Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 September 2013
Liposuction is one of the most popular treatment modalities in aesthetic surgery in the USA. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, more than 341,000 liposuction procedures were performed in 2008 and it was ranked second among all invasive cosmetic procedures. Liposuction is used to recontour specific areas of the face and body by removing unwanted deposits of fat. It is best performed on localized areas that do not respond well to diet or exercise, and it is not an alternative to weight loss. The ideal liposuction patient is healthy, exercises, eats a well-balanced diet, has good skin elasticity, desires treatment of minimal-to-moderate localized fat deposits, and is within 20–30% of ideal body weight.
The patient consultation includes evaluation of the patient's goals and realistic expectations. The history is performed to evaluate the patient's suitability for surgical intervention. The physical exam is best performed in front of a mirror to stimulate dialogue and understanding of patient concerns and to reiterate realistic expectations. The exam should detail prior scars, evaluate for hernias, rule out venous insufficiency, and document asymmetry and contour irregularities. It is also important to evaluate skin quality and amount of excess skin. Patients with good skin tone and without excess skin are more likely to have better results. Medical images should be obtained for objective comparison and documentation of postoperative results.