Summary: Liposuction is one of the perennial cosmetic surgery procedures. People always talk about it. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t changed over the years—it’s become more effective, more efficient, and more precise. And yet, some stereotypes remain. Liposuction is not designed for massive weight loss, but is rather best suited for eliminating stubborn pockets of fat, sometimes with the help of a new procedure called liposculpting.
Finding a Target
One of the major myths about liposuction is that its main purpose is to eliminate large quantities of stomach fat. In fact, liposuction is not commonly used to reduce the overall weight of obese or overweight individuals (patients looking to lose a large amount of weight are generally steered towards something like gastric bypass surgery). The main purpose of liposuction is to selectively eliminate pockets of unwanted fat that diet and exercise simply cannot target on their own.
And those targets aren’t limited to areas around the stomach. There are many places on the body—some of them unconventional—that are prime targets for liposuction procedures. For example, some people target their ankles. Some patients find it unpleasant when their calves and ankles lack definition, a feature sometimes less-than-affectionately called “cankles.” Other patients may use liposuction to trim down their jaw line and bring a bit of definition back into their faces.
Liposculpting and Beyond
This unconventional targeting is made possible by modern, much less invasive, liposuction techniques. Scarring is kept to a minimum, and often the fat left behind can be sculpted to more perfectly blend with the rest of your body. Many modern—some might say trendy—liposuction procedures use lasers not only to melt the unwanted body fat away, but also to sculpt curves and add definition where applicable. Dr. Charles Polsen, a Houston plastic surgeon, uses this procedure, called liposculpting, and reports that it can drastically reduce recovery time. In fact, most of his Houston area liposculpting patients walk away incredibly pleased with their results.
It’s also worth pointing out that liposuction is more and more becoming a complementary procedure. That is, often liposuction will be paired with another procedure (such as a breast augmentation) and in some cases will be a central component to that procedure. For example, when performing a fat graft or fat injection—when fat is moved from one area of the body to another—liposuction techniques and procedures are often used to collect the body fat in the first place.
And this brings us to our last thought about how misunderstood liposuction is. Many people view it as, essentially, an easy way to lose weight. The fact of the matter is that when liposuction is employed in a massive weight removal procedure, results are often fleeting. Rather, liposuction is best used when chipping away at stubborn pockets of fat. Many liposuction patients have even recently lost a substantial amount of weight themselves. So if you think liposuction is right for you, don’t let the myths stand in your way—contact a plastic surgeon today.