Liposuction is mainly used to improve how a person looks, rather than providing any physical health benefits. In many cases, the patient would probably achieve the same results, and sometimes better ones if they adopted a healthy lifestyle – good diet, regular exercise and a good night’s sleep every night.
Experts say that liposuction should ideally only be used if the individual did not achieve the desired results with a lifestyle change. For example, if some obstinate areas of fat that are resistant to exercise and diet.
When you gain weight each fat cell increases in size and volume. Liposuction reduces the number of fat cells in isolated areas. How much is removed from a specific area depends on its appearance and the volume of fat. Contour changes resulting from liposuction can be long-lasting, as long as the patient’s weight does not increase.
Liposuction is only done in relatively small areas of the human body, and is in no way a treatment for obesity or long-term weight loss. It should not be used if the person wants to get rid of stretch marks, cellulite, dimpling, or other skin surface irregularities.
Patients should discuss the pros and cons of liposuction with their GP (general practitioner, primary care physician) before deciding on whether to proceed. If the individual still wants to go ahead, they should talk to their surgeon sincerely about why they want to do it, what they hope to gain out of it personally, and what their expectations are.
Liposuction should only be carried out after a lot of thought. Results are never dramatic; they are subtle.
The following body areas are commonly targeted for liposuction treatment:
- Inner knees
- Flanks (love-handles)
- Neckline and the area under the chin (submental)
- Thighs – saddlebags (outer thighs), and inner thighs
- Upper arms
According to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, liposuction is performed more commonly on the thighs and abdomen of women, and the abdomen and flanks (sides, love-handles) of men.
Experts say that the best liposuction candidates are those who have good skin tone and elasticity, where the skin molds itself into new contours. People whose skin lacks elasticity may end up with loose-looking skin in areas where the procedure was done. The patient needs to be in good health – people with circulation (blood flow) problems, such as coronary artery disease, diabetes, as well as those with weakened immune systems should not undergo liposuction. Candidates should be over the age of 18 years. Liposuction is sometimes used to treat certain conditions, including:
- Lymphedema– a chronic (long-term) condition in which excess lymph (fluid) collects in tissues, causing edema(swelling). The edema commonly occurs in the arms or legs. The fluid accumulation occurs faster than it can be drained away. Liposuction is sometimes used to reduce swelling, discomfort and pain.However, doctors tend only to use liposuction with patients who have severe symptoms. After the operation patients have to wear a compression bandage for several months, sometimes up to a year after the operation.
- Gynecomastia– sometimes fat accumulates under a man’s nipples. Liposuction can remove some of the fat, reducing the swelling.
- Lipodystrophy syndrome– fat accumulates in one part of the body and is lost in another. Liposuction can improve the patient’s appearance by providing a more natural looking body fat distribution.
- Extreme weight loss after obesity– if a morbidly obese person has lost at least 40% of his/her BMI (body mass index) after perhaps a gastric band or bypass procedure, excess skin and other abnormalities may need treatment. Sometimes liposuction is used to correct abnormalities.