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Liposuction: Myths and Facts Revealed

According to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, liposuction is the most popular cosmetic surgery performed in the United States. In fact, the professional organization states that approximately 500,000 American liposuctions are performed every single year. The benefits of this procedure include the permanent removal of fat cells, improved personal appearance, relative safety of the outpatient procedure, and overall patient satisfaction. Some negative aspects of liposuction are physical discomfort, cost, and the possibility of losing the surgical benefits without proper diet and exercise.

When Considering the Benefits and Risks Inherent in Liposuction, it is Important to Separate the Myths Surrounding the Procedure from the Facts.

Myth: Liposuction is a very new procedure.
Fact: Liposuction has a long, rich history and is a proven medical procedure for the removal of area-specific fat and general body contouring. While the origins of the procedure date back to the early 20th century, contemporary cosmetic surgeons have performed this plastic surgery on a regular basis since the 1980s. Based on the innovations of French surgeons, the Illouz Technique was the first liposuction procedure to offer reliable results with relatively low risk. Later advances include the tumescent technique and ultrasound and laser-assisted procedures. Thanks to both its history and improved technology, physicians can now remove unwanted deposits of fat with minimally invasive incisions and short recovery times. Patients can expect to see significant changes within the first post-operative week and full results over two to three months.

Myth: There is only one type of liposuction.
Fact: Physicians and practices offer several liposuction procedures to meet the diverse needs of their patients. The most technique performed by a cosmetic surgeon is standard liposuction, or suction-assisted liposuction (SAL). This procedure involves the use of a cannula and vacuum technology to remove fluid-infused fat through a very small incision. A variation of standard liposuction, power-assisted liposuction (PAL) utilizes a powered, reciprocating cannula to assist the surgeon with speed and particularly fibrous tissue. Other options include ultrasonic liposuction and laser-assisted liposuction (LAL). Both of these procedures rely upon a heat source to warm and emulsify fatty deposits prior to removal. Medical professionals now utilize the tumescent technique during liposuction procedures. This means that the fatty regions are injected with saline and local anesthesia during the procedure in order to minimize the need for general anesthesia. However, liposuction performed over larger or multiple areas may still require general anesthesia. Most patients opt for liposuction as an outpatient procedure.

Myth: Liposuction is an easy or lazy option for permanent body change since fat is removed without diet or lifestyle modification.
Fact: While liposuction can provide body contouring that cannot usually be obtained through diet and exercise alone, liposuction is not a treatment for obesity and relies upon the patient’s healthy diet and lifestyle choices to maintain the results. The principle behind this cosmetic surgery is that the human body possesses a set number of fat cells. While these cells can change in size based on an individual’s diet and lifestyle, the removal of fat cells through liposuction represents a permanent decrease in the total number of fat cells in the patient’s body. Once removed by a plastic surgeon , those fat cells will not return.

Myth: Liposuction is a plastic surgery for wealthy women.
Fact: The individuals who seek liposuction are diverse in every way. These clients may be male or female and come from all walks of life. In fact, with the opportunity to take advantage of payment plans and even insurance contributions, the liposuction cost may now be affordable on almost any budget.

While no medical procedure is appropriate for every patient, the tangible benefits of liposuction contribute to its popularity. Interested individuals should seek the specific advice of a medical professional.

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