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Surgical removal of stubborn fat
Liposuction is a technique to remove stubborn fat that resists the effects of exercise and diet. Several techniques exist with the most common at present being the tumescent technique and ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty (UAL). When combined with ongoing exercise and correct diet effects can be long lasting.
The procedure can take between one and three hours depending on the procedure used and the extent of the operation.
Liposuction can be carried out either under general or local anaesthetic: It involves the insertion of a tube beneath the skin, which is used to suck up excess fat. A variety of techniques can be combined to make the targeted fat more easily removable; these include saline injection with adrenaline and anaesthetics to reduce blood loss and the use of ultrasound equipment.
Normal activity can be resumed as early as a week after the procedure with more strenuous activity possible after three or four weeks. Initial discomfort should reduce rapidly but bruising, swelling can take anything up to six months to return to normal levels.
Cosmetic risks resulting from the operation are asymmetry of the resulting look and loose skin around areas where fat has been removed. The colour of the skin can also be affected by changes in pigmentation.
Procedures may, in rare cases, result in infection. Fat removal results in fluid-loss, which may result in shock: modern techniques have significantly reduced the fluid loss associated with liposuction and older techniques such as the wet technique should be avoided. Ultrasound techniques while reducing recovery time and fluid loss carry a small risk of causing thermal damage.
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