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Liposuction, also known as lipoplasty (“fat molding”) or
suction lipectomy (suction-assisted fat removal), is a cosmetic surgery
operation which removes fat from several different sites on the human
body. Areas affected can range from the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, neck,
arms, and elsewhere. Fat is usually removed via a cannula and aspirator.
A cannula is a flexible tube which, when inserted into the body, is
used either to withdraw fluid or insert medication. IV cannulae are the
most common used in hospital settings.
An aspirator, also known as an ejector, is a device that produces vacuum
by means of the Venturi effect.
While dieting and exercising may be helpful for losing unwanted weight
and fat, some fat deposits might not respond to weight loss efforts. Liposuction
techniques may be an option in such circumstances. Liposuction should
not be used as a low-effort alternative to diet and exercise. It is only
meant to be used as a form of body contouring, not a quick-fix weight
loss method. The amount of fat removed during the procedure varies by
doctor, method, and patient, but the average amount is approximately 10
pounds per patient.
Several factors limit the amount of fat that can be removed safely during
a single session. Ultimately, the surgeon and patient make the final decision.
There are negative aspects associated with removing too much fat from
one’s body. Unusual lumpiness and/or dents are sometimes observed
in patients who are “over-suctioned.”
Reports of individuals removing 50 pounds of fat are exaggerated. However,
the contouring that is possible through liposuction may cause the appearance
of weight loss that exceeds that actual amount of fat that was removed.
The liposuction procedure can be performed under general anesthesia or
none at all. The safety of the technique relates to the amount to tissue
removed, the choice of anesthetic, and the overall health of the patient.