The most popular cosmetic surgery procedure in the U.S. today, liposuction sculpts the body by removing undesirable fat from areas of the body such as the abdomen, waist, hips, buttocks, thighs, knees, chin, cheeks, neck and upper arms that have not responded to diet and exercise. Local anesthesia or general anesthesia may be used and can last anywhere from one to five hours depending on the amount of fat being removed.
There are several different methods surgeons use when performing liposuction, including tumescent liposuction, the super-wet technique, and ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL). In all types a tiny incision is made in as inconspicuous a place as possible. A cannula (small tube) is inserted and moved back-and-forth beneath the skin, breaking up the fat layer and suctioning it out. Tumescent liposuction and super-wet liposuction use fluid injection, which facilitates fat removal, reduces blood loss, provides anesthesia during and after surgery, and helps to reduce the amount of bruising after surgery. UAL liquefies fat with ultrasonic energy and is highly precise.
The best candidates are in good physical condition with pockets of fat or loose skin that haven’t responded well to diet and exercise. Older, slightly obese people whose skin has lost some of its elasticity can be helped. Abdominoplasty can also be useful for women with stretched skin and muscles from pregnancy, although results from the procedure will diminish if they continue to bear children. For this reason, women who plan to have children again are advised to delay abdominoplasty. Patients who intend to lose a lot of weight are also encouraged to wait before undergoing the procedure, since skin in that area typically loosens after substantial weight loss.
The procedure takes approximately two to three hours and can be performed with general anesthesia or local anesthesia with a sedative. Recovery time ranges from two weeks to a few months, but with a balanced diet and regular exercise results are long-lasting.
A thigh lift is performed to remove excess skin and fat from the upper legs. Candidates typically suffer from loose, inelastic skin after extreme weight loss due to diet, exercise or bariatric surgery. Because of this, the procedure is often combined with others such as breast lifts, facelifts and arm lifts to retain an attractive body proportion.
In a medial thigh lift (inner thigh lift), the surgical incision is made in the inner thigh along the line where the leg meets the groin. In a lateral thigh lift (outer thigh lift), the incision is made from the groin around the back of the body, so that the buttocks are lifted along with the thigh.
The thigh lift procedure is ideal for patients who are in good general health but have excess skin and tissue within the thigh area as a result of the natural aging process, pregnancy or significant weight loss. A thigh lift should not be considered an easy weight loss solution, and are most effective on patients who are close to their ideal weight but unhappy with the appearance of their thighs. It is important for patients to maintain realistic expectations in order to be satisfied with the results of their thigh lift procedure.