Body Contouring and Liposuction Options
Diet and exercise are the best methods for improving the appearance of ones body. Despite eating well and a regular exercise program, there are those unwanted bulges that never seem to go away. Those bulges are localized accumulations of fat that are under the control of your genetic program and are commonly known as “Genetic Fat”. These bulges usually begin to show up in the early thirties, but can start earlier if one has a strong genetic predisposition or a hormonal predisposition (i.e. pregnancy). In women, genetic fat tends to involve the lower abdomen, hips, inner and outer thighs, whereas in men, the accumulation is in the love handles, the abdomen, and the submental area (beneath the chin). These areas of genetic fat have such a strong inclination to store fat that if you were to loose a fair amount of weight, those trouble areas would still remain. Women will generally lose weight in their neck, shoulders, and breasts well before any reduction in the outer thighs and hips.
Currently, the only way to remove areas of genetic fat is by Liposuction. Liposuction got its start in the early 1970’s. Several major refinements have been made in the technique to provide better and more predictable results. The use of smaller tubes called canulae allows smoother results. The Tumescent technique involves infusing the area to be treated with a large volume of a dilute local anesthetic containing epinephrine. This technique has dramatically reduced the amount of postoperative bruising and discomfort, while allowing large volumes of fat to be removed. The most recent advance is Power-assisted liposuction in which the canula vibrates and performs a more efficient removal of fat. Ultrasonic Liposuction which was introduced into this country one decade ago. The ultrasound probe is tuned to a frequency that literally vaporizes fat. This can be used to smooth certain areas with fibrous tissue. Over the years, I have found this technology to be over-rated. Smart Lipo is a new category of liposuction using laser-assisted liposuction. The claimed benefits are a smaller incision and less tissue trauma. Even with these technical refinements, the quality of the result depends more on the quality of the skin than the amount of fat to be removed. Excellent skin is a result of good genetics and a healthy lifestyle including diet and exercise and avoidance of smoking and excess sun exposure.
Depending on the number of areas to be treated, liposuction can be performed under local anesthesia with mild sedation or general anesthesia. It usually takes from one to four hours, depending on the number and size of areas treated, to perform and the recovery is generally mild. Most patients have moderate discomfort for two days and can generally return to work within three days.
If you are dreading shopping this spring and coming face to face with a swimsuit, this may be the perfect time to look into liposuction. Say goodbye to your old genes and slip into a pair of new jeans!
Originally published in Ranch and Cove, March 2007