Lipoplasty, also called liposuction and suction-assisted lipectomy, removes deposits of excess fat from specific areas of the body including the face and neck. The procedure can slim hips and thighs, flatten the abdomen, shape the calves and ankles, or eliminate a double chin. Lipoplasty is well suited for women and men who are of relatively normal weight but have isolated pockets of fat. These localized fat deposits typically do not respond to diet or exercise. While it is possible to undergo lipoplasty at almost any age, best results will be obtained if the skin still has enough elasticity to achieve a smooth contour following fat removal. Lipoplasty can be performed on several areas of the body at the same time and can also be combined with other aesthetic plastic surgery.
Fat is removed by inserting a small, hollow tube, called a cannula, through one or more tiny incisions near the area to be suctioned. Incisions are placed as inconspicuously as possible, often within skin folds or contour lines. The cannula is connected by tubing to a vacuum pressure unit. Guided by the surgeon, the suction device literally vacuums away unwanted fat. Plastic surgeons use various techniques to suction the deep or more superficial layers of fat. The fat removal technique depends on many factors and must be determined on an individual basis. Choice of technique is much less important than choice of a surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS).
- Significant complications from lipoplasty are infrequent.
- Results of lipoplasty are permanent, as long as the patient maintains the postoperative weight. Even if a few pounds are gained, weight may be distributed more evenly.
- The patient may be able to return to work in a few days. Resumption of most normal activities is usually possible within one or two weeks and some form of exercise may be possible soon after.
- Every surgery carries some risk. Potential complications include bleeding, infection, poor healing, and reaction to anesthesia.
- Lipoplasty is not a substitute for overall weight loss, and is not an effective treatment for cellulite.
- Healing is gradual: Fluid retention and swelling following surgery may delay the appearance of a slimmer contour. Swelling usually subsides a week or so following surgery, while bruising can last three weeks or longer.
- Because of individual factors, results of lipoplasty vary.
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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