Liposuction of the abdomen: does it always give the best results?

Liposuction removes fat from the upper part of the abdominal wall muscle. Liposuction does not tighten the muscle or remove sagging skin. It is important to have the correct surgical procedure to get the results you expect. Liposuction involves making small incisions and injecting tumescent fluid that will decrease bleeding and also provide an anesthetic effect. A cannula (metal probe) is inserted through the small incision. The probe is connected to a tube that is connected to a suction machine. The suction force pushes the grease through the tube into a container. In motor-assisted liposuction, the cannula rotates during the suction process. In ultrasound-assisted liposuction, heat is used to melt fat before removing it. A probe is inserted through the same small incision that is used to inject the tumescent fluid, and the fat is liquefied with ultrasound waves before it is removed. In laser-assisted liposuction, a laser light is used to liquefy the fat. In the types of liposuction that involve heat (ultrasound-assisted or laser-assisted), shrinkage of the skin is improved.

If the patient has good skin elasticity, the skin may shrink after sucking out the fat. If stretch marks are present, the elasticity of the skin has already decreased. Loose skin is more common after the procedure if stretch marks are present before the procedure. If there is sagging skin before the procedure, it may get worse after the procedure. Exercise will not tighten the skin. With normal aging, the skin loses some elasticity. Stretching the skin of the abdominal wall with pregnancy will also decrease the elasticity of the skin. Most importantly, liposuction will not tighten the abdominal wall muscles that can stretch significantly during pregnancy or weight gain. It is important to have realistic expectations before undergoing a procedure to avoid disappointment after the procedure. During your consultation, your plastic surgeon will inform you which procedure will give you the best result.

For more information, contact Dr. Michelle Hardaway.

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