Liposuction, also known as lipoplasty ("fat modeling"), liposculpture suction lipectomy ("suction-assisted fat removal") or simply lipo is a cosmetic surgery operation that removes fat from many different sites on the human body. Areas affected can range from the abdomen, thighs and buttocks, to the neck, backs of the arms and elsewhere.
Several factors limit the amount of fat that can be safely removed in one session. Ultimately, the operating physician and the patient make the decision. There are negative aspects to removing too much fat. Unusual "lumpiness" and/or "dents" in the skin can be seen in those patients "over-suctioned". The more fat removed, the higher the surgical risk.
While reports of people removing 50 pounds (22.7 kg ) of fat has been claimed, the contouring possible with liposuction may cause the appearance of weight loss to be greater than the actual amount of fat removed. The procedure may be performed under general, regional ("tumescent"), or local anesthesia. The safety of the technique relates not only to the amount of tissue removed, but to the choice of anesthetic and the patient's overall health. It is ideal for the patient to be as fit as possible before the procedure and not to have smoked for several months.
Technologies involving the use of laser tipped probes (which induce a thermal lipolysis) have been introduced in recent years and are being evaluated to examine any potential benefit over traditional techniques. There are practitioners who report that many of the modern technologies touted to improve liposuction are simply advertising hooks and that the choice of a quality surgeon is the primary determinant of a quality result.
Overall, the advantages of 30 years of improvements have been that more fat cells can more easily be removed, with less blood loss, less discomfort, and less risk. Recent developments suggest that the recovery period can be shortened as well. In addition, fat can also be used as a natural filler. This is sometimes referred to as "autologous fat transfer" and in general, for these procedures, fat is removed from one area of the patient's body (for example, the stomach), cleaned, and then re-injected into an area of the body where contouring is desired, for example, to reduce or eliminate wrinkles.