American Society of Plastic Surgeons
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Could liposuction become more popular than breast augmentation?


liposuction growing in popularity

For the last few years, breast augmentation has been on top as the most popular cosmetic surgery procedure performed in the United States. However, with the COVID pandemic surfacing in 2020, it looks like breast augmentation may be losing some ground this year.

Some surgeons and organizations are predicting that liposuction will surpass breast augmentation in 2021. But what exactly are the pros and cons of liposuction and why do they believe that liposuction trends are changing?

What is liposuction?

Liposuction is a body contouring procedure that targets areas of stubborn fat and helps you improve and tone your body shape. While you may experience minimal weight loss after liposuction, it is not considered an alternative to traditional weight loss and ideal liposuction candidates are at or near their ideal body weight.

The most common areas for liposuction include the abdomen, hips and thighs and it is often combined with a tummy tuck to maximize body contouring. Liposuction can, however, also treat upper arms, back, inner knees, chest, calves and ankles. Unfortunately, it is not an effective treatment for cellulite or areas with sagging skin.

Surgeons perform liposuction using a thin hollow tube called a cannula. This tube is inserted into small incisions near the targeted area. The thin tube moves back and forth to loosen excess fat which is then suctioned out of the body.

After the procedure, you can expect swelling for up to a few weeks, but wearing a compression garment will help reduce this swelling. Your body will feel sore, but you should be able to return to work within a few days. While you may see noticeable changes right away, you will see your final results once the swelling goes down completely, typically in one to three months after your procedure.

Liposuction pros and cons

When considering liposuction, it is good to understand the pros and cons. Liposuction is a minimally invasive procedure with little downtime compared to more extensive body contouring surgeries like a tummy tuck. Because liposuction uses small incisions, the scarring is minimal.

Liposuction removes areas of stubborn fat permanently, however, to maintain your results, you must follow a healthy lifestyle. Not following a healthy lifestyle after liposuction can cause the remaining fat cells to increase in size of new developing problem areas.

Because liposuction is not a weight loss treatment, your surgeon may require you to attain a certain healthy weight before your liposuction procedure. Liposuction is not able to address areas of loose skin, cellulite or stretch marks. To address these concerns, you may need to combine your liposuction with other procedures, such as a tummy tuck. As with all surgical procedures, there is also a risk of bleeding, infection, anesthesia complications and temporary numbness in the treated area.

Liposuction trends and the increase in procedures

Liposuction, according to statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, began an upward trend in 2018, with an increase of more than 12,000 liposuction procedures than the previous year. This trend continued until 2020 when the COVID crisis put a halt to many cosmetic procedures. During 2020, local gyms closed, keeping people from their regular workouts. Working from home became the norm for many. Unfortunately, this often led to weight gain and changes in body contours.

However, as we enter 2021 and restrictions are easing, it's quite possible that the lifestyle changes caused by 2020 will help contribute to the rise in liposuction procedures, helping push liposuction to the top of the list of most popular cosmetic procedures.

Working from home provides time for recovery

A liposuction procedure typically requires at least a few days off from work for recovery. Unfortunately, time off work is not always possible and has kept many people from choosing liposuction. However, with many people still working from home in 2021, recovery without taking time off is now possible. You can now have liposuction and recover at home without having to take time off from work.

Younger generations choosing liposuction

While the COVID pandemic has played a role in the increase in liposuction demand, another factor has also played a role. Millennials and younger generations are turning to liposuction. These generations are more open to procedures and look for procedures that create an immediately visible change, such as liposuction.

As 2021 arrives, don't be surprised to see breast augmentation drop in the rankings and liposuction take the top spot. If you have considered liposuction in the past, this might be the right year for you to get the body contours your desire.


The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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