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Liposuction involves careful removal of fat from areas of the body that are resistant to diet control and exercise. Also known as suction lipectomy or suction assisted lipectomy (SAL) fatty tissue is removed through small, strategically placed incisions, by the use of a narrow cannula. SAL requires the use of negative pressure to assist the removal of fat from body regions that have aesthetic contour problems. These areas of excessive fat deposition are usually influenced by genetic factors. Patients frequently indicate similarities in their body habitus with their mother or father. Treatment by SAL can be rewarding if this is the case. SAL is not a weight loss procedure.
Liposuction can be performed in a number of different locations. The surgical technique and instrumentation may differ. The goal is to provide an improvement in contour of the area. Placement of fluid containing a buffered saline solution, local anesthetic and epinephrine into the area to be treated is now common practice. This tumescent fluid assists in a more even and predictable fat removal, reduces bleeding and provides for improved patient comfort.
Other important technical details such as cross tunneling and the use of narrow diameter cannulas are imperative for obtaining favorable outcomes. It is safer to be conservative regarding fat removal than to be over-aggressive and remove too much fat from a location. Contour depressions resulting from overzealous fat removal are difficult to correct. If further suctioning is recommended, it may be performed 6 to 9 months later after all swelling has resolved.
Post-operative care is quite simple and includes the use of a compression garment for 3 to 4 weeks to minimize swelling and reduce fluid accumulations in treated regions. Many risks associated with SAL are dependant on the volume of fat and fluid removed. When this volume is maintained below a certain level, serious health risks are markedly reduced and the surgery is remarkably safe.
Certain body regions respond better to SAL than others. Fat deposits may be soft or fibrous in different locations. Fibrous or firm fat is harder to remove with conventional liposuction techniques and may be best accomplished with ultrasonic assistance. Most importantly, the skin may be elastic in one body region and loose and inelastic in other areas. If the skin tension is poor in a region, SAL may worsen the appearance of the skin. All of these important factors should be reviewed during your consultation.
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