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Liposuction (cont.)

Areas with Potential Liposuction Challenges

Technically, any part of the body is able to be suctioned, but there are varying degrees of improvement depending upon the area treated. The best way to tell if a particular area will be successful is the ability to see a difference of shape in the area to be liposuctioned. If the area is not dramatically different than the surrounding areas, liposuction will probably not be as effective as diet and exercise. Additionally, certain areas are less responsive to liposuction and/or more likely to have complications. This is not to say that there can't be excellent results, but the possibility of less-than-outstanding results is magnified in these areas:

  • The arms (skin can hang after the procedure)
  • Calves (may have significant swelling after the procedure, higher risk of blood clots)
  • Inner thighs (may be uneven and asymmetric after the procedure)
  • Chin (may have a slight nerve problem in the lip area after the procedure which lasts up to two to three months). Additionally, fluid and fat can remain in cases in which the chin was very fatty before the procedure, resulting in a need for re-doing the procedure.
  • Female and male breasts (These can pose the problem of minimal improvement. Given the male breast fat makeup, there may be minimal fat obtained during the procedure. The female breast can be liposuctioned, but the candidate needs to be aware of the possibility that reduction of only one breast size may occur. Typically, liposuction can be done but is limited to mildly affected breasts rather than severe cases.)

Controversies in Liposuction

Every method has its pros and cons, and many types of surgeons perform liposuction. The most important qualification to check is actual photographic results or via speaking with previous patients. This will inform you if the surgeon does a good job consistently, stands by his or her results, cares for the patient well (both before and after the surgery), and handles any complications in a prompt and thorough manner.

Many variations of liposuction have been devised over the years, including ultrasonic liposuction, laser liposuction, the "wet" method, and the "super-wet" method of liposuction. Currently, data doesn't show any significant difference when these results are compared with the traditional and tumescent liposuction procedures. The newer laser-assisted methods do add some benefits from the standpoint of larger amounts of fat being obtained and more retraction after the procedure, but there are also risks from this method if performed by unqualified or "learning" surgeons.

For More Information on Liposuction

American Society for Dermatologic Surgery

American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


MedlinePlus - U.S. National Library of Medicine

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/2/2016
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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Liposuction:

Liposuction - Risks

Did you have any complications related to liposuction? Tell us about your experience.

Liposuction -- Patient Experience

Tell us about your liposuction procedure. Was the recovery difficult? Were you happy with your results?

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Liposuction, Techniques: External Ultrasound-Assisted »

External ultrasound-assistedliposuction (XUAL) is a new technique that requires traditionalaspirative liposuction after the application of high-frequencyultrasonic fields delivered through the skin into wetted tissue.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

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