Liposuction (Abdominal Liposculpture)

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One of the most common of all cosmetic procedures, abdominal liposuction is a technique for recontouring the body by permanently removing fat deposits from the abdomen. The tendency to accumulate fat in the abdomen may be inherited, and this fat is often especially resistant to diet and exercise.

Many patients become discouraged at having lost unwanted pounds without seeing a flatter abdomen. The overall proportions of the body may be unbalanced, or the abdomen may simply have retained areas of fatty tissue that cause it to protrude. In these cases, liposuction can successfully trim excess fat in the midsection for a flatter abdomen and more slender, balanced shape.


*The 2010 national average cost for Liposuction surgery is $2,914.

Liposuction was one of the five top cosmetic surgical procedures in 2010.

Liposuction also known as Lipoplasty is most commonly used for "getting rid of localized fat".









A careful history of your weight, diet, and exercise will be important. Be prepared to answer the following questions:

  • What did you weigh at your maximum? 
  • Your minimum since high school? 
  • With pregnancy? 
  • How many times have you cycled up and down? 
  • What has been your trend in the last year? 
  • How stable is your weight now? 
  • Does your weight respond to emotional stress by going up or down? 
  • How often do you exercise? 
  • How long have you been exercising? 
  • Do you actually enjoy your exercise or do you just do it to improve your looks? 
  • Do you participate in team sports? 
  • Were you athletic while in school? 
  • Have you sought the services of a personal trainer? 
  • How often do you eat sweets, go out to dinner, drink alcohol, eat junk food? 
  • Have you tried one of the popular diets, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Atkins, Zone, Pritikin or the Ornish diet? 
  • How successful have you been on various diets?

Keep in mind that the higher your goals, the more you will have to actively participate in this process in order to achieve those goals. If you are just concerned about removing fat, liposuction alone will achieve that goal. But if you want an athletic, sculpted look, and you want to look great in a bikini, you may need to incorporate extensive exercise into your plan.

If you're considering abdominal liposuction, the following information will provide you with a good introduction to the procedure. For more detailed information about how this procedure may help you, we recommend that you consult a board-certified plastic surgeon with experience in abdominal liposuction.

  1. How is abdominal liposuction performed?
  2. Will I need to stay in a hospital?
  3. What is the recovery period like?
  4. What is the long-term outcome like for most people?
  5. How long do the results last?
  6. Other important information:
  7. Risks and limitations:
  8. How long does it take?
  9. What are the benefits?


How is abdominal liposuction performed?

Before surgery, the surgeon will mark the precise areas of the body where the fat is to be removed. An intravenous (IV) line will be inserted in a vein in your arm to make sure the fluid level in your body stays within healthy limits throughout the procedure. If you are not undergoing general anesthesia, you may be given a sedative for relaxation.

During abdominal liposuction, the surgeon makes a tiny incision in the skin, typically in the navel or just below the bikini line, and inserts a thin tube called a cannula into the fatty area. The cannula is used to break up the fat deposits and sculpt the area to the desired proportions. The unwanted fat is removed with a powerful vacuum, leaving the skin, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels intact.

In the super-wet liposuction technique, a saline solution containing a local anesthetic and adrenaline is injected into the area to be treated, which makes the fat deposits easier to break up and extract. This extra fluid also minimizes trauma to the surrounding tissue, reducing swelling and post-operative pain. The administration of adrenaline also decreases bleeding during surgery, further reducing risks.

The tumescent technique, in which even larger amounts of liquid solution are injected, has similar benefits.

A newer method, ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL), uses sound waves to liquefy the fat after the injection of fluids. UAL also minimizes trauma, causing less bruising and blood loss. UAL is particularly useful on fibrous areas of the body, such as the male breast, the upper abdomen, and the upper back, which are difficult to treat with traditional techniques.

An earlier method of liposuction, called dry liposuction because no liquefying agent was used, required general anesthesia. This technique is not in frequent use today.

The technique chosen for your operation will be determined by a combination of factors, including the precise area to be treated, the amount of fat to be removed, your surgeon's training and experience, and your preferences.
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Will I need to stay in a hospital?

If the amount of fat to be removed is fairly small, your surgery can usually be performed on an outpatient basis, either in your doctor's office or in an outpatient surgery clinic. If you are having large amounts of fat removed, or are undergoing several procedures at once, you may need to spend the night in the hospital so that medical staff can monitor your initial recovery.

The procedure may be performed under local anesthesia with light sedation, local anesthesia and deep sedation, or general anesthesia.
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What is the recovery period like?

Most of the bruising and swelling should subside within three weeks. To speed the healing process your surgeon will probably tell you to begin light activity as soon as possible.

You should be able to return to work within a few days if your work is fairly sedentary. You should avoid strenuous activities for several weeks as your body heals, but within four to six weeks you should be able to resume all normal activities. It's important to continue wearing the compression garment, which should be easily hidden under your clothing, until your doctor tells you that it is no longer necessary.
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What is the long-term outcome like for most people?

You should see visible results of your surgery within two or three weeks, but the full effects may not be evident for six months to a year. The more fat that you had removed, the longer it will take to achieve optimal results, because the skin has to adapt to a more radical change in shape.

Most people are pleased with the new contour of their abdomen and often feel a boost in energy and self-confidence. Although liposuction cannot alter skin quality or muscle tone, and should not be a substitute for regular exercise and a balanced diet, your waistline will always be slimmer than it would be if you hadn't had this procedure.
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How long do the results last?

Because a portion of the fat cells are permanently removed by liposuction, so you will not tend to regain weight in that area. It is important to note, however, that abdominal liposuction does not guarantee that you won't gain weight or fat deposits in other areas of your body. Moreover, since fat cells have been removed from the treatment site but not from surround areas, this weight gain can appear uneven. It is important to maintain your weight and contour with exercise and proper diet.
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Other important information:

Since the normal aging process affects the firmness and elasticity of the skin, older patients may not achieve quite the same results as younger patients.

Abdominal liposuction is often performed in conjunction with a tummy tuck, or with liposuction to other parts of the body.
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Liposuction Risks and limitations:

Although liposuction is the most commonly performed cosmetic plastic surgery procedure in the United States, and the majority of these operations are successful, there are risks and limitations to the procedure, as with any surgery.

UAL liposuction may cause friction burns to the skin or to the internal organs.

More serious complications include blood clots, infection, excessive fluid loss leading to shock, pulmonary embolism due to dislodged fat or blood clot, fluid build-up in the lungs, and drug overdose. A combination of the following factors is associated with an increased risk of serious complications: After surgery, some patients experience dimpling, lumpiness, numbness, scarring, discoloration, or sagging skin in the treated area. Follow-up surgery may be needed to correct these problems.

  • The removal of large amounts of fat
  • More than one procedure being performed at the same time
  • The use of general anesthesia

In order to minimize these risks, it is important that you follow all of your surgeon's instructions, both before and after surgery.

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How long does it take?

On average, abdominal liposuction takes one to two hours per area treated. If other procedures are performed simultaneously, the total time spent in the operating room may vary.

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What are some of the most common benefits of abdominal liposuction?

A newly trim abdomen can provide a psychological lift and an extra incentive to exercise regularly and maintain fitness. Many patients even find physical activity more pleasurable after shedding extra fat, and they also find that clothes tend to fit better after abdominal liposuction.

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*Disclaimer: Costs source: According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), nationally in 2007. Most surgeons offer convenient payments plans for this procedure. Cost does not include anesthesia, operating room facility, hospital stay, and other related expenses. Costs may vary depending the extensiveness of the procedure, location, and other factors. Costs are provided solely for research purposes. We are not a plastic surgery company and do not represent any plastic surgeons. For specific estimates, please contact a qualified plastic surgeon.

* Disclaimer: The national average cost is for 2007; Source: American Society of Plastic Surgeons. These fees do not include anesthesia, operating room facility, hospital stay, and other related expenses.

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