Since its relatively recent development, liposuction surgery has become one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in the United States. The operation itself involves using a cannula to disrupt subcutaneous adipose tissues. The techniques are particularly useful for the removal of localized fat deposits that do not respond to diet and exercise. Although various complications and sequelae have been associated with liposuction surgery, the procedure is generally safe and affordable.
Obesity may be defined as "body weight that is 20 percent or more above the norm (10:385-392)." In the United States, roughly 20 percent of all middle-aged males and 40 percent of middle-aged females fulfill this criterion. Moreover, considerable research has linked obesity with multiple health risks including diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, and stroke (10:385-392).
Fat tissue is actually a form of connective tissue. It occurs beneath the skin, between the muscles, between various organs, and in "almost all spaces not filled by other portions of the body (6:515)." Fat tissue is composed of fat cells, or adipocytes. The cytoplasm of adipocytes may contain as much as 95 percent neutral fat. This fat represents a stored source of energy (6:515).
The two basic pathways in fat metabolism include lipogenesis and lipolysis. Lipogenesis involves the uptake and storage of lipids inside the adipocyte. Fat is transported within the blood as free fatty acids and triglycerides. While the synthesis and uptake of free fatty acids inside adipocytes is known to occur, the primary means by which they acquire free fatty acids involves lipoprotein lipase-mediated uptake. This process first requires the intracellular synthesis of lipoprotein lipase. The enzyme is then transported into the capillary, attaches to the capillary wall, breaks down triglycerides, and makes free fatty acids available to the adipocyte (10:385-392).