Liposuction is the surgical vacuuming of fat from beneath the surface of the skin. It is used to reduce fullness in any area of the body. It is an excellent method of spot reduction but is not an effective method of weight loss.
The tumescent technique involves injection beneath the skin of large volumes of salt water containing lidocaine, a local anesthetic and small amounts of adrenaline, a naturally occurring hormone which shrinks blood vessels. By injecting this solution to the fat prior to performing liposuction the plastic surgeon numbs the tissues and shrinks the blood vessels thereby eliminating pain and reducing and minimizing bleeding, bruising, and swelling. The tumescent technique permits some patients who were previously treated under general anesthesia to be treated under local anesthesia with sedation.
Generally people who have localized areas of protruding fat achieve the most dramatic results. Patients who are slightly overweight can benefit from liposuction. It is best to be at or near your normal weight. Good skin elasticity permits the skin to shrink easily to the reduced contour. There are no absolute age limits for liposuction.
In women, the single most frequently treated areas are the outer thighs, followed by the stomach. In men, the flank area or "love handles" are treated most frequently.
If there is excess fat in the area under the chin and the skin is taut, liposuction alone can produce a more sculpted, angular, and youthful jaw line. If, however, the skin of the neck is loose, hanging, or crepey, even if there is excess fat, liposuction alone will not produce the desired result. Patients with loose skin usually require a face and neck lift in addition to or instead of liposuction. In general, most patients who benefit from liposuction of the neck are under 40. Most patients over 40 will require some surgical skin tightening.
Although liposuction is very safe and effective, it is a surgical procedure and can cause complications such as infection, bleeding, and nerve damage. In addition, aesthetic complications such as skin irregularity or waviness can occur if too much fat has been removed. Fortunately, complications are uncommon and most patients are satisfied with their results.
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