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Removal of excess body fat through small incisions by suction (liposuction) with surgical suction equipment.

Liposuction is used to improve one's appearance by smoothing the lines of the body (body contouring) by removing stubborn pockets of fat. Liposuction can be useful in contouring the chin, neck, cheeks, upper arms, breasts, abdomen, buttocks, hips, thighs, knees, calves, and ankles. Liposuction is not used to treat obesity, reduce breast size, or remove fatty tumors (lipomas). Liposuction will not remove dimpled skin (cellulite). The plastic surgeon may suggest alternative body-contouring methods such as abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) or a combination of procedures that would be more appropriate.

A special liposuction machine and instruments are used. While the patient is pain-free (local anesthesia or general anesthesia), small suction instruments are inserted through the skin into the fat pockets. The suction instruments are moved around to break up the fat and suction it out. Several punctures may be necessary to treat large areas. Small tubes may be placed to help drain out fluids and blood during the first few days. Liposuction may not require hospitalization, depending on the location and amount of surgery.

A lot of fluid is lost with the fat. Patients will receive fluid replacement (IV fluids) and blood transfusions may be necessary.

Liposuction may be suggested for patients who are:

         in good physical health

         normal weight

         psychologically healthy

         bothered by pockets of fat that remain despite diet and exercise programs.


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