One of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures, liposuction sculpts the body by removing undesirable fat from areas such as the abdomen, waist, hips, buttocks, thighs, knees, chin, cheeks, neck and upper arms that have not responded to diet and exercise. Local anesthesia or general anesthesia may be used and the procedure can last anywhere from one to five hours depending on the amount of fat being removed.
There are several different methods surgeons use when performing liposuction, including tumescent liposuction, the super-wet technique, and ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL). In all types a tiny incision is made in as inconspicuous a place as possible; a cannula (small tube) then breaks up the fat layer and suctions it out.
Abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure that helps to flatten and shape the abdomen and waist by removing excess fat and skin and tightening muscles. The best candidates are in good physical condition with pockets of fat or loose skin that haven’t responded well to diet and exercise.
Abdominoplasty can also be useful for women with stretched skin and muscles from pregnancy, although results from the procedure will diminish if they continue to bear children. The procedure takes approximately two to five hours and can be performed with general anesthesia or local anesthesia with a sedative. Recovery time ranges from two weeks to a few months. With a balanced diet and regular exercise, results are long-lasting. Abdominoplasty will likely leave a permanent scar stretching between the hips, although it should be low enough for even a bikini to conceal it.
After substantial weight loss, weight gain or simply from the effects of aging, skin on the upper arms can become inelastic, loose and flabby. Arm lifts, also known as brachioplasty, remove that excess skin and fat. Patients who have significant amounts of fat may want to consider combining the procedure with liposuction.
Also called circumferential torsoplasty, panniculectomy and lipectomy, the body lift is performed to remove excess skin and sometimes also fat from the torso and upper legs. It is a complicated procedure that can take three to seven hours under general anesthesia and involves a difficult recovery period of four to six weeks.
Candidates for body lifts typically either cannot lose significant amounts of weight, or already suffer from loose (inelastic) skin on many or most areas of the body as a result of age, childbearing or extreme weight loss due to diet, exercise or bariatric surgery. Because of this, the procedure is often combined with others such as breast lifts, facelifts and arm lifts to retain a proper body proportion. Body lifts can tighten and tone the abdomen, back, buttocks, hips and thighs.
During the procedure, skin is lifted from underlying tissue, muscles are tightened and stitched and fat is removed where necessary, and the skin is sutured closed. The navel is often removed and replaced in its new position. Surgical tubes may be needed for a few days to drain any fluid, and patients may need to wear compression garments for a few weeks to facilitate faster healing.
After surgery, patients are encouraged to walk as soon as they are able, although strenuous activities must be limited for about a month. Results are visible immediately.