What Liposuction Can and Can’t Do

There are many different plastic surgery techniques that can help shape and contour the body, and one of the best known is liposuction.  According to statistics compiled every year by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more than 235,000 men and women underwent liposuction in 2016, making it second only to breast augmentation among the most commonly performed procedures.  However, despite its long term popularity, many people still don’t fully understand all of the various things that liposuction can, and can’t, do.  Taking a closer look at the limitations and possibilities of liposuction is a great way to determine whether the procedure is right for you.

What Liposuction Can and Can’t Do

Understanding Liposuction Limitations

Most people know that liposuction uses a very narrow tube, called a cannula, to suction out small amounts of subcutaneous fat from specific areas of the body, like the hips, thighs, or abdomen.  However, many people do not realize that the changes that occur in the body as a result of weight fluctuations or pregnancy can stretch the skin and muscle tissues as well.  This means that even after the fat has been removed sagging folds of skin or a distinctive “tummy pooch” can often be left behind.  This is one of the reasons why liposuction is not generally recommended as a way to simply “get in shape” and is usually most effective when it is used on patients who are already at or near their ideal weight.  In many cases, liposuction is used to supplement other body contouring plastic surgery procedures, like a tummy tuck or thigh lift, that specifically lift or tighten skin and muscle tissue.  Ultimately, liposuction works best when it is used to help treat small pockets of fat that have proven to be resistant to the effects of diet and exercise.

Exploring Liposuction Possibilities

One of the most exciting aspects of liposuction involves not what it can remove, but what it can give back.  Fat transfer is an increasingly popular plastic surgery technique that takes the fat that has been removed via liposuction, purifies it, and then reinjects it into areas of the body that may require some additional volume.  This is commonly done in the face, to help restore a more youthful fullness to features that may have become gaunt and sunken when the natural fat deposits deteriorate and the skin begins to sag with age.  This technique is also frequently used to give the buttocks a more rounded and shapely appearance in a procedure called a Brazilian Butt Lift, or as a supplement to a breast augmentation procedure to achieve more natural looking results.  In either case, because the patient’s own fat is used rather than an artificial substance, the results of fat transfer are usually longer lasting and more natural looking than those achieved with injectable fillers or implants.

One of the most fascinating things about plastic surgery is how established and proven procedures can often be adapted to achieve new and unexpected results.  If you are interested in learning more about the things that plastic surgery might be able to do for you, please feel free to contact Atlanta Plastic Surgery, P.C. at one of our Atlanta, Alpharetta, Canton or Cumming offices to schedule a consultation, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest plastic surgery news.