Liposuction continues to be one of the most desired cosmetic procedures in the world, as well as one of the most misunderstood. To many people, liposuction is a procedure that simply removes fat: patients go to a surgeon and ask for however much fat wherever to be sucked on out. While technically true, the whole story is far more complex, and elegant.
Liposuction does indeed suction fat out of the body, but the purpose of the procedure is to positively affect body contour. Only removing fat is not a good answer, considering that volume reduction doesn’t translate to contouring. Imagine if you had a pillow and took out the stuffing from one of the corners. If that was all that was done to the pillow, then that corner would be noticeably non-uniform. If, however, the stuffing around that area had been shuffled, smoothed, and moved to fill in the empty space, now the pillow will have it’s uniform contour, but slimmer.
Board certified plastic surgeons Dr. Ned Snyder IV of Austin and Dr. Charles Messa of Florida discuss how this explanation of liposuction is critical to understanding the incredibly individualized and successful results available in deft surgical hands.
Liposuction Should Always be Individualized
The crude understanding of liposuction would make it seem all fat is the same and you just take it from here and there where it’s bulging and that’s a wrap. Properly consulted and designed liposuction procedure is anything but crude; the procedure is tailored specifically to a patient’s body. A post-op body contour goal will first be discussed then actualized during surgery. Considering that patients vary from fat amount to bone structure to body type, the best results are going to come from a tailored procedure specific to that individual. Even more than that, patients’ desires can be very different, adding another layer of uniqueness.
“Liposuction should always be individualized to each patient,” shares Dr. Snyder. “Even in two very similar body types, we may not be able to do the same procedure because someone may not want the same thing as someone else.”
Contouring for Body Types with Liposuction
Another misconception about liposuction is that the same general areas area always targeted no matter the patient. While many areas are generally fat-heavy across most patients, depending on other factors like body type and desires, they may or may not be included in a liposuction procedure.
“It’s important to realize that not every person needs liposuction in specific areas,” explains Dr. Messa. “There are common areas that we treat, like the saddlebags, the hips, and the inner and outer thighs. Liposuction’s important principle is that it’s for localized fatty deposits. So someone that comes in with more of a pear shape, they may have excessive fat in their lateral thigh and hip, so that’s a focused, localized area we can treat and make their whole overall shape be a pear, but reduce it to where they’re more comfortable with their figure.”
This is one of the real beauties of liposuction: body contouring. Not only is fat removed, but what’s left is smoothed and contoured so that instead of lumpy, empty results, a patient has smooth curves and lines. “It’s really something for fine-tuning shapes,” adds Snyder.”
The Refinement of Small Areas
One of the more heavily believed misconceptions about liposuction is that the procedure is meant to remove lots of fat. In reality, liposuction removes a lot less than people think. Because of this fact, the best patients are often times those who have done all that they can to lose weight themselves. Small, exercise and/or diet resistance zones are then targeted for touch-up removal and, most importantly, contouring.
The small zones where it’s hardest to lose fat are the saddlebags, hips and inner and outer thighs for women. For men, a growing population of liposuction patients, the love handles and lower stomach tend to be areas of concern. For this group of patients, high-definition liposuction is increasingly attractive as an option to not only remove fat and contour, but etch remaining fat to better exist on top of muscles. The best example of this is in the abdominal region where surgeons use liposuction to better adhere the muscles underneath. “This is where men come into play: what we see more often is this high-def liposuction,” shares Messa. “High-def liposuction is when we try to recreate that sculpted six-pack.”
In an age where being fit and healthy is paramount, and a desire to look our best is a top priority, liposuction is an incredible tool used to perfect hard work. In the hands of board certified plastic surgeons, liposuction is one of the most individualized procedures around with significant results.