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A Realistic Look at the Risks and Benefits

As one of the most frequently performed cosmetic surgeries in the United States, liposuction surgery isn’t just for thighs anymore. With increasing frequency, it is also being used as a means to effectively “erase” double chin, jowls, and puffy neck, as well as streamline problem areas like the buttocks, hips, stomach, and waistline.

Calves, ankles, upper arms, inner knee, areas of the breast or chest, and areas of the back can also be made less fatty, slimmer, and firmer. Imagine looking and feeling 10 or more years younger in a matter of hours.

Liposuction, also known as “suction-assisted lipectomy” and “lipoplasty,” was originally performed in Italy in the late 1970s. A gynecologist by the name of Dr. Giorgio Fischer originally invented the technique in 1974; it was further developed by French physicians Dr. Gerald Illouz and Dr. Pierre Fournier. It first became popular in the United States in 1980.

Considered a risky procedure because of possible severe blood loss, and because the skin sometimes became disfigured when fatty tissue was removed, it nevertheless grew to become a popular way to rid the body of excess fat.

Now referred to as the “dry technique,” general anesthesia was used to render the patient unconscious before introducing a tube through the layers of the skin into the area to be suctioned. Excessive bleeding, blood clots, and severe bruising often resulted. In fact, nearly 30% of the tissue removed by this procedure was composed of blood. Serious anesthetic hazards also sometimes resulted.

The procedure has since been revolutionized. Assistant clinical professor of dermatologic surgery at the University of California at Irvine, cosmetic surgeon Jeffrey A. Klein, M.D., came up with the “tumescent technique” in 1985.

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