What You Should Know About
By Mike Jones
If you're thinking that liposuction is a great way to
lose weight, forget about it. Liposuction isn't about weight
loss at all. It's all about sculpturing and contouring the body to remove
excess fat deposits that aren't willing to go away with diet and exercise
no matter how hard you try. It's about looking good in that swimsuit AFTER
you've lost all the weight that you're going to lose.
Women love liposuction, but men dabble in it too. Women tend to have
it done on their abdomen, thighs, knees, hips, chin or neck while men
usually treat their neck, chest, abdomen, and "love handles." In all but
a very few isolated instances liposuction is strictly cosmetic which means
your insurance company won't be footing the bill for your new belly or
butt. Your insurance company MAY get involved, however, if your treatment
is prescribed for certain medical conditions including enlarged male breasts
in men and certain fat deposits, such as "buffalo hump" which is caused
by a hormone imbalance.
Liposuction is a procedure whereby fatty tissue is literally sucked from
under the skin using a hollow wand which is attached to a suction device.
Local anesthetics and other compounds including saline, and epinephrine
are administered to control swelling and bleeding.
Once the patient is prepared the doctor inserts the wand, called a "cannula"
through small incisions which are made in the skin. They push and pull
the wand through the fatty cells causing them to break up and to be suctioned
off along with other body fluids. That's about as complicated as liposuction
gets from the actual procedural point of view.
There are several different types of liposuction procedures in use. Each
procedure is based upon the amount of fluid which is (or isn't) injected
during the procedure. "Dry Liposuction" uses no fluid and is rapidly falling
from favor. Next is "wet" where the doctor injects six to eight ounces
of ephinephrine, and "superwet" which uses the most fluid. Basically,
the more fluid that is injected during the procedure, the less blood that
While the liposuction procedure is relatively safe when performed by
a Cosmetic or Plastic Surgeon, it is not without its risks and side effects
up to, and including, death in very rare instances (about 20 out of 100,000).
Infections have been reported in some cases as well as "seroma" which
is a pooling or oozing of body fluid.
Swelling, bruising and locally painful areas are almost a guaranteed
side effect of liposuction and you can expect to lose a week or more from
work during recovery. In almost all instances the procedure is performed
on an outpatient basis and you'll be home the same day.
An unexpected side effect of liposuction is that the fat can return and,
often times, it returns to a different area from where it was removed.
This is believed to be caused by drops in leptin levels. Leptin is a hormone
that is made in fat. When the levels drop it signals the body to take
in more food so that it can increase its fat levels to what it "thinks"
is normal. This condition is most likely to occur in people who were overweight
to begin with yet still sought liposuction as a hopeful "cure".
Any doctor can perform liposuction with as little as 30 minutes "training"
on the equipment. However, since there is so much at stake, and the health
risks are real, you should only consider treatment by a Board Certified
Plastic Surgeon or Board Certified Cosmetic Surgeon who has additional
specialized training in liposuction.
Credit: Mike Jones of BodyFAQ.com, the health, body & beauty information
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