It’s no surprise that liposuction reigned as the second most popular cosmetic surgery among in the United States in 2017, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. The surgery and other body contouring procedures, such as the tummy tuck, thigh lift, lower body lift, and arm lift, have the power to transform areas of the body that have proven resistant to reshaping through diet and exercise alone. The overriding goal of shape-enhancing procedures is to restore attractive contour lines to the body for both men and women. ACPS surgeon Dr. Paul Fortes noted, “You can be heavy with good proportions or thin with poor proportions. In our society, there is almost an obsession with weight, but those aspects of body contouring are almost secondary. Shape is really what these operations are about.”
In reshaping the body, the task of the surgeon is not unlike that of a sculptor, requiring him to have both a vision of the desired result and the ability to translate that to the body during the contouring procedure. ACPS surgeon Dr. Christopher Patronella said, “The scientific aspect of body contouring is related to the surgical techniques you use to carry out the procedure, and that is the foundation you need to know. But after that, it becomes a vision. Without a visual interpretation—the ability to shape the body in accordance with the image you have in your mind—it’s very difficult to make a surgical technique work to achieve the goal.” The sculpting process, he said, requires a discerning eye and careful attention to shaping ideal contours, as over-aggressive fat removal for the sake of size reduction alone can lead to an unbalanced look and irregular contours. “The various methods of liposuction are simply techniques. The application of the method is of far more importance than the method that is used, said Dr. Patronella.”
In recent years, sculpting of the body has broadened far beyond fat removal alone. Increasingly patients are requesting fat grafts to accentuate the body in a more curvaceous fashion, said ACPS surgeon Dr. German Newall. The trend may represent a shift in North America, but not in the Latin American culture from which the Peruvian-born doctor comes. “The concept of making a female more boyish by removing all of her curves is the wrong approach. The eye perceives beauty as a proportional whole,” said Dr. Newall. While the surgeon often performs liposuction to remove up to 24 pounds of fat, he takes care to preserve a curve proportion that compliments a patient’s anatomy. “Everyone has a unique beauty that can be enhanced. I think it is important to bring that out in a way that fits an individual’s personal physique,” said Dr. Newall. For most people, the surgeon is able to achieve attractive proportions through liposuction alone, a procedure which typically requires 5-7 days of recovery.
The results of contour enhancement procedures are usually long lasting, providing that a stable weight is maintained. While the physical changes created by body contouring surgery are readily apparent, the restoration of attractive contours to the body often inspires inward changes as well. Because they feel better about themselves, they have a greater confidence that helps them to be more open with others, said Dr. Fortes. “It helps people to live better lives not only for themselves, but for the people close to them.”
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