Liposuction is a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure that uses a thin, hollow tube called a cannula to remove localized areas of body fat. The cannula is inserted through extremely small incisions, and then moved back and forth to loosen excess fat, which is suctioned out using a vacuum or a cannula-attached syringe. Treated areas look slimmer and more contoured, and in better overall proportion to the rest of the body. However, liposuction is not a method for losing weight, and is not effective in eliminating cellulite, or tightening loose and sagging skin.
The ideal candidate for liposuction is in good overall health, but has one or more areas of fat that do not respond to diet or exercise. Areas that are often treated with liposuction include the thighs, abdomen, arms, back, hips, buttocks, chest, face, calves and ankles. Liposuction can be performed alone, or in conjunction with other cosmetic procedures, such as thighplasty and abdominoplasty.
The Liposuction Procedure
One of the most common liposuction techniques is tumescent liposuction, which may get an assist from ultrasound or laser. It is performed on an outpatient basis.
During tumescent liposuction, a solution comprising saline solution, lidocaine (an anesthetic) and epinephrine (a blood-vessel contractor) is injected into the area being treated. The solution causes the targeted tissue swell and become firm, which makes it easier to remove via the cannula. The advantages to this technique are that the anesthetic is built in, so there is no need for general or IV sedation, and blood loss is minimized because the epinephrine constricts blood vessels.
In laser-assisted tumescent liposuction, a laser is used to liquefy the fat, which makes removing it easier. The laser can also be used to tighten treatment-area skin after fat is removed. Similarly, ultrasound-assisted liposuction uses ultrasound energy to liquefy fat.
Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)
Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) helps flatten the abdomen by removing excess fat and skin, and tightening muscles. The best candidates for abdominoplasty are in good physical condition, with pockets of fat or loose skin that have not responded well to diet and exercise. Abdominoplasty can also be appropriate for slightly obese people whose skin has lost some of its elasticity, and for women with skin and muscles stretched from pregnancy. Anyone planning on losing a significant amount of weight, and women planning on having (more) children, should wait before undergoing abdominoplasty.
The Tummy Tuck Procedure
Abdominoplasty takes approximately 2 to 5 hours to perform; the patient is placed under general anesthesia. Two incisions are made: one from hipbone to hipbone close to the pubic area, and another around the navel. Skin is separated from the abdominal muscles, which are then pulled together and stitched into place for a firmer abdomen and narrower waist. The skin flap is then stretched down over the newly tightened muscles, excess skin is removed, and the navel is reattached where it looks natural. The incisions are then closed, and sterile surgical dressings are applied over the sutured areas.
Abdominal Wall Reconstruction
Abdominal wall reconstruction is a surgical repair used to treat an abdominal hernia.
An abdominal hernia occurs when an abdominal organ protrudes through a weakened area in the abdominal wall and is diagnosed through physical examination. Abdominal hernias are usually a relatively simple matter to correct.
If left untreated, however, the protruding tissue may become obstructed and lose blood supply. This can result in a hernial incarceration and gangrene which may be life-threatening.
Abdominal Wall Reconstruction Procedure
The purpose of an abdominal wall reconstruction surgery is to return the protruding tissue to its original location and to strengthen the weakened area of the abdominal wall with either stitching or synthetic mesh. The goal of the procedure is to repair the damaged area so that the intestines or other organs cannot push through to create another hernia. Abdominal wall reconstruction can be performed as a traditional open surgery or laparoscopically. The laparoscopic technique offers patients the benefits of smaller incisions, shorter recovery time, less scarring, and less bleeding.
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