Everyone knows something about liposuction, often sprinkled with misinformation. Liposuction, or suction assisted lipectomy (SAL) is performed under sedation and local, usually incorporated into the sterile saline solution injected to facilitate the removal of fat. Small, ¼ inch incisions, are made in relatively hidden areas close to the deposits of fat that are to be removed.

The procedure works by removing excess, enlarged fat cells, which make an area protuberant, or out of sync with the rest of the body. Examples are excess belly fat, love handles, saddle-bags of the thighs, fatty knees, or ankles.

In theory removal of fat cells from the area precludes return of the fat. Patients often ask if the fat then accumulates in other places. The answer is one will gain weight wherever the fat cells are. If fat cells are evenly distributed then one will gain weight throughout the body. The goal is not to gain weight, but liposuction in one area will not cause accumulation in other areas…gaining weight will.

After liposuction compressive garments are worn for variable periods of time, usually less than a week. Results of liposuction are not full visible for several weeks due to swelling. As with all surgery there are associated complications possible. These must be discussed prior to surgery. Liposuction is performed several hundred thousand times yearly, and has proven safe and reliable.