What Is Liposuction?

Liposuction is a type of surgery that breaks up adipose tissue (fat) in an individual's body and then removes it. Liposuction is also referred to as lipoplasty, lipectomy, liposculpture suction, or lipo in the medical community. This type of cosmetic surgical procedure is most often utilized to remove fat from an individual's back, calves, abdomen, buttocks, thighs, chin, upper arms, neck, and back of the arms. Currently, liposuction is the most common cosmetic surgical procedure performed in the United States, with over 300,000 procedures administered annually. Liposuction is not effective for the removal of dimples, stretch marks, or cellulite. Liposuction permanently extracts fat from the body, but there are limits to the quantity of fat that can be safely extracted.

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How The Procedure Works

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An individual who is undergoing liposuction will receive general anesthesia or an epidural so they do not feel any pain or discomfort during the surgery. One of many techniques will be utilized to remove the targeted fat tissue on the body. With tumescent liposuction, epinephrine, lidocaine, and saline are injected below the skin into the region to be treated before the fat is suctioned from the body with the cannula. This method helps soften the fatty tissue and minimize the amount of blood vessel damage. Ultrasound-assisted liposuction is a method where ultrasound energizes the cannula used to melt the fat upon contact. This method works by using ultrasound vibrations to rupture to the membranes of the fat cells so they liquefy and are easier to suction from the body. Power-assisted liposuction is a method that uses a mechanical back and forth motion to break up the fat before it is suctioned from the body. A combination of these techniques may be used depending on the part of the body being treated.

Keep reading to learn about preparing for the procedure next.

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Whitney Alexandra