Local News

Liposuction Demand Not Slowed By Sluggish Economy

Posted April 25, 2003 8:11 a.m. EDT

— With the sluggish economy, many might think fewer people are spending money on cosmetic surgery.

In 2002, the number of people having non-surgical cosmetic procedures, like chemical peels and laser treatments, dropped. The number of people who had liposuction in the Triangle increased.

Tumescent liposuction, a procedure for people who want to sculpt one particular area of the body, is in high demand.

"I had lost a lot of weight actually and did a lot of exercise and worked really hard," said liposuction patient Cindy Cavaco.

She said her hard work paid off. At age 31, Cavaco lost 50 pounds, but said she was not completely happy with the results.

"I still had this pooch in my abdomen," she said.

Dr. Timothy Flynn, a dermatologic surgeon at the

Cary Skin Center

, said some fat areas are genetic.

"You cannot spot exercise those areas away. It doesn't matter if you do all the situps in the world. You are genetically programmed to have that lower tummy," he said.

Flynn said a growing number of people are having liposuction right now.

Cavaco said she decided to have the procedure to get rid of the fat around her stomach.

Flynn said some people have the procedure to get rid of love handles.

During the procedure, the surgeon injects large amounts of diluted anesthesia into the skin to provide pain relief and cut down on bleeding.

Next, a powered vacuum-like instrument is inserted into the abdomen, which removes the fat.

"It just pecks away at the bits of fat," Flynn said.

Patients are awake during the procedure. Cavaco said she had hardly any discomfort.

"I just felt like I had a really good workout," she said.

Patients can go home a few hours later.

"People are able to go about their business in a day or two," Flynn said.

Cavaco said it has been six months since she had liposuction and she is thrilled that her 'pooch' is gone. She said she has to work out and eat right in order to maintain her new physique.

A recent study from

Wake Forest University

found tumescent liposuction performed by a dermatologic surgeon in an outpatient setting is safe.

The study also found that the procedure has fewer complications than traditional procedures.

Experts tumescent liposuction is not the right procedure for those who want a lot of fat or fat from several areas of the body removed.