When she came to the United States from France a few years ago, Elise started making enough money to afford plastic surgery. "I cared about my looks," she says, so I said to myself, "Why not?" Her first procedure: liposuction in 1997.
Also known as lipoplasty or suction lipectomy, liposuction removes fat deposits from specific areas of the body. In women, the hips, thighs, abdomen, legs, and buttocks are among the most common target areas.
Men — who, like Americans in general, undergo liposuction more than any other plastic surgery — are most often looking to dissolve their love handles. Liposuction can also remove fat from the abdomen, knees, upper arms, chin, cheeks and neck.
New Liposuction Techniques
In liposuction, the plastic surgeon inserts a narrow tube through the skin via a tiny incision and pushes and pulls the tube through the fat layer deep beneath the skin to break up the cells. An attached vacuum unit sucks out the fat.
New liposuction techniques offer variations on the standard vacuum technique that are sometimes used to aid contouring:
- Ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty, or UAL: The tube inserted through the skin produces ultrasonic energy, which liquefies the fat by exploding the fat cells' walls. The fat is then removed by traditional liposuction.
- Tumescent and Superwet techniques: a medicated mixture of salt solution, a local anesthetic, and adrenaline to contract the blood vessels is injected into the fatty area before the fat is removed.
Sucking Out 10 Pounds of Fat
The amount of fat taken out from the body is dictated by the patient's body type and the look they're striving for. Fitness club manager Dickstein knows body builders who opted for liposuction "to get rid of that last one-quarter inch of fat they couldn't diet down from."