Dr. Venkat Rao and Dr. John Siebert Talk About Liposuction
|Dr. John Siebert, MD|
- Upper arms
With liposuction, the most frequently treated areas in women are the outer thighs and stomach. In men, the most frequently treated area is the "love handles."
Who is a good candidate for liposuction?
Generally, the best candidates for liposuction are people of normal weight who have localized areas of protruding fat. However, persons who are slightly overweight might also benefit from liposuction.
In addition, the best candidates:
- Have firm, elastic skin
- Are physically and psychologically healthy
- Have realistic expectations
Age is not a major factor with liposuction. However, older people tend to have decreased skin elasticity and, thus, may not achieve as good a result from liposuction as younger people with tighter skin.
People with medical problems - such as obesity, uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, poor circulation, heart disease, lung disease, or other severe medical problems - are not candidates for liposuction.
What happens during the actual liposuction procedure?
Depending on the patient and the treatment area of the body, the liposuction procedure can be performed under general anesthesia or local anesthesia combined with sedation.
For most people, the surgeon injects a wetting solution into the treatment area. The solution is mostly salt water, but also contains epinephrine (a medication that shrinks blood vessels), which acts to decrease bleeding and bruising and a local anesthetic to decrease pain.
After the wetting solution has been injected, the surgeon makes a small cut in the skin and the cannula is inserted through the cut into the area of excess fat. The cannula is attached to a suction machine. By moving the cannula back and forth through the fat, the surgeon can remove the fat. After the procedure is completed, the incisions are closed with a few stitches.
Will liposuction reduce cellulite?
Cellulite is a collection of fat that causes the skin to look lumpy or dimpled. Liposuction will not improve cellulite. In fact, it could even make cellulite worse.
What are the risks of liposuction?
Liposuction is generally a safe surgical procedure. However, as with any surgery, it does have the potential for complications. Occasional risks of liposuction include bleeding, a reaction to the anesthetic, noticeable irregularities in body contour, and prolonged swelling.
Rare complications of liposuction include infection, nerve damage, damage to the intestines (during abdominal procedures), blood clots (especially in women taking birth control pills), skin tissue death (especially in smokers and people with diabetes), fluid in the lungs, and shock.
The risks of liposuction increase if too much fat is removed, if there is inadequate monitoring after removal of a large volume of fat (greater than 10 pounds), if too much fluid is injected, if too many surgical procedures are done at one time, and if the patient is in poor health.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in 2008:
- Liposuction was the third most popular surgical cosmetic procedure
- More than 245,000 people received liposuction.
- Since liposuction was introduced in the early 1980s, the safety of this surgery has greatly improved
- New techniques and better equipment have reduced side effects, such as bleeding and swelling
- The risk of major complications from liposuction is less than 0.5 percent