Liposuction

Learn about liposuction cosmetic surgery options

Liposuction is literally the suction of fat (in Greek, lipos) from the body. Originated in the 1970s, it has grown in popularity as Western society has become more and more focused on thinness as an ideal of beauty. Throughout the '80s, '90s and 2000s, the procedure was refined to include ultrasounds, lasers and other modern technology.

There are limits to how much fat can be removed from any given area at one time, and the specific procedure used is generally the result of consultation between the patient and the surgeon. As with any surgery, the overall health of the patient plays an important role. The fitter the patient is, the lower the chances of complications and the quicker and easier the recovery will be. Smoking is particularly dangerous, as it leaves the patient open to heart- and lung-related complications during and after surgery.

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Types of Liposuction

Traditional liposuction uses a tube called a cannula and a suction device called an aspirator to remove fat from the body. Common areas targeted include the upper arms, thighs, butt, abdomen, love handles, male breasts, neck and chin.

Variations of the liposuction procedure include:

Liposuction Alternatives

In the mid-to-late 2000s, a number of alternatives to liposuction began to appear on the market, mainly in the form of "fat-melting" injections called lipo shots. These injections contain ingredients thought to increase metabolism and burn fat, thereby aiding in weight loss.

Two popular lipo shots include Lipodissolve and the Lipovite injection. Neither is yet approved by the FDA. In fact, no injection method for fat elimination is FDA-approved. However, many of the surgical options, including the types of liposuction listed above, are.

Liposuction Prices

Liposuction is an elective cosmetic procedure, so it's rarely covered by a health insurance plan. Prices vary according to the surgeon, the procedure and the area of the body being treated, but expect to pay in the thousands of dollars per treatment. People considering liposuction must also account for other costs, such as time off from work and any medication or supplies needed pre- or post-surgery.

Over the last decade or so, an industry has developed around so-called "cosmetic tourism." Lured by the promise of low-cost procedures and virtual anonymity, patients seeking cosmetic procedures have traveled to South America, Eastern Europe and elsewhere. Though the idea of cheap liposuction may be appealing, it is important to remember that, cosmetic or not, surgery is a medical procedure that requires a great deal of skill, as well as proper equipment and surroundings. Opting for a discount procedure may leave you open to infection, bodily harm and even death. Better to pay more money for an approved surgery than to risk paying a much higher price just to save a few bucks.

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