Liposuction is a widely known procedure. It’s also one of the most misunderstood. Case in point: lipo is not a weight loss procedure. And since most think it is, we decided to talk to a plastic surgeon to help clear the air about this popular, surgical treatment.
What Is Liposuction?
Liposuction is best defined as a surgical procedure used to remove areas of stubborn fat that has traditionally been resistant to diet and exercise. Thin tubes called cannulas are inserted into the body, dislodging fat cells and suctioning them out.
Lipo can be performed on various body parts, including your stomach, love handles, thighs, arms, back and under the chin. Liposuction is also remembered as the only surgical fat reduction procedure. There are different types of lipo (more on that later), but they all fall under the umbrella of liposuction.
Fat Reduction vs. Weight Loss
The term “fat reduction” may sound like weight loss, but there is a big difference. Fat reduction, including lipo, is used to help contour the body and remove pockets of fat.
Weight loss is more about losing weight all around and can be done through bariatric surgery or with diet and exercise.
A lot of people who undergo lipo, eat healthy and exercise regularly. If you have a lot of weight to lose, lipo likely isn’t for you. Also, you may not see that weight removal reflected on the bathroom scale. There are a number of reasons why your actual weight won’t vary after lipo. “Think of it more as a change in the shape of your body, rather than the weight of your body,” explains Dr Chia Hui Ling, female plastic surgeon and body contouring specialist.
Different Types Of Lipo
The plastic surgeon will inject an anaesthetic “tumescent” solution into the treatment area to minimize bleeding and discomfort during the procedure.
This technique uses a vacuum device to help remove the fat. Power-Assisted Liposuction is a similar technique that involves a tool that oscillates and enhances the motion of the cannula used to remove the fat. This makes fat removal more efficient. Plastic surgeons are also combining ultrasound and laser energy to aid in these more advanced forms of liposuction.
Also known as Vaser Liposelection, this technique utilizes ultrasound energy to help break up the fatty tissue and loosen it from the body, allowing for easier removal of larger amounts of fat with a faster and less traumatic surgery. The same ultrasonic energy helps with skin tightening and hi-def liposuction.
Known under brand names like SmartLipo and Slimlipo, these techniques use laser energy to help dislodge fat cells. The laser has a mild skin tightening effect too.
Regardless of which procedure you choose, it is important to have a conversation with your doctor about what you’d like to achieve, and where you may have found your information.