Are you feeling down and out? Do you feel even worse when you look in the mirror? Cosmetic surgeons tell us you are not alone. They say the popularity of reality television shows like ABC TV's "Extreme Makeover" has led to an increasing boom in cosmetic surgery. You may be one of the many people who are not happy with the way you look. Look in the mirror right now and tell me what you see. Do you see flabby thighs, a sagging chin or a tubby tummy? If so, then liposuction could be just what the doctor ordered.
What Is Liposuction?
Liposuction is also known in the medical arena as lipoplasty or liposculture or "lipo" for short. Lipo surgically removes excess fat from deposits beneath the skin in many areas of the body. The procedure sounds like it hurts.
How Does It Work?
Surgeons use a hollow stainless steel tube called a cannula. The cannula is hooked up to a vacuum. It is inserted into an incision in the skin. Fat deposits are then gently sucked out of the body.
Does It Hurt?
"It didn't hurt at all," says 25-Year old Jenn Rogers. Rogers is the mother of three year old twins. She decided to have lipo to get her post baby abdomen back. She says, "I tried so hard through exercise and diet to do it. But, nothing I tried would work."
Is It Popular And If It Is, Why?
Liposuction is quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of cosmetic surgery for that very reason. It targets the areas of fat we'd like to shoot away. It is commonly used to reduce fat in the abdomen, hips, butt, thighs, chin, neck, back, chest and arms. Can you believe that doctors also use lipo on the knees, ankles and calves? As you can see, liposuction will work on just about anywhere you see fat and want to hide it!
It sounds like it hurts, doesn't it?
Well, the amount of pain depends on individual circumstances. Liposuction can be achieved painlessly by local or general anesthesia. However doctors consider liposuction a mild surgical procedure. It is performed using a general or local anesthesia. A heavy IV sedation is also used in some cases. Recent advances have done a lot to ease the pain. Doctors can now precisely target fat areas which help to reduce recovery times. Despite the recent popularity, lipo has actually been around for more than a decade.
"I had my first liposuction in 1992. It was before anyone even knew about it. I wanted to reduce the signs of aging in my face," says retired school teacher, 69 Year Old Rebecca Long. The grandmother of three has had three additional procedures since then. She laughs, "People now confuse my daughter with being my sister. I don't know if that's good for her, or bad!"
How Do I Make A Decison?
You may be wondering whether liposuction is for you. Some folks figure if they have the greenbacks then they can do it. But, whether you have the money to pay for it is just one of the factors you should consider. It is important that a surgeon be board certified for the technique that they are going to use. You'll want to look at his or her experience and safety record.
Are There Risks?
Liposuction is not risk free. There are many things that can go wrong. Complications can occur due to a poor judgment on the part of the doctor. The better educated you are on the procedure, the greater you chances of spotting a problem before it occurs. You should be concerned about disfiguring skin irregularities that can occur if the surgeon tries to take too much fat away in one procedure. The use of a large cannula can also affect the outcome of your procedure.
Large cannula's remove fat quickly. However, they are more likely to lead to skin irregularities then small cannulas do. Small cannulas are less than 3 millimeters in diameter. There's a strong chance you'll need a large cannula depending on the amount of fat you need taken away.
Surgeons use the small cannula's during the Tumescent Procedure. The American Medical Association says this technique when used with local anesthesia is the safest. Under this method, the diluted local anesthesia lasts for hours reducing the need for narcotic pain relief. Doctors say there have been no reported deaths under this procedure. In addition, even if it's used with general anesthesia, Tumescent Procedure is safe if there's no large fat removal.
There is another surgical method that utilizes a modified version of the Tumescent Procedure. This modified version combines local anesthesia with general anesthesia or IV sedation. General anesthesia and IV sedation may be dangerous when used alone, just imagine the danger when they're put together. As a result, an anesthesiologist must be on hand to handle the administration.
You'll also want to make sure that you don't have any other surgical procedures the same day as your liposuction. You'll want to avoid long term exposure to anesthesia because it's dangerous. Taking away a large amount of fat can lead to serious complications. Also, removing an excessive amount from too many areas can also be dangerous. You'll also want to make sure that you don't have any other surgical procedures the same day as your liposuction. Healing can occur quickly thanks to all the advances in liposuction.
Liposuction recovery times are shorter today than a couple of decades ago. You can return to a normal lifestyle within four after surgery with most procedures. However, a little bit of local anesthetic remains in your system. It is later absorbed into the blood stream. Would you believe that draining the anesthetic solution out of your incision actually speeds your rate of healing? It also reduces swelling and bruising after surgery.
Drainage is also speeded up by leaving the incisions open instead of closing with sutures. Your surgeon can also make tiny holes in your skin to force drainage. Your surgeon may also encourage you to spandex clothes to promote more drainage. Your surgeon can also drain it through absorptive pads that are placed over your incisions. Despite the surgical concerns, liposuction is changing lives like Jenn and Rebecca's. It can improve body posture and image ultimately leading to a happier, healthier, you.
Who Do I Contact To Find A Good Surgeon?
The Ethical Cosmetic Surgery Association, The American Sociaty of Dermatologic Surgeons or the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.