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What is Liposuction, Exactly?

Liposuction is a surgical procedure designed to sculpt the body by removing fat from specific areas. These may include the abdomen, upper arms, chin, cheeks, neck, hips, buttocks, thighs, and knees. Also called lipoplasty or suction lipectomy, liposuction has benefited greatly from a number of refinements and advancements during the past decade. Today, new techniques including ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty (UAL), the tumescent technique, and the super-wet technique are helping many plastic surgeons to provide selected patients with more precise results and quicker recovery times. All this is not to say that any type of liposuction is a substitute for dieting and exercise; merely that liposuction can remove stubborn areas of fat that don't respond to traditional methods.

If you're considering liposuction, this page is intended to give you a basic understanding of the procedure -- when it can help, how it is performed and how you might look and feel after surgery. It won't answer all of your questions because a lot depends on your individual circumstances. Please ask your doctor if there is anything about the procedure you don't understand.
The Best Candidates for Liposuction

The best candidates for liposuction are normal-weight people with firm, elastic skin, pockets of excess fat in certain areas, who have realistic expectations about what the procedure can and can't do for them. They are physically healthy and psychologically stable. Age is not a major consideration, though the diminished skin elasticity of older patients means that their results may not match those of younger patients. People with poor circulation, lung disease, have recently had surgery near the area to be contoured, or who have other medical problems face higher risk than patients without such problems.

It's important to understand that liposuction can enhance your appearance and self confidence, but it won't necessarily change your looks to match your ideal or cause other people to treat you differently. Think carefully about your expectations before you decide to have surgery, and discuss them with your surgeon.


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