, Prussian, Russian •abduction, conduction, construction, deduction, destruction, eduction, effluxion, induction, instruction, introduction, misconstruction, obstruction, production, reduction, ruction, seduction, suction, underproduction •avulsion, compulsion, convulsion, emulsion, expulsion, impulsion, propulsion, repulsion, revulsion •assumption, consumption, gumption, presumption •luncheon, scuncheon, truncheon •compunction, conjunction, dysfunction, expunction, function, junction, malfunction, multifunction, unction •abruption, corruption, disruption, eruption, interruption •T-junction • liposuction •animadversion, aspersion, assertion, aversion, Cistercian, coercion, conversion, desertion, disconcertion, dispersion, diversion, emersion, excursion, exertion, extroversion, immersion, incursion, insertion, interspersion, introversion, Persian, perversion, submersion, subversion, tertian, version •excerption

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Liposuction

Liposuction

Definition

Liposuction, also known as lipoplasty or suction-assisted lipectomy, is cosmetic surgery performed to remove unwanted deposits of fat from under the skin. The doctor sculpts and re-contours the patient's body by removing fat deposits that have been resistant to reduction by diet or exercise . Removal of fat cells is permanent.

Purpose

Liposuction is intended to reduce and smooth the contours of the body and improve the patient's appearance. Its goal is cosmetic improvement. It is the most commonly performed cosmetic procedure for men in the United States and the second most common cosmetic procedure (after breast augmentation) for women. In 2006, about 403,680 liposuction procedures were performed in the United States. This is more than double the amount performed ten years earlier.

Liposuction does not remove large quantities of fat and is not intended as a weight-reduction technique. The average amount of fat removed is about a liter, or a quart. Although liposuction is not intended to remove cellulite (lumpy fat), some doctors believe that it improves the appearance of cellulite areas (thighs, hips, buttocks, abdomen, and chin). A technique called liposhaving shows more promise in reducing cellulite. Liposhaving can be done under local anesthesia and is reported to be less traumatic to the skin than liposuction. Liposuction is most often performed by board-certified plastic surgeons.

Precautions

Liposuction is most successful on patients who have firm, elastic skin, localized pockets of fat, good muscle tone, and who are within 30% of their ideal body weight. To get good results after fat removal, the skin must contract to conform to the new contours

without sagging. Older patients have less elastic skin, and therefore they may not be good candidates for this procedure. Patients with generalized fat distribution, rather than localized pockets, are not good candidates.

Patients should be in good general health and free of heart or lung disease. Patients with poor circulation or who have had recent surgery at the intended site of fat reduction are not good candidates. Ideally, patients should be non-smokers.

Description

Liposuction can be performed as an outpatient procedure, most often under local aesthesia. Local anesthesia provides loss of sensation without loss of consciousness. The most common liposuction technique us the tumescent or wet technique. In this technique, large volumes of very dilute anesthetic are injected under the patient's skin, making the tissue swollen and firm (tumescent). Epinephrine is added to the solution to reduce bleeding, and make possible the removal of larger amounts of fat.

The doctor first numbs the skin with an injection of local anesthetic. After the skin is desensitized, the doctor makes a series of tiny incisions, 0.12-0.25 in (36 mm) or less in length. Next, the area is flooded with a larger amount of anesthetic. Fat is then extracted with suction through a long, blunt hollow tube called a cannula. The doctor repeatedly pushes the cannula through the fat layers in a radiating pattern creating tunnels, removing fat, and re-contouring the area.

Some newer modifications to the procedure involve the use of a cutting cannula called a liposhaver. Formerly some surgeons used ultrasound to help break up the fat deposits, but this technique has largely been abandoned because it created greater safety risks than the tumescent technique. Larger incisions may be closed with a suture or staple, while micro incisions are covered with bandages but do not need sutures. Incisions usually heal completely within two weeks and should leave few or no scars.

The length of time required to perform liposuction varies with the amount of fat that is to be removed and the number of areas to be treated. Most operations take from 30 minutes to 2 hours, but extensive procedures can take longer. Extensive procedures carry a greater risk of complications. The length of time required also varies with the manner in which the anesthetic is injected.

The cost of liposuction varies depending upon the fees charged in the region of the country where it is performed, the extent of the area being treated, and the person performing the procedure. In the mid-2000s, an increasing trend was for Americans to go overseas to have cosmetic procedures performed in countries where they cost substantially less than in the United States. Liposuction procedures are cosmetic and are not covered by most insurance policies.

Preparation

The doctor will do a physical exam and may order blood work to determine clotting time and hemoglobin level for transfusions should the need arise (a rare event). The patient begins taking antibiotics immediately before surgery to ward off infection. Smokers should stop smoking well before the procedure.

Aftercare

Liposuction is normally an outpatient procedure. Patients should plan to have someone available to drive them home and stay with them for the next 12–24 hours. If the tumescent technique is used, the patient will feel little or no pain for 24 hours following the procedure but after that may have soreness and swelling for several weeks. After some liposuction surgery, the patient may need to wear a support garment continuously for 2–3 weeks. If ankles or calves were treated, support hose should be worn for up to 6 weeks. The support garments can be removed during bathing. A drainage tube placed under the skin in the area of the procedure may be needed to prevent fluid build-up.

The incisions involved in this procedure are tiny, however, the surgeon may choose close them with sutures or staples. These will be removed a few days after surgery. Some micro-incisions are small enough that the doctor may not need to close them with sutures. Minor bleeding or seepage through the incision site is common after this procedure. Wearing the elastic bandage or support garment helps reduce fluid loss.

The patient usually can return to normal activity within a week. Any postoperative bruising is expected to go away within 10–14 days. Postoperative swelling begins to go down after a week. It may take 3–6 months for the final contour to be reached depending on the extent of the surgery.

Risks

Liposuction under local anesthesia using the tumescent technique is exceptionally safe so long as the patient is in good health. The main hazards associated with this surgery involve migration of a blood clot or fat globule to the heart, brain, or lungs. Such an event can cause a heart attack or stroke . Ultrasound assisted liposuction has largely been abandoned because of safety concerns such as burns and complications such as scarring.

Staying in bed increases the risk of clot formation, but too much activity can result in increased swelling of the surgical area. Such swelling is a result of excess fluid and blood accumulation, and generally comes from not wearing the compression garments. If necessary, this excess fluid can be drained with a needle in the doctor's office.

Infection is another complication, but this rarely occurs. If the physician is skilled and works in a sterile environment, infection should not be a concern.

The greatest risk of complications arises when too much fat is removed or too many parts of the body are worked on at one time. If too much fat is removed, the skin may peel in that area. Smokers are at increased risk for shedding skin because their circulation is impaired. Removing too much fat may also cause the patient to go into shock.

Liposuction can damage superficial nerves. Some patients lose sensation in the area that has been suctioned, but feeling usually returns with time.

Results

The loss of fat cells is permanent, and the patient should have smoother, more pleasing body contours without excessive bulges. Nevertheless, if the patient overeats, the remaining fat cells will grow in size. Although the patient may gain weight, the body should retain the new proportions and the suctioned area should remain proportionally smaller.

Tiny scars at the site of incision are normal. The doctor usually makes the incisions in places where the scars are not likely to show.

In some instances, the skin may appear rippled, wavy, or baggy after surgery. Pigmentation spots may develop. The re-contoured area may be uneven. This unevenness can be corrected with a second procedure that is less extensive than the first.

KEY TERMS

Cellulite —Cellulite is dimply skin caused by uneven fat deposits beneath the surface.

Epinephrine —Epinephrine, also called adrenalin, occurs naturally in the body and causes blood vessels to constrict or narrow. As a drug, it is used to reduce bleeding.

Hemoglobin —Hemoglobin is the component of blood that carries oxygen to the tissues.

Liposhaving —Liposhaving involves removing fat that lies closer to the skins surface by using a needle-like instrument that contains a sharp-edged shaving device.

Resources

BOOKS

Loftus, Jean M.

The Smart Woman's Guide to Plastic Surgery., 2nd. ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008.

Olesen, R, Merrell. Cosmetic Surgery for Dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2005

Perry, Arthur W. Straight Talk About Cosmetic Surgery. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, c2007.

Shelton, Ron M. and Terry Malloy. Liposuction: A Question and Answer Guide to Today's Popular Cosmetic Procedure. New York: Berkley Books, 2004.

ORGANIZATIONS

American Board of Plastic Surgery. Seven Penn Center, Suite 400, 1635 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-2204. (215) 587-9322. http://www.abplsurg.org.

American College of Surgeons. 633 North Saint Claire Street, Chicago, IL 60611. (312) 202-5000. http://www.facs.org.

American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. 11081 Winners Circle, Los Alamitos, CA 90720.(888) 272-7711. http://www.surgery.org.

American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. 5550 Meadowbrook Drive, Suite 120, Rolling Meadows, IL 60006 (847) 956-0900. http://www.asds-net.org.

American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons. 444 E. Algonquin Rd., Arlington Heights, IL 60005. (847) 228-9900. http://www.plasticsurgery.org.

OTHER

“Liposuction.” United States Food and Drug Administration.

2005 [cited January 24, 2008]. http://www.fda.gov/womens/getthefacts/liposuction.html.

Louann W. Murray Ph. D.

Tish Davidson A. M.

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"Liposuction." The Gale Encyclopedia of Senior Health: A Guide for Seniors and Their Caregivers. . Retrieved September 17, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/caregiving/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/liposuction

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  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Liposuction

Liposuction

Definition
Purpose
Demographics
Description
Diagnosis/Preparation
Aftercare
Risks
Normal results
Morbidity and mortality rates
Alternatives

Definition

Liposuction, also known as lipoplasty or suction-assisted lipectomy, is cosmetic surgery performed to remove unwanted deposits of fat from under the skin. The surgeon sculpts and re-contours a person’s body by removing excess fat deposits that have been resistant to reduction by diet or exercise. Removal of fat cells is permanent.

Purpose

Liposuction is intended to reduce and smooth the contours of the body and improve a person’s appearance. Its goal is cosmetic improvement. Liposuction does not remove large quantities of fat and is not intended as a weight-reduction technique. The average amount of fat removed is about 1 quart (1 liter). Although liposuction is not intended to remove cellulite (lumpy fat), some doctors believe that it improves the appearance of areas that contain cellulite, including thighs, hips, buttocks, abdomen, and chin. A technique called liposhaving shows more promise at reducing cellulite. Liposhaving can be done under local anesthesia and is reported to be less traumatic to the skin than liposuction. Liposuction is most often performed by board-certified plastic surgeons.

Demographics

Liposuction is the most commonly performed cosmetic procedure for men in the United States and the second most common cosmetic procedure (after breast augmentation) for women. In 2006, about 403,680

KEY TERMS

Cellulite— Dimpled skin that is caused by uneven fat deosits beneath the surface.

Epinephrine— Epinephrine, also called adrenalin, occurs naturally in the body and causes blood vessels to constrict or narrow. As a drug, it is used to reduce bleeding.

Hemoglobin— The component of blood that carries oxygen to the tissues.

Liposhaving— Involves removing fat that lies closer to the surface of the skin by using a needlelike instrument that contains a sharp-edged shaving device.

liposuction procedures were performed in the United States. This is more than double the amount performed ten years earlier.

Description

Most liposuction procedures are performed under local anesthesia. Local anesthesia produces loss of sensation without loss of consciousness. The tumescent, or wet, technique is used most often. In this technique, a large volume of very dilute anesthetic is injected under the person’s skin, making the tissue swollen (tumescent) and firm. Epinephrine is added to the solution to reduce bleeding, which allows the removal of larger amounts of fat.

The physician first numbs the skin with an injection of local anesthetic. After the skin is desensitized, the doctor makes a series of tiny incisions no larger than 0.12–0.25 in (3–6 mm) in length. Flooding the area with more dilute anesthetic, fat is then extracted with suction through a long, blunt hollow tube called a cannula. The doctor repeatedly pushes the cannula through the fat layers in a radiating pattern creating tunnels, thus removing fat and re-contouring the area.

Some newer modifications to the procedure include the use of a cutting cannula called a liposhaver. Formerly some surgeons used ultrasound to help break up the fat deposits, but this technique has largely been abandoned because it created greater safety risks than the tumescent technique. Larger incisions may be closed with a suture or staple, while micro incisions are covered with bandages but do not need sutures. Incisions usually heal completely within two weeks and should leave few or no scars

The length of time required to perform the procedure varies with the amount of fat that is to be removed and the number of areas to be treated. Most operations take from 30 minutes up to two hours, but extensive procedures can take longer. Risk of complications increases the more extensive the procedure. The length of time required also varies with the manner in which the anesthetic is injected.

The cost of liposuction varies depending upon the fees commonly charged in the region of the country where it is performed, the extent of the area being treated, and the person performing the procedure. In the mid-2000s, an increasing trend was for Americans to go overseas to have cosmetic procedures performed in countries where they cost substantially less than in the United States. These procedures are cosmetic and are not covered by most insurance policies.

Diagnosis/Preparation

Liposuction is most successful when performed on persons who have firm, elastic skin and concentrated pockets of fat in areas that are characterized by cellulite. To get good results after fat removal, the skin must contract to conform to the new contours without sagging. Older persons have less elastic skin and, consequently, may not be good candidates for this procedure. People with generalized fat distribution, rather than localized pockets, are not good candidates. Candidates should be in good general health and free of heart or lung disease. People who have poor circulation or who have had recent surgery at the intended site of fat reduction are not good candidates.

The doctor will conduct a physical examination and may order blood work to determine clotting time and hemoglobin level for transfusions, in case the need should arise. The person may be placed on antibiotics before surgery to ward off potential infection.

Aftercare

Liposuction is normally an outpatient procedure. Patients should plan to have someone available to drive them home and stay with them for the next 12-24 hours. If the tumescent technique is used, the patient will feel little or no pain for 24 hours following the procedure but after that may have soreness and swelling for several weeks. After some liposuction surgery, the patient may need to wear a support garment continuously for 2–3 weeks. If ankles or calves were treated, support hose should be worn for up to 6 weeks. The support garments can be removed during bathing. A drainage tube placed under the skin in the

WHO PERFORMS THE PROCEDURE AND WHERE IS IT PERFORMED?

Many liposuction surgeries are performed by plastic surgeons or by dermatologists. Any licensed physician may legally perform liposuction. Liposuction may be performed in a private professional office, an outpatient center, or in a hospital.

area of the procedure may be needed to prevent fluid build-up.

The incisions involved in this procedure are tiny, but the surgeon may close them with metal sutures or staples. These will be removed a few days surgery. Some micro-incisions are small enough that the doctor may not need to close them with sutures. Minor bleeding or seepage through the incision site(s) is common after this procedure. Wearing the elastic bandage or support garment helps reduce fluid loss.

The patient usually can return to normal activity within a week. Any postoperative bruising is expected to go away within 10-14 days. Postoperative swelling begins to go down after a week. It may take 3-6 months for the final contour to be reached depending on the extent of the surgery.

Risks

Liposuction under local anesthesia using the tumescent technique is exceptionally safe so long as the patient is in good health. The main hazards associated with this surgery involve migration of a blood clot or fat globule to the heart, brain, or lungs. Such an event can cause a heart attack or stroke. Ultrasound assisted liposuction has largely been abandoned because of safety concerns such as burns and complications such as scarring.

Staying in bed increases the risk of clot formation, but too much activity can result in increased swelling of the surgical area. Such swelling is a result of excess fluid and blood accumulation, and generally comes from not wearing the compression garments. If necessary, this excess fluid can be drained with a needle in the doctor’s office.

Infection is another complication, but this rarely occurs. If the physician is skilled and works in a sterile environment, infection should not be much of a concern.

The greatest risk of complications arises when too much fat is removed or too many parts of the body are

QUESTIONS TO ASK THE DOCTOR

Candidates for liposuction surgery should consider asking the following questions:

  • What will be the resulting appearance?
  • Is the surgeon board certified in plastic and reconstructive surgery?
  • How many liposuction procedures has the surgeon performed?
  • What is the surgeon’s complication rate?
  • How much will the procedure cost and is any of it covered by insurance?

worked on at one time. If too much fat is removed, the skin may peel in that area. Smokers are at increased risk for shedding skin because their circulation is impaired. Removing too much fat may also cause the patient to go into shock.

Normal results

The loss of fat cells is permanent, and the patient should have smoother, more pleasing body contours without excessive bulges. Nevertheless, if the patient overeats, the remaining fat cells will grow in size. Although the patient may gain weight, the body should retain the new proportions and the suctioned area should remain proportionally smaller.

Tiny scars at the site of incision are normal. The doctor usually makes the incisions in places where the scars are not likely to show.

In some instances, the skin may appear rippled, wavy, or baggy after surgery. Pigmentation spots may develop. The re-contoured area may be uneven. This unevenness can be corrected with a second procedure that is less extensive than the first.

Morbidity and mortality rates

The morbidity rate from liposuction is less than 1%. Mortality is exceedingly rare.

Alternatives

Some of the alternatives to liposuction include modifying diet to lose excess body fat, exercise, accepting one’s body and appearance as it is, or using clothing or makeup to downplay or emphasize body or facial features.

Resources

BOOKS

Loftus, Jean M. The Smart Woman’s Guide to Plastic Surgery., 2nd. ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008.

Olesen, R, Merrell. Cosmetic Surgery for Dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2005

Perry, Arthur W. Straight Talk About Cosmetic Surgery. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, c2007.

Shelton, Ron M. and Terry Malloy. Liposuction: A Question and Answer Guide to Today’s Popular Cosmetic Procedure. New York: Berkley Books, 2004.

ORGANIZATIONS

American Board of Plastic Surgery. Seven Penn Center, Suite 400, 1635 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-2204. (215) 587-9322. http://www.abplsurg.org.

American College of Surgeons. 633 North Saint Claire Street, Chicago, IL 60611. (312) 202-5000. http://www.facs.org.

American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. 11081 Winners Circle, Los Alamitos, CA 90720.(888) 272-7711. http://www.surgery.org.

American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. 5550 Meadowbrook Drive, Suite 120, Rolling Meadows, IL 60006 (847) 956-0900. http://www.asds-net.org.

American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons. 444 E. Algonquin Rd., Arlington Heights, IL 60005. (847) 228-9900. http://www.plasticsurgery.org.

OTHER

“Liposuction.” United States Food and Drug Administration. 2005. [cited January 24, 2008]. http://www.fda.gov/womens/getthefacts/liposuction.html.

L. Fleming Fallon, Jr., M.D., Ph. D.

Tish Davidson, A. M.

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"Liposuction." The Gale Encyclopedia of Surgery and Medical Tests. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Liposuction." The Gale Encyclopedia of Surgery and Medical Tests. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 17, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/liposuction-1

"Liposuction." The Gale Encyclopedia of Surgery and Medical Tests. . Retrieved September 17, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/liposuction-1

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Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

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The Chicago Manual of Style

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American Psychological Association

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Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.