I've tried losing weight from my stomach area with diet, exercise, pills and even special teas. I am healthy and I manage to maintain healthy body weight but the bulge in front and on the sides of my stomach will not go away. I've heard that liposuction can help. What kinds of liposuction are available and is it right for me?
Liposuction is a very popular procedure. Its safety has improved tremendously in recent years as safer liposuction methods have become available.
Liposuction is designed to remove unwanted localized deposits of fat cells that are unresponsive to exercise or good diet. It is not designed for weight loss but rather for body shaping and contouring. It is performed under local anaesthesia allowing uniform treatment. Because patients can stand up and move during the procedure, uniform and symmetrical contouring can be achieved. Since you are healthy, active and have stable weight, but stubborn deposits of fat, you may be a good candidate for liposuction.
There are several types of liposuction available:
- Pure Tumescent Liposuction – During this procedure, gentle local anaesthesia (numbing) is used to facilitate fat removal with minimal bleeding. Depending on the number of areas treated, the procedure lasts between 2-3 hours. Patients, of course, have to be in the procedure room longer as preparation, before the procedure, as well as recovery, after the procedure, is needed. This is a very popular form of liposuction.
- Ultrasound Assisted Liposuction – In this form of liposuction, tumescent anaesthesia is also used but there is an addition of internal or external ultrasound technology. This technique was used more in the past. Currently, it is used less often as there are increased side effects (especially with internal ultrasound treatment) compared to pure tumescent liposuction.
- Power Assisted Liposuction – This liposuction technique is similar to pure tumescent liposuction but the surgeon uses a powered instrument to extract fat cells. This technique is used to facilitate fat removal from tough areas such as the male chest or previously treated areas.
- Laser Assisted Liposuction – This technique involves tumescent liposuction with addition of internal or external laser. The laser is used to heat the fat cells and the skin from below. This is designed to facilitate fat removal. The benefits of laser assisted liposuction over conventional tumescent liposuction are mild and there can be more side effects due to uneven skin heating.
- Water Assisted Liposuction – This form of liposuction incorporates large amounts of water to loosen and remove fat cells. The key challenge with this form of liposuction is that there is less skin contraction after the fat is removed compared to other methods.
- BodyTite Liposuction – This is the latest form of liposuction where radiofrequency energy is used to uniformly heat the fat cells and the skin. This uniform skin heating allows maximum skin tightening compared to other liposuction methods.
It is important to have a full individual assessment to determine which liposuction method would be best for you. Therefore, a proper liposuction consultation is required. The good news is that liposuction safety has greatly improved, making it possible to offer this treatment to more and more patients needing body contouring. The first step, as in any cosmetic procedure, is to have a consultation with the doctor. Good luck!