Body Contouring With Lipoplasty

Liposuction, or Lipoplasty, is a surgical procedure involving the permanent removal of unwanted fat (commonly 0.5 - 5 liters) using a variety of evolving medical techniques. The first paper to be presented on suction surgery in the United States took place at the 1980 Aesthetic Society Annual Meeting. There was initial skepticism, but wide interest among American surgeons soon followed, and before long lipoplasty was a frequent subject in the popular media.

Lipoplasty is currently the most popular cosmetic surgical procedure in the United States. It is commonly used on areas such as the abdomen, hips, inner and outer thighs, and buttocks. In general, any pockets of fat that don’t respond to diet or exercise are good targets for liposuction. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery estimates that 455,000 liposuction surgeries were performed in the United States in 2005.

Liposculpture, also known as precision, selective, fine or micro liposuction, refers to the removal of smaller amounts of fat (often 1-3 ounces) than in traditional liposuction procedures. A growing trend, liposculpture is performed to sharpen, enhance, or accentuate features on persons who are usually fit or normal weight. Liposculpture procedures are often performed on areas that were previously considered off-limits for safe and aesthetically pleasing fat removal. These areas include the neck, face, spine or upper back, ankles, upper arms, calves, and knees. Because many of these locations are less fatty than those targeted using traditional liposuction, and because some are located near major nerves and important blood vessels, liposculpture can be more technically and cosmetically challenging than liposuction that is performed on larger, fattier areas. Newer, more refined techniques of fat removal are allowing plastic surgeons to target these smaller and more delicate areas of the body.

"In the past twenty years body contouring has become more sophisticated,” says Dr. Felmont F. Eaves, MD, chair of the Society’s Body Contouring Committee. “An aesthetic surgeon can now customize a plan for optimal patient outcome. There is a wide spectrum of body contouring procedures that can help individualize a surgical plan; for instance, a patient who has extra fat on her stomach can have procedures ranging from fine lipoplasty, to full lipoplasty, or go further to an abdominoplasty or even a full body-lift. There are also many new tools at a surgeons’ disposal. We now have fine cannulas, Power-Assisted Lipoplasty, Ultrasound-Assisted Lipoplasty, and more tools are on the horizon."

Guidelines for Patients Seeking Liposuction or Liposculpture:

The Society recommends the following guidelines for those seeking liposuction and liposculpture:

  • Don’t choose a provider based on price. These are serious surgical procedures that demand a well-qualified physician. Make certain that the surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the only Board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties which certifies surgeons to perform lipoplasty.
  • The best candidates for liposuction or liposculpture are those who have realistic expectations about the results, who understand the risks and benefits and who are physically and psychologically healthy.
  • Every procedure has inherent risks and benefits. Make sure the benefits and risks are fully explained to you in a patient consultation.
  • Fully disclose any medical conditions you might have and any medications you are taking, including vitamins and over-the-counter drugs.
  • All cosmetic surgical procedures should be performed in accredited, state-licensed or Medicare-certified surgical facilities using sterile instruments.

About the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS)

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) is the leading organization of board-certified plastic surgeons specializing in cosmetic plastic surgery. ASAPS’ active-member plastic surgeons are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. For more information, please visit:


The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world's leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body. ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; Active Members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and nonsurgical aesthetic procedures. International Active Members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.


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