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A fit and well-proportioned body is often considered a symbol of health and vitality. But despite healthy eating habits and a reasonable level of fitness, some may still have a body with disproportionate contours due to localized areas of fat. These fat deposits may be due to heredity or family traits rather than a lack of weight control or regular exercise. For those who are unhappy with their appearance due to excess fat deposits on the face or body that do not respond to diet or exercise, liposuction may be an option.

Liposuction Overview

Liposuction, also referred to as Lipoplasty or Suction Assisted Lipectomy (SAL), removes localized, excess deposits of fat from areas including the face, neck, body, and extremities. The procedure creates a smoother, better-proportioned figure by minimizing the “bulges”. There are 3 common variations to the procedure:

  • Traditional liposuction, simply defined, is a surgical suctioning of excess fat deposits (SAL).
  • Ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL) uses ultrasonic energy to liquefy excess fat prior to surgical suctioning (SAL).
  • Smartlipo is a laser assisted liposuction (LAL) technique which was recently approved by the FDA.

There are also variations of “injection techniques” which are used in conjunction with the suction techniques. These include the “dry”, “wet”, “super-wet”, and “tumescent” techniques which use a variable amount of infusion of saline solution with adrenaline (for reduced blood loss) and anesthetic (for post operative pain control) prior to removal of fat.

These techniques may be used to reduce localized fatty deposits from many areas of the face, neck, body, and extremities, including the cheeks and jowls, chin and neck, upper arms, breast and chest area, abdomen and waist, flanks and “love handles”, hips and buttocks, thighs, inner knees, and calves and ankles. Some areas are more “forgiving” than others and will result in a more aesthetic appearance following liposuction. This is usually dependent on skin elasticity and existing underlying body contour irregularities. Of note, as an alternative to liposuction of fat below the chin or submental area, the FDA recently (2015) approved KYBELLA® , a drug injected during an office visit which improves moderate to severe fullness below the chin by destroying fat cells so they can no longer store or accumulate fat.

All surgeries have potential risks or sequelle, and while Dr. Rasmussen makes every effort is to keep these to a minimum, one that can lead to dissatisfaction is contour irregularities. Regular sessions of Endermologie® postoperatively significantly reduces the likelihood that these irregularities, if present, will be permanent.

In some cases, liposuction is performed alone; often, it is used in conjunction with other plastic surgery procedures such as a facelift, male or female breast reduction, tummy tuck or mini-tummy tuck . Liposuction is not a substitute for proper diet and exercise, nor is it a treatment for obesity . It is also not an effective treatment for cellulite, the dimpled skin that can appear on the hips, buttocks and thighs. Cellulite is best treated by Endermologie®. Liposuction can, however, permanently reshape body contours where excess deposits of fat create areas that are disproportionately large in an otherwise balanced figure. During a comprehensive consultation, Dr. Rasmussen discusses not only whether one may be a candidate for liposuction, but also the pros and cons of the common variations of liposuction.

Depending upon the area and extent of liposuction desired, it may be performed under local anethesia in the office, or with sedative or general anesthesia in an outpatient facility. Noticeable swelling usually subsides in 1 to 3 weeks, but firmness may take 3 to 6 months to resolve. With the incorporation of compression garments and Endermologie® during postoperative regimen, results attained are generally better and occur faster.