Liposuction is one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries in the United States. It is an attractive option for people who would like improved body contour without need for much skin tightening. Small incisions are made around the area to be targeted, and a fluid that contains lidocaine and epinephrine, numbing and blood vessel tightening medications, are injected first. This increases comfort and decreases bleeding. Then small tubes called cannulas connected to a suction device are passed in the fatty deposits and aspirated out. Due to the fascination that many people have about this procedure, I sometimes hear some common misinformation about this subject.
Firstly, though the surgical scars are small, it is still considered an invasive surgery, likely any cosmetic surgical procedure. Because the areas targeted for liposuction can sometimes be quite extensive, common surgical techniques of cleanliness and sterility are very important. Though complications like infection and injury are rare, they are still risks that should be understood and respected.
Secondly, liposuction is most effective as a body contouring procedure to target areas of excess fat deposit. It is not effective as a weight loss procedure. Studies have shown that patients are most satisfied with the liposuction procedure when they have reached a stable weight and have not increased their weight after surgery. Your weight is controlled by your daily activities, caloric intake, and hormonal signals. Even after fat is removed with liposuction, your weight is still controlled by the same three basic elements and will reset itself to that equilibrium.
For the right patient, it can be an effective way to address specific areas of concern. It is still important to find a qualified doctor to perform the procedure and to have realistic expectations.