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How Liposuction Works

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Just How Does Lipo Work... Exactly?

Author: Letty's Staff Writer

How liposuction works - is a question we get a lot at Letty's Liposuction Directory.

People want to know just what they are dealing with and what to expect.

Can't really say that I blame them.

So, I thought we would take a few moments to delve into the exact workings of liposuction surgery.

In this article - I'll explain liposuction surgery and just what happens from start to finish. But everything begins at the beginning.

So let's first talk about...

What is liposuction?

Liposuction is the surgical removal of superficial fat tissue just below the surface of the skin – using a suctioning device.

Superficial fat illustration...

Okay. That being said - your next question to me will obvious be...

What does the doctor do to me during the procedure?

This is where we get into how liposuction works.

First, liposuction is often performed as an outpatient procedure, under local anesthesia.

Local anesthesia is when the surgical area is numbed but you remain conscious during the procedure.

Once you are properly anesthetized, a series of tiny incisions (3 to 6 mm) are made in the skin and the area flooded with a solution usually containing epinephrine (which reduces the amount of blood-loss).

This makes the patients tissue swollen and firm with the solution.

Then the physician will use a surgical device called a cannula – which is a long hollow wand-like device – attached to a suctioning tube and collection unit to suction out both the solution and fat. The surgeon will push the cannula through the layers of fat and the injected solution in a back-and-forth pattern creating tunnels, removing the unwanted fat, and re-contouring the area.

What are the instruments used during the procedure?

The main instrument that defines the liposuction technique is the cannula. This is hollow, wand-like device that is attached to tubing and a suctioning-collection unit that can move superficially under the skin and "suck-out" the disrupted fat cells and anesthetizing solution.

How long does the procedure last?

The length of time required to complete the procedure is dependent of the size of the area or areas to be liposuctioned. The procedure can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours or longer depending of what it is that is being done during the operation. Also the type of anesthesia used will help determine how long the procedure will take.

The more heavily sedated the patient is – the more time it will take to transition safely in and out of sedation.

How long does it take to recover from the procedure?

Within 24 hours after surgery you will most likely be able to walk around.

About 5 to 7 days after surgery you should be able to return to desk work. More strenuous activities will probably be discouraged by your physician for up to 2 weeks – of course this is dependent on the location and extent of the liposuction surgery that you received.

Thinking you should run a marathon the day after surgery?... Well, that's just not how liposuction works...

In some individuals it can take from 3 to 6 months for the swelling to completely resolve and the final liposuction result to be viewable. That again is dependent on the individual and how fast they heal and how compliant they were with after-care instructions.

What is the take-home here?

I hope we have answered your question about - how liposuction works.

To Recap: Liposuction is a relatively straight-forward surgical procedure for the removal of unwanted superficial fat.

However, you do well to remember that it is still a surgical procedure with possible risks. So, liposuction should not be treated lightly – but should be considered carefully. Do your homework thoroughly if you are convinced that this is the procedure for you.

You have to Watch This:

Cleveland's Dr. Leedy clears up common misconceptions about liposuction...

How Liposuction Works References:

  • "Liposuction." Louann W. Murray, Ph.D. and Tish Davidson, A.M. The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Ed. Jacquelline L. Longe. 3rd ed. Detroit: Gale, Online update, 2008. 5 vols.

  • Greeley, Alexandra. "Planning to Look Flab-u-less?." FDA Consumer 34.6 (Nov 2006): 31. Expanded Academic ASAP. Gale.

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What does Dr. Phil recommend?...

Welcome Everyone...

Letty's Liposuction Directory

Hello. Welcome to Letty's Liposuction Directory...

By the way, I am Letty - your personal guide to everything you ever wanted to know about liposuction.

I may not be a medical expert, but I too considered having liposuction. AND I absolutely promise to give you the "Real Deal" - all the information just as I've discovered it. The good.. the bad.. and the ugly.

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If you are searching for a reliable lipo surgeon close to home - then check out these board-certified doctors in your city:

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