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Liposuction or lipoplasty is the most performed plastic surgery procedure in the United States. The unique fact is that this procedure is desired not only by women but also men. It is the most wanted procedure in men. This procedure aims to trim down the volume of a certain body part by reducing the fat tissue under the skin by vacuum, so that an improved body proportion can be achieved. It is neither a method to reduce obesity nor to manage cellulites. Cellulites are caused by uneven fat deposition on the surface of the fat tissue, while liposuction is aimed to reduce fat in deeper layer of the skin.

Liposuction can be utilized to remove fat excess on the face (very limited), neck, upper arm, chest, abdomen, waist, hip, thigh, and calf. It can be done in conjunction with other aesthetic procedures such as tummy tuck, arm lift, facelift, etc.

Candidates for liposuction are adults with a desire to refine certain parts of their body of which the fat is difficult to remove by diet and exercise. They must range within 30% of their ideal body weight, and have elastic skin as well as muscle tissue.

Liposuction procedure involves steps as follows:

  • Sedation, local, or general anesthesia.

  • A small incision is made to insert the instrument, which is a rigid cannula (a small hollow tube)

  • Tumescent procedure (sterile fluid is flowed into fat tissue to reduce bleeding and pain)

  • A cannula which is connected to a vacuum machine is inserted and moved back and forth to free the fat from its surrounding tissue. The vacuum will suction the freed fat. Suction can be aided by ultrasound, laser, or vibration energy which melts the fat, making it easier to suction.

After the procedure, you may need to stay at the hospital for one night, depends on the method of anesthesia and the size of liposuction area. You will be asked to wear pressure garments on the liposuction area. Bruises will resolve in 2 weeks postsurgery, while the swelling will resolve slowly in 2-3 months. Usually patients can return to their work after 7-10 days if they underwent a major liposuction. Small liposuction area will be practically without down time. It is important that you maintain your shape with diet and exercise after the procedure.

Complications that may occur include uneven shape, flabby skin, skin and/or nerve damage, pigmentation, bleeding, infection, pain, and intraabdominal organ damage.

(Source: Prasetyono TOH. Liposuction. Bazaar 2009 Feb;Chapter 4:53.)

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