What are liposuction and liposculpture?
Liposuction is a procedure that slims, firms and smooths areas of the body by removing localized deposits of excess fat that don’t respond to diet and exercise. It’s one of the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures in the United States.
Liposculpture, a term that some doctors use interchangeably with “liposuction,” treats multiple areas to create a harmonious overall body contour — an approach that can be useful for overweight patients, although the goal with both liposuction and liposculpture is to reshape, not to lose weight.
How liposuction and liposculpture work
Liposuction and liposculpture can be performed awake using local anesthesia; during sedation or “twilight anesthesia”; or while asleep under general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the approach that’s best for you based on the amount of fat being removed and whether you’re having any other procedures at the same time.
Liposuction and liposculpture begin with small incisions in the areas where fat will be removed. A local anesthetic is infused through the incisions to help control bleeding and bruising. Then, your doctor inserts a cannula (a thin, hollow tube) into the incisions, moving it back and forth to loosen and dislodge fatty tissue. The fat is suctioned out of your body with a syringe or a surgical vacuum that attaches to the cannula.
Afterward, your doctor might place drains to remove excess fluid, and you may need to wear compression garments for a few weeks to reduce swelling and encourage your skin to contract over your new body contours.
Which areas of the body are best for liposuction and liposculpture?
Liposuction and liposculpture can be effective on the following areas:
- Calves and ankles
- Cheeks, chin and neck
- Chest and back
- Hips and buttocks
- Inner knee
- Upper arms
- Waist (“love handles”)
How soon will you see results with liposuction and liposculpture?
You’ll begin to see the results of your procedure after the initial swelling goes down, which may take a few weeks. Recovery from these procedures usually takes days to weeks depending on how much liposuction is performed — but as with every surgery, recovery is highly individual. During your consultation, your doctor will talk with you about what to expect.