Written by justis berg
30 June 2010
Last year, plastic surgeons and other physicians performed 600,000 liposuction procedures in the U.S. People are obsessed with thinness, even as we get fatter every year. The lure of a quick surgical fix is irresistible to many people, so it should not be surprising that liposuction is the most popular elective surgery in the world. The method involves anesthetizing patients, injecting fluid into the area to loosen the fat cells, and sucking out the fluid and fat cells through a tube called a cannula. Malcolm Paul from the University of California at Irvine, and Robert Stephen Mulholland from Canada, described a new liposuction procedure called SmartLipo— that uses ultrasound to break up fat cells before removing them surgically.

SmartLipo is performed with local anesthesia and speeds recovery, but removes far less fat than the more traditional technique. SmartLipo is controversial. Some physicians say that the procedure is no better than tried-and-true techniques and that it is little more than a marketing ploy.

Liposuction is not a painless 'quick fix' for obesity. People are usually more satisfied with the results of liposuction if they watch their diet and exercise after the procedure. People who do not change their lifestyles are usually unhappy with the outcome. Don't have this surgery unless you understand its risks and are willing to exercise and watch what you eat! (Aesthetics Plastic Surgery, 33: 687-694, 2009)