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What is Cosmetic Liposuction?

Helena Reimer
Helena Reimer

Cosmetic liposuction is a type of surgery that helps remove unwanted fat cells in specific areas of the body, such as the abdomen, thighs, arms, legs, neck and facial areas. The procedure not only removes unwanted fat, the surgeon also can reshape the contours of the body for a slimmer and more youthful look. There are different types of liposuction, such as laser-assisted liposuction (LAL), ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL) and tumescent liposuction. Each type of procedure varies slightly, but generally a saline solution and a cannula are used to break up the fat, which is then removed with a suction device. Cosmetic liposuction might be combined with other cosmetic procedures, such as a face lift or a tummy tuck.

Under normal conditions, cosmetic liposuction can be done in one to three hours, allowing the patient to go home the same day. The results, however, might not be visible for as long as six months. Cosmetic liposuction is recommended for fairly healthy individuals who are over the age of 18, are close to an ideal weight and have excess fat cells in certain areas of the body. The most common areas where this type of cosmetic surgery is used are the abdomen, buttocks and thighs.

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Wet liposuction is a type of cosmetic liposuction in which a saline solution is injected into the area where the fat is to be removed. The fluid acts as a natural anesthetic and helps to reduce bleeding by constricting the blood vessels. It also is helpful in loosening and breaking up the fat cells, which in turn helps reduce bruising to the surrounding tissues. Different types of wet liposuction require different amounts of fluids. A wet liposuction requires less fluid than the amount of fat that is to be removed, a super-wet liposuction requires the same amount of fluid, and tumescent liposuction requires more fluid than the amount of fat that is to be removed.

Fluid is also used during a UAL, along with a cannula that sends ultrasonic vibrations into the fat cells to help liquefy the fat. Cosmetic laser liposuction uses advanced technology, including a laser that melts down the unwanted fat cells. The laser is inserted into a small cannula, which helps to reduce scarring, and the heat from the laser naturally tightens the surrounding skin. This procedure is suitable for smaller areas, such as the face.

One should consider the side effects and risks before getting liposuction. The side effects generally include bruising, swelling, pain and numbness. Possible risks include excessive bleeding, infection, nerve damage and damaged skin, such as dead skin or brown spots on the skin. People who have diabetes, have heart or lung disease or are obese face a greater risk than those who are in good health.

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