Liposuction has achieved the distinction of being the most popular cosmetic surgical procedure. At the state-of-the-art Duke Aesthetics Center in Durham, North Carolina, our expert physicians offer liposuction services, as well as a range of other procedures.
By removing unwanted deposits of excess fat, liposuction improves body appearance and smoothes irregular or distorted body shapes. The procedure is sometimes referred to as body contouring.
Liposuction may be useful for contouring under the chin, neck, cheeks, upper arms, breasts, abdomen, buttocks, hips, thighs, knees, calves, and ankle areas.
Liposuction improves body shape by removing exercise-resistant fat deposits with a tube and vacuum device.
It is often performed using the tumescent technique, in which targeted areas are infused with a saline solution to reduce post-operative bruising and swelling.
For fibrous body areas, ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty (UAL) may be used. UAL uses an ultrasound probe which is inserted beneath the skin to "liquefy" the fat before it is suctioned.
Liposuction is a recontouring procedure, not a weight loss procedure. Patients who are planning on losing weight should do so prior to any liposuction to insure good long-term results.
The procedure usually takes an hour or more, depending on the number of areas treated. It is an outpatient procedure.
You will experience some bruising, swelling, numbness, soreness, and burning sensations, as well as tumescent-temporary fluid drainage from incision sites.
You can return to work in one to three days, and add in more strenuous activity in two to four weeks. You should experience a full recovery from swelling and bruising in one to six months or more. Wearing a compression garment is recommended for four to six weeks.
The results of liposuction are permanent, when accompanied by a sensible diet and exercise.
Some of the risks involved with liposuction include:
There are also points to consider with the newer techniques. For example, in UAL, the heat from the ultrasound device used to liquefy the fat cells may cause injury to the skin or deeper tissues.
Also, you should be aware that even though UAL has been performed successfully on several thousand people worldwide, the long-term effects of ultrasound energy on the body are not yet known.
In the tumescent and super-wet techniques, the anesthetic fluid that is injected may cause lidocaine toxicity (if the solution's lidocaine content is too high), or the collection of fluid in the lungs (if too much fluid is administered).
The scars from liposuction are small and strategically placed to be hidden from view. However, imperfections in the final appearance are not uncommon after lipoplasty.
The skin surface may be irregular, asymmetric or even "baggy," especially in older patients with less elastic skin. Numbness and pigmentation changes may occur. Sometimes, additional surgery may be recommended.
Physicians offering this service include:
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