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Liposuction (lipoplasty) is a surgical procedure to remove unwanted fat deposits in certain areas of the body, such as the buttocks, thighs, neck, face, cheeks, arms, hips or abdomen.
The Center for Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery offers liposuction treatment for patients wanting to reshape one or more parts of their body to a desired shape or size.
The time necessary to perform liposuction surgery depends on the size of the area where the fat is to be extracted, the anesthesia used and the surgeon's technique. Surgeons usually make a tiny incision and insert a suction tube beneath the skin to extract the fatty tissue. Several methods and techniques can be used to achieve this, including:
- The tumescent technique: surgeons inject a medicated solution into the fatty area. This solution of intravenous salt, lidocaine and epinephrine is used to help reduce blood loss and remove fat more easily, and it acts as an anesthetic.
- The super-wet technique: a fluid injection technique requiring less volume of medicated solution, usually equivalent to the amount of fatty deposits to be removed. The super-wet technique often requires general anesthesia.
- Ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty: a tube is used to produce ultrasonic energy. Once this energy passes through the fatty area, a tiny explosion occurs in the walls of the fatty cells to help liquefy the fat.
Following surgery, patients may experience some pain and discomfort around the incision site. Surgeons prescribe medication to ease these complications or use other methods to resolve these issues. To prevent fluid buildup and to control swelling, surgeons insert a small drainage tube beneath the skin for two days.
When patients are able to, they are asked to walk around to prevent blood clots from forming in their legs. Patients are also advised to avoid any strenuous physical activity the first month following surgery or until their body has fully recovered.