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Liposuction Tops Most Popular Cosmetic Surgery Procedures

Written by Robin Frank  |  05. December 2001

Record numbers of people are opting for cosmetic surgery with the goal of enhancing the way they look and feeling better about themselves. The number of cosmetic procedures performed last year rose to 5.7 million--up 173 percent since 1997--according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Liposuction took first place as the most popular type of cosmetic surgery, up 113 percent since 1997. Plastic surgeons performed more than 376,000 liposuction procedures in 2000. Dr. Lyle S. Leipziger, Chief of Plastic Surgery at Long Island Jewish Medical Center and North Shore University Hospital, can vouch for the procedure's increasing popularity. "We call it body contouring. Liposuction can tackle problem areas of fat that even a strict diet and exercise will not reduce," he says. Liposuction can be used to slim the hips and thighs, flatten the abdomen, shape the calves and ankles or eliminate a double chin. The procedure can improve one's appearance dramatically and be a big boost to confidence. It's not for everyone, though, and people considering liposuction should make sure they understand what it can and can't do, according to Dr. Leipziger. One of the most common myths about liposuction is that it will get rid of cellulite. Another misconception is that people who are extremely overweight will benefit. Liposuction is a body contouring technique, not a method for overall weight reduction. Generally, the best candidate is no more than 15 percent over his or her ideal body weight. Dr. Leipziger says liposuction targets stubborn areas of fat accumulation, such as "love handles" or thigh "saddlebags" that are difficult to eliminate, despite diet and exercise. The procedure works best on patients with good skin tone overall. "Although liposuction can achieve excellent results, it does not mean people will not gain weight in the future if they overeat and fail to exercise," Dr. Leipziger cautions. Before his patients undergo the procedure, he advises them to make a commitment to a healthier lifestyle. Anyone considering liposuction or any cosmetic surgery should always look for a physician who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and affiliated with a major teaching hospital, Dr. Leipziger says. Once they find a plastic surgeon, they should feel comfortable with the doctor and make sure he or she is willing to take the time to answer all of their questions. Typically, people can get back to normal activities within one to two weeks after the procedure. It takes a little longer before they can resume exercise. Anyone who would like more information is invited to call Dr. Leipziger's office: 516-465-8787.

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