Cosmetic Surgery For Dummies
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You may have exercised hours each day and watched your calories but still don't look the way you want in your dress or bikini. Or perhaps you just want to be your best and have decided to give yourself a present. You've decided that liposuction may be just what you want. A careful preconsultation evaluation of your own body and the goals you want to reach will make your consultation and decision-making process easier.

Considering cultural ideals

Liposuction is one of the more popular cosmetic procedures for both men and woman. For many people, the inability to have an attractive, youthful shape creates great stress, particularly for those who have tried to improve their figure through diet and exercise programs. A focal point of discontent for many men and women is the isolated fat deposit. The knowledge that liposuction can reduce those disproportionate localized accumulations of fat and help improve body contour irregularities often brings great relief to many people.

Some young women aren't successful socially because they believe that their bodies are not attractive. In a different society or era, women may not have those feelings, but modern society does place a lot of emphasis on shapely bodies. Making those bodies closer to what society perceives as normal occasionally causes social miracles.

Sizing up your health and body

If you're considering liposuction, you're an ideal candidate if you're healthy, in good physical condition, and have tight, smooth skin (no cellulite or surface waviness). If you don't fit this ideal model and still want to consider liposuction, don't worry. Although the ideal patient can achieve an excellent result, you can achieve a very good or good result if you don't fit the ideal criteria.

Dramatic changes can be achieved if you have localized areas of bulging caused by fat under the skin. For example, if you have very large hips and/or large outer thighs but otherwise have a normal shape, you're a good candidate for liposuction. These areas respond extremely well to liposuction, and you can have a normal shape the rest of your life.

Liposuction can't help with generalized obesity, intra-abdominal fat, or excess loose skin. Some people with bulging tummies hope that liposuction can help but find out that almost all of the excess fat is "inside" the abdomen, wrapped around the intestines. Liposuction can't help in that instance.

People who are moderately overweight can benefit from liposuction, and there are no absolute age limits. However, older patients usually have diminished skin elasticity and therefore may not receive an optimal result.

If you have a bleeding disorder or take anticoagulants, you're probably not a good candidate for surgery in general and for liposuction in particular. If you have heart disease, pulmonary disease, or diabetes or are excessively overweight, you'll have a slightly higher chance of complications with all surgery. If your surgeon or her staff asks you for clearance from your physician or cardiologist before surgery, don't be upset. Those requests let your surgeon know that you can withstand the surgery safely.

What liposuction can (and can't) do

You have dieted and exercised and are stuck with a body that's still slightly too full in several areas. In women, the areas are usually the abdomen, hips, thighs, inner knees, and sometimes the upper arms and back. In men, the areas are usually the abdomen, flanks, and chest or breasts. The other areas of your body are normal, or at least as normal as you can get them. Liposuction can help you solve these problems.

After 25 years of liposuction, surgeons have found that additional areas, such as knees, ankles, the face, and areas around the breasts and armpits, can also undergo liposuction with wonderful improvement. If you have localized excess fat essentially anywhere on the body surface (except perhaps the upper and lower eyelids), it can be liposuctioned. Many patients want their backs liposuctioned and end up slightly unhappy that they don't see greater changes. The reason is that the skin on the back is very thick and loose and the thick skin is frequently confused with excess fat.

Liposuction of fatty chests or breasts works extremely well on men. The procedure is also a good alternative to breast reduction surgery for men and in some women with very large breasts.

Avoiding the magic wand syndrome

Your goal for liposuction should be to improve body contour, understanding that it will not change the way your skin looks. Liposuction removes persistent fat not responsive to diet and exercise and establishes more normal proportions between areas of the body. It also improves your appearance both in and out of clothing.

You must be aware that the usual goal is improvement, not perfection. Having realistic expectations can make the entire experience much more satisfying and reduce your chances of disappointment. If you start the process with tight, hard skin, you will probably end up the same way, but with better contours. If your skin surface is wavy, dimpled, or wrinkled to start, your contours will improve, but the surface may stay the same.

Some patients, in spite of receiving all this information, still believe in some recess of their brain that liposuction will make them perfect. When they realize that surgery hasn't made them perfect, they end up disappointed, even if they have a wonderful result. Matching expectations with reality is why your surgeon gives you so much information before surgery.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

R. Merrel Olesen, MD has over 30 years of plastic surgery experience. He has written patient information and informed consent materials used by millions of patients. Marie B.V. Olesen has worked with hundreds of plastic surgery practices to help them understand how to meet the needs of cosmetic surgery patients.

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