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We all have an opinion as to what constitutes the ideal body shape. Most of us would agree that smooth contours are ideal. When the contours of our body are distorted by bulges, we shy away from fitted clothes, preferring to wear more loose fitting clothing in an attempt to hide the protruding areas. Often the bulges of our arms, thighs, knees, chin, abdomen and/or hips are inherited from our parents or persist following pregnancy. Unfortunately they are often resistant to diet and exercise.

When I commenced practice 25 years ago, liposuction was a new technique. My teachers often used a large diameter cannula to remove as much fat as possible in the shortest possible time. Reasonable results were obtained however the downside was often unevenness in the treated areas.

Nowadays small areas can be treated by freezing the areas without anaesthetic. Whilst this is quite new, the results are encouraging.

With larger bulges Plastic Surgeons aim to sculpt the areas using smaller diameter cannulae, which gives us more control. This allows us to remove fat closer to the overlying skin and facilitate some skin retraction. This is most commonly performed under a general anaesthetic.

Some things to note are that:

  • Liposuction is not a weight reduction procedure. It is for localised bulges.

  • Liposuction does NOT improve cellulite. In fact it may make cellulite more obvious.

  • Some areas of the body respond better than others. For instance the outer thigh (saddle bag) area tends to do better than the inner thigh due to the difference in skin thickness.

  • Differences in skin elasticity mean younger patients tend to respond better than older patients.

  • Loose skin cannot be improved with liposuction. Loose skin requires excision, which means a longer scar.

Liposuction is one of the few Plastic Surgical procedures that are done by feel rather than direct vision. The advantage of this is a smaller scar and less chance of bleeding. However, as always, the best results come from an experienced surgeon who understands the nuances of the procedure and whether that can give the patient what she wants.

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