A popular type of plastic surgery today is liposuction (or suction lipectomy).
In 1994, over 226,744 people had this procedure making it the fourth most common
plastic surgery, with women outnumbering men about five to one. During the surgery,
a doctor inserts a small thin tube into a fatty part of the patient's body. A
special vacuum pump then suctions out the unwanted fat.
This procedure can last from an hour to five hours. Abdominal liposuction usually
take longer, due to safety concerns. This type of surgery cannot be done on just
Typically, the patient must be over the age of 16 years and cannot be mildly
overweight. The best results are from people who are close to their ideal body
weight. Dr. Carlos Imperial Lasa Jr., a surgeon that frequently has performed
liposuction, states that, "a patient whose primary desire is to lose weight
may not need liposuction, since the most you can lose is five pounds."
The procedure works only for localized fat that is resistant to exercise and
may take years to remove." From the patient's point of view, this operation can
be very frightening. Maggie Spliner describes her operation:
"After a few minutes, he pushed the 'sucking instrument' through the
central cut under my chin and began raking out the fat. It felt as though my neck
were a block of wood, and he was shaving it off with a file. I could feel lots
of pressure, and I knew where the tool was at all times, but no pain-- except
for a pinch when he reached the edge of the numbed area. I kept my eyes tightly
shut for the whole procedure."
This procedure does have its drawbacks. The first week after the surgery, the
patient is only allowed to walk. A pricking sensation typically lasts from three
to four weeks, and in some cases this may take three months. It can be cured with
painkillers, massages and ultrasound therapy. Other risks include infection, blood
clots, inflammation, organ perforation, bleeding and swelling.
The cost of liposuction runs from an average of $2,650 to $9,100, depending
on the surgery. Abdominal liposuction tends to be more expensive because of the
risks and time involved. The lasting effects of liposuction last anywhere from
five to ten years. Insurance will not cover this type of surgery.