Recent reports reveal a growing trend of fit women turning to mini-liposuction procedures to tackle problem areas. But some wonder, does this represent a dangerous quest for perfection? Experts are divided on the issue, but to help you make up your mind, it's important to look at what liposuction is for.

Liposuction is intended to remove problem fat deposits that are out of proportion with the rest of the body. Liposuction generally targets the stomach, thighs, hips, buttocks, and fat pockets on the arms, knees, or ankles. Not a substitute for diet and exercise, this procedure is supposed to solve issues that cannot be controlled naturally. So in many ways, fit women are the better candidates for liposuction than overweight ones.

During the procedure, small cannulas are inserted in to the problem areas to suck out the fat. In some procedures, doctors use lasers to help liquefy fat and cauterize the incisions. Traditional liposuction procedures are generally performed under general anesthetic, but mini-liposuctions only require a local anesthetic since it employs smaller cannulas and extracts less than two to three pounds of fat per area. Since it's designed to target tiny problem areas, is less invasive, and costs thousands less than traditional liposuction, mini-liposuction is an attractive option for many people.

What's concerning about the growing popularity of mini-liposuction is that it may be overused. Since candidates for mini-liposuction are generally in very good shape, some medical doctors and psychologists fear that women are using the procedure in an attempt to solve imaginary problems. Do these women really have disproportionate problem areas or are they suffering from body dysmorphia—a distorted view of their own bodies?

Doctors remain divided on the issue, but if you're considering mini-liposuction, it's worthwhile to consider what's motivating your desire for the procedure. Before undertaking any plastic surgery, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Are you doing this procedure for someone else?
  • Do you expect that it will change your life?
  • Have you had multiple cosmetic plastic surgeries?

If you can answer yes to any of these questions, take a step back and discuss your options with your doctor.



Sources: "Liposuction (Lipoplasty)." The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. 2011. "Liposuction Procedure." American Society of Plastic Surgery. 2011.