Aesthetic: Body

Abdominoplasty

An abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck, tightens the abdominal wall and removes excess skin and fatty tissue in order to create a flatter and firmer abdomen. Due to the effects that pregnancy tends to have on the abdominal wall, this procedure is most popular with mothers who have had all of their children. An abdominoplasty is also commonly performed in people who have undergone bariatric (weight loss) surgery. The weight loss results in excess skin and fatty tissue that can be removed.

An abdominoplasty is performed under general anesthesia, but can be an outpatient procedure. The incision is made low on the abdomen in an attempt to hide as much of it as possible below the bikini line. Excess skin and fatty tissue are removed and the abdominal wall muscles are tightened in the midline for a firm result. Supplemental liposuction often significantly improves the final contour.

Drains are usually used for approximately a week following surgery and a compression binder is worn for comfort. Patients may experience some discomfort following the surgery which improves over time. Light activity and no heavy exercise is recommended for several weeks after the procedure although walking is encouraged as soon as possible in order to improve blood flow in the legs.

Liposuction

Liposuction is a powerful tool in plastic surgery. It has the ability to sculpt the body by removing undesirable fat from many different areas. Liposuction is most commonly performed on the abdomen, waist, hips, thighs and chin. Local or general anesthesia may be used depending on the procedure location and the amount of fat removed.

There are several different types of liposuction and new liposuction techniques are constantly making their way into the magazines and onto the news. Some of these techniques include traditional liposuction, power assisted liposuction, ultrasonic liposuction, laser liposuction and water-jet assisted liposuction. In all techniques, a tiny incision is made in a relatively inconspicuous location. A cannula or small tube is inserted beneath the skin where it breaks up and suctions out the fat. While many people argue that one type of liposuction is better than another, convincing scientific data has yet to settle this debate.

There is a relatively low complication rate when this procedure is performed by a qualified plastic surgeon. After surgery, compression garments are commonly used for patient comfort and to decrease swelling. Patients are encouraged to walk as soon as they are able and they often return to work within a few days.

What Areas of the Body Can Be Liposuctioned?

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Arm Lift (Brachioplasty)

With aging, and especially after substantial weight loss, skin on the upper arms can become inelastic, loose and flabby. An arm lift, also known as a brachioplasty, removes excess skin and fatty tissue from the undersurface of the arm. This procedure may be combined with liposuction in order to improve results.

Thigh Lift

A thigh lift is performed to tighten the skin around the inner thigh and to remove some of the fatty tissue in that area. The result is a tighter, more aesthetically pleasing thigh contour. This procedure can also be combined with liposuction for more impressive results. Compression garments are often used postoperatively for patient comfort and to limit swelling.

Fat Grafting

Fat grafting removes fat from a location in the body where it is not wanted (abdomen, thigh, hips) and injects it into a location where it is needed. Most commonly, fat grafting is performed in the face at the same time as a facelift. Fat grafting can also be performed in the breast and is usually used to improve the result of a breast reconstruction. Some surgeons are actually now using fat instead of implants for cosmetic breast augmentations. However, this technique is currently controversial and more data is needed to prove that the procedure is safe and effective.

Fat Grafting

There are several important benefits of fat grafting that make it an ideal procedure for many people. First, the procedure utilizes a patient’s own tissue instead of a foreign substance. This decreases many of the risks involved in using artificial material. Second, the patient benefits from having fat removed from an undesirable location and actually receives some of the benefits of a standard liposuction procedure. Finally, there are many beneficial cell types and tissue factors, including stem cells, in fatty tissue which appear to improve the appearance of the skin in the area they are injected.

Fat grafting is very effective and the cosmetic results are often quite impressive. Due to its high efficacy and dramatic results, the procedure is often used to correct major deformities in craniofacial surgery as well. Fat grafting can either be performed under local or general anesthesia.

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