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What is a Suction Lipectomy?

D. Jeffress
D. Jeffress

Suction lipectomy, also called liposuction or lipo, is a very common cosmetic surgery procedure. It can be performed to remove excess fat from many different parts of the body, but the most common surgical sites are the arms, stomach area, and buttocks. Modern advancements in suction lipectomy techniques and medical monitoring devices allow the procedure to be performed quickly with very few risks. Most people who undergo the procedure are able to recover within a few days or weeks, though they may need to keep attending doctor's appointments or take medications to combat other health issues related to obesity or an underlying disease.

For most people, suction lipectomy is a purely elective surgery. It is usually performed to improve a person's appearance and perhaps his or her self-confidence as well. Rarely is suction lipectomy considered a necessity to treat a condition or prevent health complications. Doctors generally encourage people who are concerned about their weight to try to get into shape through healthy diets and regular exercise before thinking about surgery. If lifestyle choices fail to produce desired results, patients can discuss the details of liposuction with their physicians.


Several factors are taken into consideration to determine if a patient is a good candidate for the procedure. For example, a doctor generally performs a thorough physical examination to make sure a person's skin is elastic enough to tighten up sufficiently after fat is removed. Underlying conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, or cancer may make liposuction too risky. In general, adult patients who are only slightly overweight and otherwise in fair health are the best candidates for suction lipectomy.

There are many different suction lipectomy techniques, and a surgeon chooses the right one based on the amount, consistency, and location of the fat deposit to be removed. The most common procedure involves injecting a local anesthetic, blood clotting solution, and lubricant into an area of fat cells. The surgeon then makes a small skin incision and inserts a hollow straw called a cannula into the fatty tissue. A vacuum device is used to suck fat through the cannula as the surgeon moves it about. Ultrasonic waves may be administered during the procedure to help break apart and liquefy fatty tissue so it is easier to remove.

The entire procedure can usually be completed in less than one hour as long as complications do not arise. A patient usually needs to stay in the hospital or surgical center overnight so nurses can treat the surgical wound and make sure that he or she recovers from the anesthesia. After leaving the hospital, a person is generally instructed to rest for a few days before returning to physical activity. Follow-up visits with the surgeon or a primary care doctor are important to assess the effectiveness of the procedure and determine if additional medical or surgical care is needed.

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