A Publication of WTVP

In the middle of winter, it’s not unusual for thoughts to turn to warmer weather and vacations. As many people dream of exotic places to visit, it’s easy to begin thinking more about appearance as well—perhaps a desire to fit into a special outfit or wear a new swimsuit. Whatever the case may be, some consider fine-tuning their appearance to make a difference in how they look and feel.

The Truth About Body Contouring
Although some may joke about body contouring surgery (liposuction in particular) to eliminate excess weight, these procedures are never intended as a substitute for weight reduction. In fact, only patients in good health who are within 20 to 25 percent of their ideal body weight should consider body contouring. Instead, these procedures are often considered by patients with a stable body weight who want to enhance what they have and improve their confidence. Many times, a seemingly small change can greatly affect clothing fit, activities and self-esteem.

Standard body contouring procedures include liposuction, abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), brachioplasty (arm lift), and thigh and buttock lifts. These treatments target pockets of fat that are resistant to diet and exercise or sagging skin due to extreme weight loss, aging or pregnancy. Body contouring can also involve surgical manipulation of the muscles, skin and/or subcutaneous fatty tissue. By reshaping body lines and contours, correcting localized fatty deposits and contouring deformities, appearance can be improved. Oftentimes, these problems can be the result of pregnancy, prior surgeries (including bariatric surgery), weight gain or weight loss.

Growing Popularity
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), body contouring has grown in popularity since the early 1970s. In fact, the demand for liposuction has grown significantly until it has become one of the most popular surgical cosmetic procedures available; ASAPS statistics indicate that more than 340,000 procedures were performed in 2008 alone. This is partly due to advances in technology and technique, which have resulted in greater safety and improved outcomes.

Often performed in conjunction with abdominoplasty, liposuction is the removal of undesirable fatty deposits from certain parts of the body. These methods can be performed with other surgical procedures as well, such as hernia repair, urologic or gynecologic surgeries. Depending on the areas treated, liposuction can be performed with local or general anesthesia. Although typically an inpatient procedure with an overnight stay, it is performed occasionally on an outpatient basis.

What’s Involved
During liposuction, small incisions are made and a thin vacuum tube is inserted to remove the fat. Although the concept sounds simple, liposuction is actually a complex process just like any other surgery. Therefore, selecting a skilled physician who is well trained in all aspects of liposuction is important to your outcome and well-being. iBi

Dr. Sheridan is fully trained in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery and is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. His long-established practice, Illinois Valley Center for Plastic Surgery (, is now a part of Mid Illini Surgical Associates (