Body liposuction, often just called lipo, is the removal of pockets of fat in different parts of the body, including the abdomen, breasts, thighs, and buttocks. It is primarily performed to sculpt the body in response to unwanted accumulation of fat that has not diminished with exercise. Typically, liposuction is not considered a weight loss method, but rather falls into the category of cosmetic surgery.
Liposuction is performed by using a hollow tube, known as a cannula, with some type of suction device. A cut is made into the area where fat will be suctioned out, and the cannula is inserted. Often, a type of liposuction known as wet liposuction is performed. Wet liposuction typically includes various forms of saline solution, anesthesia, and adrenaline to help the body adjust to the fat reduction and to avoid pain and infection.
There are multiple types of mechanisms used in the process of body liposuction, often including technologies such as ultrasound, lasers, and extra power devices. These function to either help loosen the fat or otherwise break it down. Water-assisted liposuction, for instance, uses a stream of water to help break down the fat.
The main areas that are candidates for body liposuction are areas that typically easily form pockets of fat in some people. In men, this can mean the waist area, the buttocks, and in some cases the breasts, where sometimes there is abnormal growth of tissue. For women, it is often performed in the breasts, buttocks, thighs, and abdomen. Although these are the common areas for body liposuction, other areas such as the flank and the arms can also be candidates for body lipo. Facial liposuction is a slightly more delicate procedure than body liposuction, which requires more specialized procedures.
Liposuction is usually done by a cosmetic surgeon. It is an out-patient procedure, meaning the patient can leave the surgical area or hospital the same day. In most cases, body liposuction will not be covered by insurance as it is considered a cosmetic procedure.
The body liposuction procedure is not for everyone. Ideally, it should be done on someone who is in good health, has elastic and healthy skin, and who is not excessively overweight. It is considered primarily as a last resort in a weight loss program to remove fat deposits that linger. Like any surgery it has risks, and a thorough evaluation will be done to determine eligibility.