Information on Abdominal Liposuction

One of the most popular sites for liposuction surgery is the abdomen and torso. Many people, both men and women, want to get rid of a slight pot belly, love handles, or spare tire. Abdominal liposuction can remove or reduce areas of fat that have not responded to diet and exercise, and give you the silhouette you want.

There are several different liposuction techniques and any of them can be used on your abdomen and sides. These include tumescent, super-wet, ultrasonic-assisted liposuction, power-assisted liposuction, and laser liposuction. Liposuction is a thriving area of cosmetic medicine, and new techniques that improve its safety and results are continually being developed. For more information about liposuction, please go to our section on Liposuction.

Abdominal liposuction can be performed in your surgeons office, in a surgical clinic, or in a hospital, with you going home a few hours after the procedure. It can also be combined with a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), breast augmentation, breast lift, or other cosmetic surgery.

Are You a Candidate for Abdominal Liposuction?

You are a good candidate for liposuction on your abdomen if you have pockets of fat on your belly or sides that have resisted all your attempts to diet and exercise them away. You should be in good overall health and free of any active diseases or other pre-existing medical conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or asthma. You should also have skin that is sufficiently elastic to adjust after the procedure. If you have a lot of loose skin on your abdomen, or if your abdominal muscles are lax, you may do better with a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), which can correct these problems, than with abdominal liposuction.

You must discuss your desired outcome with your surgeon and you should have realistic expectations. You cannot expect to drop three dress sizes with liposuction. It can smooth out your silhouette, but cannot change it completely. You and your surgeon can review abdominal liposuction before-and-after photos to be sure you understand what the procedure can accomplish.

How Abdominal Liposuction is Performed

If you are considering abdominal liposuction, you should have a firm understanding of how it is done.

Your surgeon will first mark your abdomen and sides with a marker to outline the areas to be treated. This is usually done with you standing up. You will be hooked up to monitors to keep track of your vital signs and an intravenous (IV) line will be started. Then you are given anesthesia and the procedure starts. The choice of anesthesia will be discussed at your consultation with the surgeon. Some surgeons choose local anesthesia for abdominal liposuction if the treatment area is limited, but some prefer to use general anesthesia, where you sleep through the procedure.

To remove fat and sculpt the abdomen and sides of the torso, the surgeon will make small incisions at the crease of your hip, in your navel, in a spot covered by pubic hair, or elsewhere that is inconspicuous. He or she will insert a thin tube called a cannula into the subcutaneous fat on your belly or sides from these spots.

Usually, the surgeon will use a few different incisions, but this depends on how large an area is being treated. Often, the surgeon will use two or more incisions to work the cannula through the same area to help prevent rippling or other irregularities.

The length of time required to completely remove the fat on your abdomen and torso depends on the technique being used and how large an area is being sculpted. It can range from as little as 30 minutes to a couple of hours.

After your liposuction is completed, you are awakened and moved into a recovery room where you will be monitored for about 2 hours. You can usually go home afterwards, but you may not drive yourself home because you will still be feeling the effects of the anesthesia and may be a bit groggy.. You will need to have a responsible adult drive you home.

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