Abdominal liposuction is the removal of deposits of excess fat from the upper and lower abdominal areas by suction using specialized surgical equipment.
How is it done?
Treatment time will vary depending on the size of the area and the amount of fat being removed. Liposuction may be performed under a local anesthesia which numbs the affected areas, usually combined with intravenous sedation. For more extensive procedures, a general anesthesia may be used. During the procedure the surgeon will insert a narrow tube called a cannula through a tiny incision, usually in the navel, or just below the bikini line. The cannula is pushed and pulled through the fat layer breaking up the fat cells and suctioning them out. Surgeons may use a “dry” technique, a “tumescent” technique (that introduces large amounts of fluid to the area being worked on). After surgery, you will be required to wear a supportive corset or pressure bandages around the treated areas.
Why is it done?
Abdominal liposuction gives added contour and definition to the treated areas in the upper and lower abdomen. The procedure may also be part of an operation to treat lipomas, (benign, non-cancerous tumors of fat).
Risks & complications
Complications specific to liposuction are infrequent and usually minor. However, as with any surgery, there are risks, including the possibility of:
- Bleeding under the skin (hematoma) after the surgery
- Lumpy red scars
- Infection requiring antibiotics and in some cases hospitalization
- Irregularities in skin contour
- Permanent changes to the color of the skin, and some loss of normal feeling in those areas
- Pulmonary edema
- Allergic reaction in some patients to fluid used in tumescent liposuction
- Reaction to the anesthesia
There may be significant bruising and swelling after surgery which may take several months to settle completely. Risks can be reduced by following the surgeon's instructions before and after surgery. The FAQ question "What are the risks of plastic and cosmetic surgery?"
has additional details on risks and how to minimize them.
The surgeon may discuss alternative approaches to liposuction. However, the main alternative to liposuction is simply to leave the fat deposits as they are. Diet and exercise regimens may be of benefit in the overall reduction of excess body fat. Direct removal of excess skin may be needed in addition to liposuction treatment in some patients. [Abdominoplasty or Tummy Tuck]
The best candidates for abdominal liposuction are individuals of relatively normal weight who have excess fat in particular areas. Having firm, elastic skin will result in a better final result. The surgeon will make the final determination of each patient’s eligibility for the procedure after an examination and consultation with the patient. Patients with bleeding disorders or underlying severe medical problems may not be eligible for liposuction surgery.
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