Sculpting Fat: Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons Focus on the Art of 'Sculpting' Fat

LOS ANGELES, Calif (May 3, 1998) — Historically, liposuction was developed to treat small, localized deposits of excess fat on individuals who are at or near their optimal weight. Over the years, scientific advancements have extended the application to remove larger volumes. However, many individuals continue to seek out the expertise of aesthetic surgeons in sculpting isolated areas of the body by the artful removal of small amounts of fat utilizing advanced techniques.

The focus is on small "figure faults," notes Los Angeles plastic surgeon Peter B. Fodor, MD, a panelist at the annual meeting of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) in Los Angeles, who reported on abdominal "etching." In this technique, the experienced aesthetic surgeon creates the coveted "washboard" abdomen by removing small amounts of fat in a specialized way that actually enhances muscle definition in this area. Noting that "not everyone qualifies" as a candidate, Fodor reports that physically fit individuals may seek out this procedure to produce the appearance of a finely sculpted abdomen, an effect that may not be achieved by weight loss or exercise alone.

Knees, calves, and ankles are other areas that respond well to liposculpturing techniques. ASAPS panelist Richard A. Mladick, MD, a Virginia Beach plastic surgeon, maintains that "excellent corrections can usually be obtained by following careful contouring methods." Patients may have a "shapeless" leg with generalized fat around the calf or localized fat accumulations around the ankle or the knee.

Where the small cannulas are inserted as well as what "level" of fat the surgeon liposculpts both contribute to achieving the desired result. Localized ankle bulges require only two tiny incisions. Anatomically, the tissues of the ankle consist of just a single layer of fat, so that all liposculpting in this area automatically occurs at the superficial level, just below the skin.

Liposculpting also can be effective in the face and neck. In these areas, the surgeon must be careful to leave enough fat to avoid the harsh "architectural" look.

Liposculpting is a sophisticated technique that can yield superior results. With the superficial technique, there is a higher risk of postoperative contour irregularities. The training and experience of a board-certified plastic surgeon in all aspects of liposuction is essential to achieving a satisfactory result.


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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